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How to Save Money on Cars and Still Choose the Best Car for You?

Updated on February 13, 2020

There are two types of people. Those who like cars and those who don't care about them. And if you like driving there are some chances that you can have a lot of fun without breaking the bank.

Having fun without spending a lot means that first you need to look for a hot hatchback. And Ford knows something about having fun in a small package. I'm not talking about the '90s Escort Cosworth, yes I know it's a tempting example, but it is a bit pricey at over 12.000€ and spare parts are difficult to find. The Ford Puma is a more sensible one. First introduced in 1997 it was a funny little car with a cute design. It is based on the fiesta MK IV platform with an engine choice between 1.4 the base model, 1.6 and 1.7. You can find a good example at around 1500-2500 euros (1150-2000 pound) with 1200000 km. The 1.4 is good but at the same price you can find a 1.7 which has 35 more horse power and goes from 0-100 km in 9.2s. All the engines lack a bit of torque which means that they need to be reved but this suits to the sporty carachter of the car and with a kerbweight just a shade over 1000 kg the puma is very entertaining to drive.

Another ford that I would recommend is the Fiesta ST150. You can find a good one with around 100.000 km for 3300€ (2600 pounds). The Fiesta is a more practical car than the Puma with a more traditional hatchback look but still capable to entertain you. The 2 litre Duratec engine produces 150 horse power like the name suggests and 190 NM. It sprints from 0 to 100 in 8.4 seconds and has a top speed of 208 km/h. Unlike the regular model it has front and rear disc brakes, different bumper, sport suspension and seats, and 17 inch wheels. It's a reliable car too and its parts are easy to find.

In 1993 from Italy came out something with a Ferrari look but a Fiat badge. Yes it sounds strange but the Fiat Coupe is still an interesting proposition that look like a little super-car and can bring joy. It features independent suspension all around and disc brakes. At around 1500 € (1200 pounds) you can find a 1.8 or a 2.0 normally aspirated version with 120000 km in good condition. Yes it's a bit old but there are late '90 models very well kept. While the aspirated version does a respectable job for that price you can add another 1000€ to have the turbocharged version of the inline four with 190 hp and 290 NM. It goes from 0 to 100 in 7.5 seconds. And there is another 2 litre five cylinder turbo with 220 hp and 310 NM that will cost even more and can shave another second to the 0 -100 and it sounds good to. If you like the look of an italian super-car and don't want to spend a fortune, than the Fiat Coupe is the car for you.

Another italian blue blooded that tent to make fast, and elegant car in the past is Alfa Romeo. And precisely the Alfa Romeo GTV is a very interesting car. There are a lot of good examples at 1200€ with the 1.8 aspirated engine which produces 144 hp and has a 0-100 time of 9.2s. The 2.0 aspirated can be found ate the same price, producing 10 more hp and being 0.7s faster. This are the more sensible choices taking into account that the 2.0 turbo is faster but cost almost twice and the 3.0 and 3.2 V6 while having a great sound and more power than the 2.0 version, costs a lot, tends to weight more and uses around 30% more fuel. Italian cars are not famous for reliability but a well kept GTV should not give a lot of problems. Avoid the post facelifted 2003 models because they cost more than the pre-facelifted without offering much.

Alfa Romeo

A Mazda MX-5 is a solid investment too. A second generation with less than 120.000 km can be found from 2200 € (1750 pounds). It lives up to its reputation to be one of the greatest driver car in the world. With lightness and simplicity it is a very fun little car than doesn't cost a fortune to buy and to run. The base model is a 1.6 naturally aspirated which is good for a 9.7 sprint but if you want more grunt go for the 1.8 engine which add 30 horse power and drop the 0-10 time at 8 seconds. It features independent suspension and with a weight of 1030 kg balanced 50/50 it goes around corners like few others.

For 4000 € you can have a first generation Mini Coopes S. It is stylish, fast enough, and with a go-cart feeling, fund to drive. It weight 1215 kg and unlike other hot hatches it features independent suspension and four disc brakes from the base model. The 1.6 supercharged (turbocharged in the second generation) produces 165 hp and while turbocharged car haves more power and torque the first generation supercharged doesn't suffer from turbo lag and it is more fun to drive. Avoid the automatic version because it is slow, it spoils the fun and it is not very reliable and maintenance cost can be high.

The Peugeot 206 GTi isn't the most exciting proposition, but it is a very practical and comfortable hot hatch, well equipped and very reliable. For 2500 € you can take a 2 liter version with 140 hp which cover the 0-100 in a very reasonable 8 seconds. For another 1000 € you can find a 206 RC model or GTi 180 in UK. Like the name suggest it has a power increase at 180 horse power and is half a second faster from 0 to 100 than the normal GTi version but those are a bit hard to find and for that price I would recommend the 140 hp model.

Peugeot 206 GTi [modified]

Those are just some of the cars which you can have fun with, without spending a lot or using them like a second car. The most of them are easy to repair and parts are not very expensive. You can modify them like most have already done by adding after market exhaust systems, new wheels, change the color, more powerful brakes, etc. Personally I like an exhaust system example: Magnaflow, Ragazzon, Akrapovic, Sprint, Borla.

© 2015 Zoenchii


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