Ten used cars for less than £5,000 we've found this week | Top Gear
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Tuesday 21st March
Top Gear Advice

Ten cars for less than £5k we’ve found this week

Well ahhh would spend five thousand pounds and ahhh won’t spend a penny more

Lexus LS400
  • Ford Focus ST

    Ford Focus ST

    If you’re as old as we are, could you let us know if everything hurting in the morning is just what it feels like to be this old, or should we see our doctor?  Also, if you’re as old as we are, you’ll remember when everyone thought the old Focus ST was thuggish and brutish and basically the motorised version of an ASBO.

    Speaking with the hindsight of 15 years or so... we didn’t exactly get more subtle with the passing years, did we? If anything, this is about as subtle as a 225bhp turbocharged hot hatch gets these days. And when it’s Ford/Volvo’s turbocharged five-cylinder...

    Here’s one we prepared earlier...

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  • Citroen Saxo VTR

    Citroen Saxo VTR

    For all the Max Power connotations and memories of lurid, bodykitted Saxos doing handbrake turns up on the high street, the Saxo VTR is essentially a Nineties French pocket rocket.

    We’re talking just 935kg and 120bhp, decent brakes and quick steering, all on the same basic platform as the Peugeot 106 GTI, and it takes harder hearts than ours to not see the fun side of that. And because they were everywhere back in the day – and so many were crashed – spare parts are easy to get. Oh good grief... did we just give actual practical advice? Let’s move on.

    Here’s one we prepared earlier...

  • Land Rover Discovery Series II

    Land Rover Discovery Series II

    If a Landcruiser is kind of a set-and-forget way to get there and back again, the Land Rover Discovery is much more of a set, check, replace, recheck, stress-test, service, recheck and never forget way to do much the same. Does that make it worse than the Landcruiser? Objectively, yes.

    But worse doesn’t necessarily mean bad; going up against one of the titans of off-road ruggedness and reliability is rarely going to pan out particularly well in terms of direct comparisons. And we’re still talking about a plush, spacious family wagon with seating for seven... and the ability to take them to the middle of the Gobi, should the mood strike. And the spare parts fit on the roof rack.

    Here’s one we prepared earlier...

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  • Rolls-Royce Shadow

    Rolls-Royce Shadow

    OK, even we know that this is an appalling idea. This is timeshare apartments, radium on your watch dial, declaring war on emus, adding lead to petrol, arguing on the internet. You don’t find an old Roller – 6.75-litre V8, hydropneumatic suspension and all – for less than five grand and expect anything better.

    But at least in the scheme of things, buying a Rolls-Royce for Renault Clio money is at least an interesting appalling idea.

    Here’s one we prepared earlier...

  • Suzuki Swift Sport

    Suzuki Swift Sport

    Reactions to the new Swift Sport have been... mixed, to say the least. When we first drove it up in north Wales, it was a whole heap of fun that could be coaxed into silliness the Up GTI wouldn’t have a bar of. But then others in the TG office baulked at the price and basically gave up entirely on the intrusive active safety tech.

    The old Swift Sport, on the other hand, started off cheap and basic. But, much like a well-made Margherita is secretly the best pizza, cheap and basic is the best way to let the right ingredients speak for themselves. Yes, it is nearly lunchtime. Why?

    Here’s one we prepared earlier...

  • BMW 328i Sport

    BMW 328i Sport

    Now that even E36 M3s have taken off in price, the days of the cheap, powerful, rear-drive BMW coupes are over, right? Pfft.

    The E36 328i Sport has long been the E36 M3 for those who don’t want the expense of running a proper M car; now it’s the car for those who don’t want the expense of buying one in the first place. There’s 200bhp from a 2.8-litre straight six and, should you still care about such things, will have you from nought to 62mph in seven seconds.

    Simple mods yield a touch more power and less time in the standing sprint, but that’s hardly the point here – winding a BMW straight-six out to the redline is one of life’s little gifts, so we’d say the longer you get to hold on to that experience, the better.

    Here’s one we prepared earlier...

  • Lexus LS400

    Lexus LS400

    OK, so it’s not the most interestingly styled car in the world. It’s not the most interestingly... well anything-ed car in the world, to be honest. But, much like the greeting ‘May you live in interesting times’ has quite a threatening undertone to it, we’d argue that the world’s had its fill of interesting for a bit.

    And besides, this is the unkillable automobile. Toyota wanted to stick the landing for the launch of Lexus, so it wasn’t taking any chances with the engineering side of things. As a result, its 4.0-litre V8 is up there with cast iron cookware and diamonds in terms of longevity, the build quality is bonkers... and did we mention you get a 4.0-litre V8?

    Here’s one we prepared earlier...

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  • Clio Sport

    Clio Sport

    It’ll be a cold day in the Christian afterlife before we ever look past the old Clio Sport. It was the 205 GTI of its day – even though Peugeot was still building (ostensibly) modern versions of it in the 206 and 207 GTIs – and yet it’s still available for decent money... for now.

    Yes, it appears our job is little more than a gigantic game of whack-a-mole, from the perspective of the mole. Regardless of how many times we find anything even tangentially related to a) a cool car, and b) a non-ridiculous price, we find the full face of a mallet to reward us for popping our heads out of the darkness. So get in on the Clio 172 and 182 now, people. Because the mallet always wins.

    Here’s one we prepared earlier...

  • Fiat Panda 4x4 Twinair

    Fiat Panda 4x4 Twinair

    Honest. Rugged. Reliable. Unpretentious. Given that we’re none of those things, the fact that we love the Fiat Panda so dearly must be the Yin and Yang in full effect.

    But even if you are a decent human being, the Panda still makes a solid case (like Pelican case solid, at least) for a place in your home, your life and your heart – especially in 4x4, Twin Air spec.

    An essentially loveable character combined with everyday practicality. a unique, idiosyncratic twin-cylinder thrum that it’s possible to combine with economical fuel use... if you can resist giving it an Italian tune-up on every journey. And finally, the ride height and narrowness to suit city streets, combined with the 4x4 prowess to scale Mt Etna. No, literally.

    Here’s one we prepared earlier...

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  • Peugeot 205 CTI

    Peugeot 205 CTI

    Yes, that’s CTI, and yes, that’s a cabriolet version of the 205 GTI.

    So, have we just plumb lost what few marbles we had left (a couple of Aggies and a Cats Eye, if you were curious) and recommended a flimsy old French drop-top? Well, yes and no. In that order.  

    Yes, because this is still a 205 GTI under the skin, of course, but one with a cabrio conversion from Pininfarina, an it-must-be-the-Eighties rollover bar and a mere 95kg weight penalty over the now out-of-budget hatch. Which, on a car this light, is hardly a detriment to the 115bhp powerplant. And speaking of light – now that England is apparently a tropical country, cabrios make even more sense, right?

    As for flimsiness, the CTI was actually converted really well, so you won’t encounter any raspberry twister sensations, and you could always lose the back seats for even... more... lift-off oversteer. OK, maybe keep them in.

    Here’s one we prepared earlier...

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