Citroen Xsara Picasso 2.0 HDi SX ’02/51, 32k, £6900 If you want a value-for-money MPV, look no further." />
£6000 to £10,000 Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 SXi 5dr ’02/02, 30k, £8040 No, that isn’t a misprint. A car that cost the best part of £16,000 a couple of years ago is now worth only about half that. As our panel said: ‘You can’t lick it for value.’
As a new car, it was our Family Car of the Year in 2003, and all of the qualities that impressed us then are available to used buyers now.
For a start, the Vectra puts ticks in all the right boxes as a family car. Comfort is excellent front and rear, and it’s a genuine five-seater, with a boot that’s as big as in any rival. The five-door hatch we recommend is both easier to find and far more practical in everyday use than the four-door saloon, while there’s a real air of quality about the cabin.
Likewise, the 1.8-litre petrol engine is the pick of the range, giving the Vectra a decent turn of speed even though it’s the smallest petrol engine in the line-up. It will return 35mpg and Vauxhall’s reliability record is impressive.
The biggest improvement over the previous Vectra comes in the way this new model drives. Unlike the old model, it’s good to drive, and its refinement puts it well ahead of its mainstream rivals.
With all Vectras getting decent levels of equipment, we think it’s worth shelling out on the best-looking one, and that’s the SXi. With its sporty bodykit and smart alloy wheels, it stands out from more humdrum models and should be easier to sell on.
When you consider that all this is your for around £8000, it’s unbeatable.
Also consider BMW 318i SE ’99/T, 57k, £9015
Up to £6000 Toyota Avensis 1.8 GS 5dr ’00/X, 45k, £5600 Toyota’s family car should certainly attract anyone with an eye for a bargain. If you don’t mind the possibly difficult task of tracking one down (it never sold that well as a new car), at this age, you’ll be buying a post-August 2000 face-lifted car with the VVTi petrol engine. With the added bonus of Toyota reliability on top of extensive equipment and good practicality, this is a fine car at a low price.
Also consider VW Passat 1.9 TDi 110 SE ’99/T, 57k, £5210
Over £10,000 Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 130 Ghia X 5dr ’03/03, 18k, £12,000 Proof that depreciation is a used car buyer’s best friend. This Mondeo would have been priced at almost £21,000 new, yet just 18 months later, it’s lost more than £7000. The result is a bargain price for the best engine, and the most kit, you can get in a Mondeo. You’re also guaranteed a superb drive and plenty of room inside.
Also consider Jaguar X-type 2.0 SE auto ’02/51, 32k, £13,825