Bangernomics best buys: Fiat Panda

2012 Kia Picanto 1.0, 56,000 miles, £3995: Basic city car? Here’s one answer that’s slightly less boring and better value than a Honda Jazz. It has below-average mileage, a full Kia history and a competitive asking price.

Idol fancy

Alfa Romeo 1472001-2009

The 147 was the best small Alfa Romeo for decades, with superb styling, engines and specs – oh, and the usual long list of issues to worry about. Never mind, though, because it’s great to drive when it works. Choose a 3dr for looks or a 5dr for practicality, even though the latter feels more claustrophobic.

Anyway, Alfas are all about the handling and the engines. The 1.6 TS makes 120bhp, while the 2.0 TS is Prosecco-fizzy with 150bhp. The 3.2 V6 in the GTA has a whacking 250bhp and the 1.9 JTD diesels (from 2005) are frugal while making 120bhp and 150bhp.

It’s worth finding a car in Turismo trim, which gives you climate control. Steel wheels are standard, but you will find alloys on a Lusso.

Galvanised bodywork seems to have worked its magic. However, you need to watch out for worn suspension bushes and wishbones (listen for clunks and look at tire wear). The Selespeed gearbox can go on the blink so make sure the paddles work. The TS engines can drink oil, so check the level and judge the seller. And if the odometer is flashing, there could be a problem with just about any ECU.

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