Continuing our scan of the listings, we hunt for cheap-to-run bargains.  Used cars are cheaper than they’ve been for years. And by now it’s pretty known that big, gas-slurping saloons and heavy petrol-engined off-roaders are among the vehicles that have taken the biggest price hits. But what about those cars at the opposite end of things – the fuel-sippers and the ones which cost pennies to run?

When so many folk are counting the cost of motoring and thinking to down-size, you’d expect them to be holding their prices. There’s some truth in that thought. But a hunt around the database of cars for sale quickly produced some absolute bargains.

How about a Smart Fortwo? These tiny two-seaters promise up to 60mpg and low emissions mean road tax for them can cost as little as £35 a year. You can pick one up for as little as £2550, which buys a 2000, W-registered Passion model. Alloy wheels, electric windows and power steering are included on a car that’s covered 65,000 miles from new. The one we saw was offered by a used-car dealer, who offered a year’s MoT test as part of the deal.

If you need something that still watches the pennies but is a touch larger, how about a Skoda Fabia? One priced at £1700 caught our eye. This 2000 W-registered example was a Comfort model, so it had central locking and electric windows as standard, plus air conditioning, which was an option from new. Its 1.9 diesel engine is noisy but tough and promises to last far beyond the 85,000 miles this has had so far travelled. It should also be good for roughly 50mpg overall.

Finally, if you need a big car and money’s tight, there’s little better than a Vauxhall Vectra. We found what looked to be a top one selling for just £1695. Ours was a 1.8 LS hatchback, fitted with air conditioning, four airbags and anti-lock brakes as standard. It dated from 2000 and had a W-reg prefix, having covered 75,000 miles. While it would cost more to fuel and insure than the others here – fuel economy would run to 30mpg overall – it would be as cheap as they come to service and repair.

You'll find all these second-hand bargains and more by searching the used-car listings at

Stephen Jury


November 14, 2008

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