Ten Used Cars for less than £2,500 we've found this week | Top Gear
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Friday 24th March
Top Gear Advice

Ten cars we’ve found for less than £2,500 this week

Just like a rug store, we’ve slashed prices in half for no adequately described reason. Is there anything worth buying?

Alfa Romeo Spider
  • Porsche Boxster

    Porsche Boxster

    Hot tip: if you truly want great things at great prices, find someone who’s bought them at terrible expense and, for whatever reason, now needs to sell them in a terrible hurry.

    Yes, it’s about as ethical as a sealskin coat, but ethics and money have always had something of a mutually exclusive relationship. If you want to have one, you generally need to be OK forgoing the other.

    Which brings us to this manual Porsche Boxster, which the owner is “selling due to a divorce”. Money or morals? All up to you.

    Feeling brave?

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  • Suzuki Jimny (no, not the one you actually want)

    Suzuki Jimny (no, not the one you actually want)

    Slow, basic, roly-poly, terrifying on windy motorways and offering your choice of cramped rear seats or luggage space. Yes, we’ve just described the new Suzuki Jimny.

    But it’s just so cool, right? Indeed it is. And that’s why they were such a hot ticket item when they first came out that people were buying and flipping them for profit. Which sort of didn’t happen with the old one, even if it is pretty much the same animal under the skin.

    Which means that if you can do without the boxy retro charm of the new, Jimny (now itself a second-hand proposition), but can put up with its foibles in the name of bewildering ability off-road... you see where we’re headed.

    Feeling brave?

  • Volvo C30

    Volvo C30

    As anyone fresh out of rehab will tell you, speed isn’t everything.

    When you consider the state of our roads, the cost of petrol and how often you’re legally obliged to drive slowly, what are you really gaining with anything quick?

    And if you answered with ‘Er, fun when you get to a good road, obviously’, we’ll remind you that unless those roads are on the Isle of Man, they’re speed-limited too. So what would you prefer – wringing a little manual hatch to redline, or a momentary prod of the accelerator and a lot of just-off-idle cruising? Honestly, you may as well just choose the nicest place to sit (an architecturally styled interior is one hell of a start) and leave the ‘mine’s faster’ to the ‘I wish mine was bigger’ crowd.  

    So yes, if you had ‘Top Gear invokes the slow-car-fast analogy’ or ‘Top Gear bangs on about real-world driving’ on your mental bingo card, you can check them off. But do also check out the C30, yeah?

    Not too much bravery required here

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  • Reliant Scimitar GTE

    Reliant Scimitar GTE

    Princess Anne has one, you know. Right, now that we have that out of the way, we can discuss the actual car.

    To say that it’s an odd little thing is to say that an episode of Twin Peaks is an odd little thing. This is what it looks like to inhabit oddness, from its shooting brake form to its Barcalounger-spec seats.

    It’s also a great way to team Ford’s 3.0-litre ‘Essex’ V6 with a manual gearbox, rear-wheel-drive, all the space of a shooting brake but – thanks to generous lashings of fibreglass – the 1,200-odd kilogram weight of... well, hardly anything these days. That’s barely more than a brand-new Alpine A110. Is it weird that we actually really want one?

    Feeling brave?

  • Golf GTI MkV

    Golf GTI MkV

    Ah, yes. The MkV Golf GTI. We trot this out about as often as Monty Python used the phrase ‘And now for something completely different’ – the only problem here being that we haven’t suggested anything even remotely different.

    OK, so the one you’ll find for £2,500 will be... careworn. Or just worn. But if you look at it from the perspective of rescuing and restoring a future hot hatch legend, saving it from an ignominious fate, does that not have just enough of a scent of altruism to convince you, or indeed your significant other?

    Feeling brave?

  • Ford Fiesta

    Ford Fiesta

    Sometimes, you just need cheap transportation. And it’d help if that transportation didn’t feel like a punishment for your penury with every passing mile.

    Enter the Ford Fiesta, which must take the cake as the best-selling car to ever have the rug pulled out from under it. Seriously, what is going on at Ford Europe?

    Happily, the Fiesta is basically the opposite of pop music in that sales figures actually do mean that the product was made with care and effort. The Fiesta is so much better than it ever needed to be, even in the basic engine specs. British people have made some... interesting choices over the past few years, but there’s no denying that buying boatloads of Fiestas was one of the better ones. And the fact you can pick one up – in the ‘looks close enough to the new ones’ shape – for £2,500? It’s the best of British, on a Brexit budget.

    No need to be brave with this one

  • Jaguar X-Type

    Jaguar X-Type

    OK, so the X-Type was never a particularly beloved car. Unless your name is Greg Potts, that is.

    So yes, it managed to be both ugly and boring. Yes, the interior manages to be millennium-era rounded and Victorian-era twee at the same time. And yes, it is a Mondeo with a cat badge.

    But if 3.0-litre V6 Mondeo, paired with a five-speed manual and all-wheel-drive and towing around six cows’ worth of leather is somehow a bad thing, then just send us to the sin bin. And besides, which do you think will be more reliable – the Jag with JLR oily bits, or Ford?

    The one we found is listed for £3,200, which does feel like cheating. But it has just 66,000 miles on the clock and its owner’s invited you to make an offer...

    Feeling brave?

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  • Mazda MX-5 NB

    Mazda MX-5 NB

    Is this cheating? Well, maybe.

    The fact is that you can find a roadworthy MX-5 at the price we’ve set, which probably makes it the last true automotive bargain. They’re perennially popular, parsimoniously priced when new and peerlessly reliable from then on, so there are just too many on the roads for them to hold their value in any appreciable way. Watch as this somehow changes, because that’s just how things go, apparently.

    So yeah, it might be a bit too easy to pick the MX-5. And that, coincidentally enough, is not a good enough excuse to actually cheat. Just putting that out there.

    Eh, this one’s not so brave...

  • Alfa Romeo Spider

    Alfa Romeo Spider

    OK, so this might be one of Top Gear’s patented* good bad ideas.

    It is an Alfa, and it does have a Twin Spark engine. It’s also still as gorgeous and unique as it was when it debuted half a lifetime ago.

    What it also is... is a 25-year-old Alfa Romeo, from Fiat’s ‘What the diavolo do we do with Alfa?’ days. Which means about as reliable as the British rail network and generally just as expensive to fix.

    If you’re considering buying an Alfa from this generation, we’ll close by saying that we did. On the plus side, we made a wonderful new friend called Andrew, with whom we had a weekly Friday lunch at the business he owned. Which was, as you may have guessed, an independent Alfa Romeo service centre. Lovely car when it worked, mind.

    *In no way patented. We’d have made a fortune by now if it was

    Feeling brave?

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  • MG B

    MG B

    Well, we always heard it was best go out with a bang. But which bang you’ll get with an MG B (minds out of the gutter now) is a bit of a wheel of fortune. Is it a fuel pump that’s decided it’s interested in neither fuel nor pumping? Is the rear diff about to turn into an IED? Or has something fallen off completely?

    Because of these slight mechanical eccentricities, the MG B remains one of the only vintage cars to stay within the ever-so-limiting bounds of a £2,500 budget. But if you’re a handy sort of person and can overcome (or work around) these maladies, it’s worth remembering that the MG B is a lightweight, front-engined, rear-drive roadster with a manual gearbox that will fit in just about any parking space and won’t filch your first and last penny to fill up with petrol. To fix the rust, on the other hand...

    Seriously, how brave do you feel? Make an offer here...

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