2+2 = Cheap

THESE days it's very easy to justify buying a small, super-economical car that doesn't use much fuel, is green, road tax free and doesn't draw much attention in these straightened times.

You might, in a moment of deep sensibleness, consider something like the new Hyundai i10 Blue. It's exempt from road tax and seriously cheap to run. It won't break and is entirely unlikely to be set fire to during a riot.

The flipside to this though, is that cars with a bit of character, cars that make you look back with a smile and don't make every journey a joyless slog, have become very, very cheap.

I'm not suggesting that you blow the Hyundai money on a 30 year old Roller (though I might) but rather that you look to cars from mainstream manufactures that offer a lot of style, coupled with bearable running costs and low mileage.

These cars are a lot cheaper than their premium competitors - though new prices are comparable with the likes of BMW and Audi - but miles are low and some are even in warranty.

So, here are three alternatives.

The GT is an amazing looking car. One of Alfa's best efforts, it has real Italian glamour. If you don't care about fuel costs than go for the 3.2 petrol which is the last hurrah for the great Alfa V6 which first appeared in the late 70's. The 1.9 diesel is very frugal but there's a premium to pay. The JTS petrol is a great compromise.

We found a lovely 2007 JTS petrol Blackline model with less than 30,000 miles on the clock for £8,990 from a recommended specialist dealer.

The looks of this car are pure Marmite. But you can't argue with the superb refinement, generous accommodation and properly exotic feel. The 407 Coupe was built on a different production line to the 407 saloon and estate and it is very well made. The 2.7 diesel is also used by Jaguar in the XF and it's a belter.

We found a smart Black 2.7 V6 diesel model with a lowly 30,200 miles on the clock for £8,999

As glamorous as the cooking Laguna is forgettable, the Coupe feels like a totally bespoke car and, better still, it looks a bit like an Aston Martin from the back. Like the Peugeot it feels oddly exotic and offers a genuinely mature drive. Again, build quality is top notch.  Diesel and petrol cars are roughly comparable second hand. The diesel is frugal and punchy, the 2.0 turbo petrol very quick.

A gorgeous slate grey 2009 model with the fiery 205bhp turbo petrol and less than 15,000 miles on the clock is advertised at UsedCarExpert for £12,995.



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