Retro character: The Skoda Felicia isn't pretty to look at but is certainly practical


Darren Taylor is after a cheap and cheerful car for no more than £500 for local journeys. It must cost buttons to run...

A car for the head

The obvious choice is to go for a Japanese car. Mostly they won't break down, but when they do sometimes parts can be quite expensive. For that reason I'll take a risk and recommend a brilliant car from the 1990s called the Citroën ZX. It was basic, reliable and is now underrated and undervalued. Just £475 will buy a tidy 1997 1.9D SX, an old-school diesel that will return a decent 42 miles per gallon under all conditions and be very reliable.

A car for the heart

Another car with real 1990s retro character would be a Skoda Felicia (above). This is the model that marked the massive sea-change in build quality when Volkswagen got in the driving seat. Not pretty to look at but certainly practical. The boot is big – there is plenty of room for four adults and all their luggage. The engines are simple and reliable. Just £350 buys a 1997 1.3 GLXi with faded red paintwork, but with a driver's airbag.

Looking to buy?

Email James Ruppert at onefortheroad@independent., giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget

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