Simon Wardston has £500 to spend on a runaround to use for local use and to park at the station.
A Car for the Head
That would be a Japanese car which is my usual default recommendation for anyone after something reliable. It is easy enough to buy a car for £500, but the secret is finding something that still has plenty of life in it and isn't going to cost extra as things go wrong. Sometimes it is better to buy something big, tough and German. Volkswagen Passats are good and I came across a 2002 example, a 2.0 litre petrol for £500 with almost a year's MOT. Reliable engine, tough body and comfy seats.
A Car for the Heart
Then again if we do want something a tad more stylish then perhaps a Honda Civic might be the answer. The Civic is a wonderful example of what a reliable car should be. The engine and mechanicals, provided basic servicing is attended to, can last almost indefinitely. Styling was not a Honda priority, but the coupe looks slightly sporty. Searching the adverts I soon found a 1998 three door 1.6 coupe and a 1999 five door hatch with SE specification. Both had perfect bodies, mileages around 130K miles, service history and cost just £500.
Looking to buy?
Email James Ruppert at onefortheroad@independent. co.uk, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget