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Good Used Car Models to Buy

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 1 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Good Used Car Models To Buy

Certain makes and models are better value than others when buying a used car. There are no guarantees, of course. Buying a used car is not an exact science and there are bad examples of the best makes and models, just as there are good examples of makes and models that are not so highly rated.

Nevertheless, a buyer should know which makes and models to target and which ones to avoid. It is not always as obvious as it would seem, either. For instance, Skoda was the butt of a lot of jokes for a long time, but the original Octavia did a lot to change opinions.

Skoda’s new parent company, Volkswagen, had a lot to do with that, as many of the Skoda's components were sourced from the Volkswagen Passat and Golf. The Octavia was available as a hatch or estate, was well built and handled beautifully. It had a big boot and high-quality cabin trim.

A Shrewd Buy

On the down side, the rear seats are slightly cramped and some of the smaller petrol engines are a bit sluggish, but the diesels give a better blend of power and economy. A well-cared for Octavia can be a shrewd buy as – although significantly cheaper than equivalent models in the Volkswagen family, like the Audi A4, Golf and Passat – it benefits from the same levels of finish.

Another family car worthy of consideration is the Mondeo. It was a huge seller for Ford in the UK throughout the 1990s and usually represents good value. Ford pile loads of equipment into the Mondeo as standard and there is always a massive range of engines to choose from.

There is no getting away from the fact that the Mondeo has an enduring dull image, but the car is easy to drive, practical and economical. Recent models are more aesthetically pleasing, parts are cheap, prices are low and there are plenty on the market, so search for a low-mileage car with a full service history.

Tough and Reliable

Those in the market for a smaller, sportier car should look at the Mazda MX5. It is tough and reliable, economical to run, consistently scores well in customer satisfaction surveys and there are plenty of good, reasonably-priced examples about. Find one with a 1.8-litre engine and there will be enough power to enjoy the nimble handling, rear wheel drive, precise gearbox and strong brakes.

If a small runaround or second family car is needed, the Volkswagen Polo may fit the bill. It is sturdy, economical and has a classy interior finish. It can be a little expensive to buy one used, but a good example can be worth it.

It can be very difficult to find a modestly-priced MPV, but the Citroen Xsara Picasso can provide the solution. It tends to be reasonably reliable, is cheap to run, comfortable, well equipped and cheap to buy used. It does have its faults and is perhaps more like a supersized hatchback than a true MPV, but the Picasso can offer excellent value for money.

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