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A banger is for all times, not only for Christmas
James Ruppert dons his pondering cap to search out a super banger to your wants, no matter your festive duties

Christmas is an excellent time for all of us and even higher for patrons as a result of low cost automobiles turn into much more inexpensive. It’s chilly, so nobody desires to hold round a draughty forecourt kicking tyres. Everybody else is off spending their cash getting fancy slippers for his or her mums. Nobody is shopping for automobiles for enjoyable – besides us.

The market is extensive open for Bangernomicists to bag a automotive that may address all of the necessary errands, adventures and duties that go along with the vacation season. So right here’s what you have to be to make your Christmas even higher.

Pack in all of the presents: Mitsubishi L200 

Years constructed: 1996–2006 

Value: £2399 

You possibly can get a business automobile like a van, however they’re at all times clapped out. If we’re going to pack all of the pressies on board, then it needs to be a pick-up. It’s much more helpful when you may get some useful elves on board in a crew cab and the L200 has at all times received on with the job. 

VAT could also be a difficulty for those who’re shopping for from a supplier, however what it’s essential to keep away from are the worn-out farm hacks and builders’ beasts of burden, which take their toll on the suspension and the engine. The bodywork additionally appears fairly vulnerable to choosing up random dents. The two.5 engine is muscular and might haul appreciable hundreds and the L200 may be purchased as a correct 4×4 with a high- and low-range choice, however the two-wheel-drive excessive ratio is okay for normal work. 

In a single phrase: invincible.

It’s value checking: Injury to unlined service space. Worn suspension. Turbocharged diesel points. 

One we discovered: 2001 2.5 TD Animal crew cab, 150okay miles

Decide up the prolonged household on the station: Ford S-Max

Years constructed: 2006-2014

Value: £995

Is there something extra miserable than a people-carrier? Certainly, is there an expertise worse than choosing up your least favorite uncle and auntie, who’ll be with you for the period? Properly, as a substitute of shopping for simply any previous lump with a number of seats in it, there may be at all times the S-Max. No less than it doesn’t appear like a reconstituted van and it actually doesn’t drive like one. So even when the passengers will not be a lot enjoyable, the drive actually can be. 

Early ones appear to have had electrical issues so examine the operation of the air-con, leisure programs, heated windscreen and the rest linked to a button. There have been remembers, so you want to see a historical past to be totally reassured. Loads of engine choices: the two.Three petrol is nice as a substitute, however the TDCi diesel is essentially the most ubiquitous and really easy to search out. Keep away from a smoky one.

It’s value checking: Electrics. Sunroofs, which have caught and leaked prior to now.

One we discovered: 2007 TDCi, 220okay miles

Energy into 2019 with optimism: Alfa Romeo GT

Years constructed: 2003-2010

Value: £1000

When Christmas is over, it’s necessary to resist the brand new 12 months with confidence and optimism. That’s why I’ve gone bonkers and plan to run with an Alfa GT to get me into 2019. I do know the Brera is handsome and it’ll ultimately be as low cost however, proper now, a grand’s value of GT must be greater than sufficient to maintain you entertained. 

There are some flimsy bits, after all, particularly the door handles. In any other case, be careful for warning lights and sensor points. 

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Most GTs in circulation are JTD diesels, which may get by means of water pumps, however they do ship respectable financial system and a great rump of torque. I just like the petrols, and if yow will discover a thirsty V6, deal with your self. 

Even when the unthinkable occurs and the GT breaks down, it stays an actual factor of magnificence, even on the again of a flat-bed.

It’s value checking: Electrics. ABS and airbag warning lights. Damaged door deal with. 

One we discovered: 2004 JTS, 118okay miles

Let’s go meals buying: Volvo V70

Years constructed: 1996-2001

Value: £1450

Goodness is aware of what number of instances you’ll have to go the grocery store. Higher to get there and again as quick as you probably can. The place is stuffed with idiots such as you shopping for extra meals that you just don’t want and preventing over the past Norfolk turkey. That’s why we want a Volvo and, extra notably, a type of previous BTCC-style T5s. 

It’s superb that they haven’t been priced massively upwards like these RS Audis with their restricted cargo capability. In contrast, a V70 is simply ready to be packed filled with meals. Not solely that, it’s going to do a most, however ruled, 155mph and get to 60mph in simply over six seconds, for those who like that type of factor. 

Thoughts you, they are often fairly clapped. Suspension and the turbo, plus some electrical points, can spoil the possession expertise. What gained’t spoil is the killer mixture of house and thumping efficiency.

It’s value checking: ABS mild. Suspension total and ball joints. Smoky turbo.

One we discovered: 2000 T5, 99okay miles

Sizzling hatchback Christmas current to your self: Mini Cooper

Years constructed: 2001-2006

Value: £1500

Don’t see why everybody else ought to get nice presents and have all of the seasonal enjoyable? In that case, deal with your self to a type of newfangled Minis. Properly, they aren’t precisely new any extra, however they did defy depreciation for what appeared like an eternity. Proper now, although, the most effective early ones are at banger costs. For mannequin designation freaks, you may be wanting on the R50 Cooper and probably the R53 Cooper S. 

You might want to watch out as a result of they’ll have lots of age-related and neglect points, similar to clutches going early, rusty sills and worn or shot suspension. Actually noisy electrical steering isn’t good and brakes are sometimes on the finish of their lives when offered. 

It’s finest to purchase a Cooper with a load of latest payments after the proprietor has received fed up with it. When new, they had been normally specced fairly properly however you need not less than Pepper trim on a Cooper. 

It’s value checking: Clutch. Oil leaks. Rust on the door sills. Brakes.

One we discovered: 2005 Cooper, 139okay miles

Escape the ‘Busiest travelling day ever’: Audi TT

Years constructed: 1999-2006

Value: £1000

Motoring organisations are at all times at it, saying that it’s Black Friday, Tailback Tuesday or one thing, so let’s sort out these miserable epithets by being tucked inside a design traditional. Right here’s a coupé that will get higher with every passing 12 months and, it appears, cheaper. Earlier than there’s a dead-cat bounce, get in a 225 for a grand. 

You gained’t remorse it though they’re beginning to present their age. Now they might want a suspension overhaul and, on the very least, a preventative cambelt job, if there isn’t any proof of substitute prior to now 5 years. The Haldex transmission must be refreshed each couple of years, too. Electrical points will not be unknown and the instrument pack can pack up. Cosmetics are a difficulty as a result of fixing or changing panels is expensive. Nonetheless, TTs appear to be rust resistant to this point. 

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When you discover a good one, preserve it. This would be the finest Christmas current to your self probably ever. 

It’s value checking: Suspension. Instrument pack failure. 

One we discovered: 2001 1.eight 225, 163okay miles 

Spot the primary snowflake: Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sport Coupé

Years constructed: 2001-2008

Value: £1095

Panoramic roofs at the moment of the 12 months are nice since you simply would possibly see Santa’s sleigh – or was capturing star? By no means thoughts, you may be alerted to the primary sprinkles of snow with one in all these fitted and there are many selections, similar to a Vauxhall Astra or Renault Mégane. But it surely’s higher to go for this rumpy little Mercedes (CL203, to the followers). 

It’s rather more distinctive than the present crop of amorphous Mercedes hatches. The Kompressor engines are nice and all you actually need is a 180, however a 200 or 230 affords a good flip of pace. Then once more, for financial system’s sake (40mpg-plus), any of the CDI diesels is an equally stable performer however they do appear to have extra potential reliability points. 

It’s at all times finest to discover a cosseted instance. These automobiles weren’t constructed on the peak of Mercedes’ high quality management and there may be bangs, rattles and electrical niggles, however that is nonetheless a wise and wise automotive. 

It’s value checking: Diesel’s turbo and injector seals.

One we discovered: 2002 C180, 110okay miles

Drive to the North Pole to see Santa: Subaru Forester

Years constructed: 2002-2008

Value: £1500

You might not go fairly so far as the North Pole, however you may need to courageous the weather and drive to a type of winter wonderlands the place the bushes are sprayed white. There is no such thing as a scarcity of 4x4s round and lots of are actually fairly blobby and not more than a muddy MPV. However the Forester has a persona, particularly with the punchy turbo, making it a hardcore property that’s up for some correct tough stuff. It’s fast sufficient and the engines, even the two.5s, are fairly robust. These turbos are laborious to promote due to the poor gas financial system and Subaru’s lack of school-run cachet. 

The Forester could be very dependable when maintained correctly. It wants a cambelt each 5 years and mechanics advocate that the tensioners and water pump are additionally modified. If utilized in off-road anger, there could possibly be the beginning of rot on the entrance and rear subframes. Most variations have all the things you want however guarantee yours is not less than XT trim. 

It’s value checking: Roll bar bushes and drop hyperlinks. Rust. 

One we discovered: 2008 2.5 XT Turbo, 126okay miles

Sneak away early doorways from a boring social gathering: Renault Twizy

Years constructed: 2012 onwards

Value: £3995

You possibly can normally inform fairly rapidly how a gathering goes to end up. It could possibly be the corporate, or possibly the meals. You possibly can tiptoe out of the place, however the crunchy drive and the sound of your V8 can be impolite. An EV or hybrid would make escape simpler. 

Any banger EVs? Properly, that is perhaps a Reva G-Whiz for £1300. Would I promote a type of to my worst enemy? Naaah. As an alternative, what a couple of Twizy, which doesn’t have any actual doorways and is technically too dear to be a banger? Nonetheless, it’s cheaper than a restored milk float (£15k-plus). 

There shouldn’t be too many issues with any EV however some house owners have had home-charging points and niggly fault codes. Nonetheless, it is going to be chilly in December, so put on an overcoat, plus you may need to stroll the final mile.

It’s value checking: Charging points. Fault analysis, er, defective.

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One we discovered: 2013 Twizy, 1800 miles

Christmas dinner transport: Peugeot 607

Years constructed: 1998-2008

Value: £1050

If you wish to preserve the kin candy, then breeze right down to the pub for some seasonal grub in one thing suitably wafty. I believe a 607 can be a controversial selection. It solely has to final for a day, although. Nonetheless, it doesn’t have the sense of event of an Audi A8, however A8s can price a lot to repair. So let’s persist with the 607 whilst you can nonetheless discover them within the classifieds. 

For a grand, you’ll get a automotive that’s giant and properly outfitted sufficient. There may be lots of warning lights for random issues like tyre pressures, ABS and even a door that’s ajar. If that type of sensor-related nonsense annoys you, then a 607 is just not for you. 

There are a couple of petrol V6 ones however most are HDi diesels, which implies there may be DPF points until the automotive is given some correct train. In Govt spec, there are rain-sensing wipers and a difficult electrically operated boot. 

It’s value checking: Plenty of warning lights, ABS and so forth. DPF (diesel particulate filter).

One we discovered: 2008 2.2 HDi Govt, 130okay miles

Go tree buying: Saab 9-Three Convertible

Years constructed: 1998-2003

Value: £695

It needs to be finished: you’ve received to get a tree and what cooler method to go purchasing for one than in a convertible? Certainly, that’s not simply actually cool, however probably sub-zero if the climate takes a flip for the worst. We miss Saab usually and the 9-Three specifically. One of many main promoting factors of this previous mannequin is the appreciable rear seat space, which has loads of room for the odd Scots pine, in addition to folks. 

The 9-Three isn’t a driving machine, however none of that issues. There are nonetheless hundreds round and so they can take six-figure mileages. Greatest to keep away from the uncared for ones and also you don’t want the complication of a turbo until there may be lots of historical past with it. HOT engines provide solely a heat sportiness. A plain or 2.Three are greater than satisfactory. 

The specs can get sophisticated however all you want is an SE. The revised 2003 mannequin can be a bit of pricier.

It’s value checking: Dependable, however smoking turbos and coil pack failures. 

One we discovered: 1999 SE, 134okay miles

Christmas Eve city centre infiltration automobile: Toyota Yaris

Years constructed: 1999-2015

Value: £500

You haven’t purchased anybody something? The native petrol station forecourt has been stripped of barbecues, flowers and goodies. Which implies you want to courageous the city centre in one thing that’s nippy and purposeful. A 3-door early 2000s Yaris is completely excellent. 

Prise off the hubcaps and run it on matt black steelies and nobody will mess with you. There are GS, Sport and CDX choices, however even base fashions have all you want for a raid on the retailers. You gained’t care if somebody places a dent in your dirt-cheap Toyota. 

There is perhaps some dangerous ones on the market however, typically and in keeping with reliability experiences, it’s considered indestructible. The early ones have timing chains, so no cambelt worries. Simply examine put on and tear to the consumables. Paintwork is just not nice on the older ones if that actually bothers you. Properly, some rust would possibly.

It’s value checking: Put on and tear to the exhaust, suspension and brakes.

One we discovered: 2002 VVT-i, 126okay miles

Learn extra

James Ruppert: when to dump your previous automotive – and what to exchange it with​

Used automotive shopping for guides information​

What Automotive?’s finest used automobiles in Britain​

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