Best cars by budget price range

Sub £1000 small & first driver cars.

Here we have my top five sub £1000 first divers cars


Number 1:

Ford Fiesta 1.25 (for this money your looking at a MK6 car)

This great little car goes on for years, takes high mileages in it’s stride and is cheap to maintain.

What to look for:

Make sure the cambelt has been changed, every 70,000 or three years.

Check the heated front screen works, it’s very useful in the winter, and will show if there is a battery problem

If the car is a two door, check both the seat release’s work, they can fail, while the part is cheap £15 the job is very fiddly.

Check for rust on the back wheel aches and beware any chrome or plastic wheel arch extensions that can hide or create rust.

Cost to repair £250-450 (or just live with it)


One to avoid

Mk11 Fiesta, while this has the reliable 1.25 engine it’s not the best in crash as it dates back the years before intensive crash testing.

Mk1 Fiesta, although this a “modern classic”  I would not let my kids out in one as it really is very poor in a crash. (Fit a role cage and pay the extra insurance if you really want one)


One to buy:  1.25 ghia (all the toys) or 1.25 LX


Number 2:

Nissan Micra


Although this car has slightly frumpy image, they are great £1000 with impressively reliable,  batteries can run down if not used for a while, so fit a good quality high capacity one. Also look out for flat batteries in the car keys.

Headlight can go cloudy as they are plastic and  result in an MOT failure.

However they are cheap to replace £100 for two and  half an hours with with a screw driver.


One to buy


Number 3:

Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 (avoid 1.0 just not enough power)




The favourite with girl and boy racers, but still a great car, it has a timing chain so need to worry about cambelt snapping issues. Check for head gasket failure however (see above)

Back springs can break and all MOT station appear to not like the “constant velocity gaitor” in practice this is nothing to worry about.

Gear change can become difficult in all gears, this in a £95 part and one hour to fit on a ramp, check the car move cleanly through the gears, an adjust price accordingly


Avoid the 1.0 and semi automatic

One to but: 1.2 energy or 1.2 SXI but check your insurance, it the same engine but some insurance companies will not cover the car or increase the premium for the sake of sports seats and nicer alloy wheels.


Number 4

Toyota Varis


Another great from the far east car.

A bit dull perhaps but goes on for every

Look for:


One to buy:



Number  5


BMW Mini One R50