Porsche Boxster Open (96 - 04)
  • Porsche Boxster Open (96 - 04)
  • Porsche Boxster Open (96 - 04)
Used Porsche Boxster 1996 - 2004 review
Star rating

What's the used Porsche Boxster sports like?

It's hard to imagine now, but back in 1996 Porsche only made one car, the venerable 911, and it cost at least £59,000 to join the club. Then along came the Porsche Boxster and changed everything. Here was a real Porsche for just £34,000.

Those who dismiss the Boxster as not being a proper Porsche, or say that it isn't really that good, don't know what they're talking about. This is almost the perfect used car buy: absolutely stunning to drive, comfortable, reliable and it holds its value well.


The Porsche Boxster will excite on every trip

  • The drive is sensational and styling timeless
  • Running costs are very high

This car set the benchmark for handling and performance, without being harsh or uncomfortable. You can use it every day, and with the hood down you're sheltered from buffeting.

It's also practical for a sports car, as the boot takes a surprising amount of luggage and the roof electrically folds back in 12 seconds. What more could you possibly want?

Advice for buyers

What should I look for in a used Porsche Boxster sports?

There's no such thing as a cheap Boxster. Cared-for cars wear their miles well, and if you're being offered an untidy car with some niggly faults, it's likely that it's a car with serious problems and you should walk away.

Crash damage is the biggest problem on cars, so leaky or poor fitting hoods, and less than perfect paintwork and panels should make you suspicious. Also, in rare cases, water can get past the window seals and short-circuit the electrics.

Scrimping on servicing to save money is a false economy. A full service history is a sign of a cared-for car. The engine doesn't use much oil, so if it's very low or very dirty, there could be problems.

Some owners take their Boxster to the track. Look for badly worn brakes and scored pads, while rapid and uneven tyre wear is a sure sign the tyre alignment isn't spot on.

What are the most common problems with a used Porsche Boxster sports?

Is a used Porsche Boxster sports reliable?

Ownership cost

What used Porsche Boxster sports will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Porsche Boxster sports?

It's a Porsche, so compared to a Ford Focus, it's going to be expensive. However, choose well, keep it properly maintained and it shouldn't be a massive problem. The Boxster has legendary residual values, and although it will cost a lot to start with, you should see the benefit when it's time to sell.

Regular servicing is vital on a Porsche, not only to maintain its value but also to prevent expensive problems later. A Boxster needs attention every 12,000 miles, but if you use an independent specialist on the older cars the work should still be carried out correctly and you'll save money without damaging its resale value.

The 2.5 gives 35mpg, while the 2.7 and 3.2 deliver 29mpg and 27mpg respectively.

Our recommendations

Which used Porsche Boxster sports should I buy?

Originally, there was just a 2.5-litre engine with 204bhp, but this was later enlarged to 2.7 litres and 217bhp. Later, a 3.2-litre with 252bhp was introduced. It was called the S and came with a six-speed gearbox and better brakes, as well a host of goodies for the £4000 over the standard model.

The S is the car people look for, as it has almost 911-style performance for a lot less cash. The optional traction control system is also worth looking out for.

However, the optional Tiptronic gearbox was not as satisfying to use as the manual and slowed the car down. An improved manual gearbox was introduced with the 2.7-litre engine.

Air-con was standard on some models and leather was a £2500 option - both of which are desirable on second-hand cars, and prices are higher as a result.

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What alternatives should I consider to a used Porsche Boxster sports?