4. Skoda Fabia
The original Skoda Fabia, released in 2000, was an impressive thing when it was new. It felt as grown-up and solid as a Volkswagen Polo to drive, yet offered more space and similarly efficient engines. It even looked good, in a chunky, sturdy way. Nowadays, these great little cars can be picked up for bargain prices, making them even more appealing. 1.9-litre turbodiesels are economical and punchy, especially in hot hatch vRS form, while their naturally-aspirated counterparts are endlessly dependable, although rather plodding. We’d choose a petrol engine, though, simply because there’s less to go wrong.
We found: 2004 1.4 Elegance, 58,000 miles, full service history, long MOT, £1,500
The Volkswagen Polo is one of the most popular small cars in the UK, and with good reason. It’s well built, comfortable, pleasant to drive, and feels like a much more expensive product than other small cars. That, however, is because it usually is; even as a used purchase, your money won’t go as far with a Polo as it will with some of the other options here. Nevertheless, if you can live with less equipment and a smaller engine, the Polo’s an excellent all-rounder, and that makes it worth the price for many buyers.
2. Renault Clio
The previous-generation Renault Clio was a great car when new, and depreciation has made it an even more attractive used purchase. It has a smart, classy interior, which is extremely comfortable, quiet, and well equipped. It’s great fun to drive, too. What’s more, it’s extremely safe with great crash test scores, and of course, like any small French car, it oozes urban chic. At these prices, that makes it a top used car buy.
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