How much do they cost now?
If this article has whetted your appetite for an Ecomatic, then be prepared to wait an awfully long time. Ecomatic models were sold for only one year and are now somewhere between hen’s teeth and rocking horse droppings in terms of rarity.
Should you be content with a more common variant, though, you’re in luck. Because Mk3 Golfs are still too new to be considered a classic, they are dirt cheap. A quick nose online found roadworthy cars with an MOT for considerably less than £500, while even a dry-stored 1.8 CL with just 4500 miles fetched little more than £3000. We’d recommend spending £1000-£2000 for a good-condition example with lots of service history.
Rather something more modern?
If you worry about the dependability of a 25-year-old car but are still on a budget, here's our top 10 best used family cars for less than £2000 and the ones you're better off avoiding.
The best (and worst) hatchbacks
Best used hatchbacks for less than £2000
A lot of people believe the 1 Series was BMW’s first attempt at a hatchback. Not so. The 3 Series Compact may have odd looks, but it was one of the best-handling hatchbacks of its time and could also be had with some supremely smooth six-cylinder engines. For this money, you might have to settle for the lower-powered four-cylinder options, but the excellent build quality and rear-wheel drive chassis mark the Compact out as one of the more interesting used hatchback choices.
We found 2002 316TI SE 56,000 miles £1050
Interesting is not a word you can use to describe the Almera, but reliable most definitely is. You also can’t argue with an impressive amount of standard kit, a four-star Euro NCAP rating and a big boot. The Almera is the sort of car you can buy with a low mileage, run it for a few years with next to no trouble and then easily flog it to your local takeaway delivery driver. Perhaps it could even be their tip.
We found 2005 1.5 S 5dr, 52,000 miles, £1250
The Luton-made – and made rather well, actually – Vauxhall Astra has a classy, if dull, interior, plenty of space inside and a five-star NCAP safety rating. There will be lots of examples for you to choose from and, because of the ubiquity of it, parts are easy to source. It doesn’t drive as well as a Ford Focus but, then again, few do.
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