4. Seat Ibiza
Fancy a Volkswagen Polo with a sense of fun? Well, look no further. The Seat Ibiza is based on the Polo, but it’s more exciting to drive, and it also happens to look rather more stylish. That’s why it won our Car of the Year gong in 2003. Granted, it doesn’t give you quite as much space in the back and the firm ride at low speeds will put some people off. But at least there’s plenty of space up front and in the boot, and prices look very reasonable today.
We found: 2006 1.4 Sport, 65,000 miles, full service history, £2000
3. Skoda Fabia
The Skoda Fabia is the Seat’s grown-up, more sensible cousin, based on the same underpinnings but with a greater emphasis on comfort and space. Its dashboard is a little drab, but other than that there’s little to fault it. It rides well, it’s agile and responsive, and because it’s slightly larger than most cars of this size – though still perfectly manageable in town and when parking – you get a heap more room inside.
We found: 2005 1.4 Elegance, 39,000 miles, full service history, £1,995
2. Renault Clio
We’re big fans of this generation Renault Clio. It’s comfortable, spacious, endowed with a classy-feeling interior, and decent enough to drive, although its oddly numb steering spoils things a little. You’ll also need to find the best-cared-for example you can as, Clios can become unreliable if they’re neglected, and brace yourself for the occasional electrical glitch. Get a good one, though, and it’s a rewarding car to own.
We found: 2006 1.4 Dynamique S, 56,000 miles, full service history, £2000
Page 3 of 4