James Ruppert: with small cars, choose substance over style


At this point, Ryan came back to me. The Ka seemed to fit his criteria pretty closely and I had mentioned the Toyota Aygo in passing, but he was unaware of the badge engineering which also created the Citroën C1 and Peugeot 107. A 2008 1.0, for instance, is £20 road tax and, with 100,000 miles showing, costs £750. So that’s a contender. Ryan, though, had his head turned by a Volkswagen Up. More style over substance? I like them, but Ryan would struggle to get very much below £3000 and he would be dodging insurance write-offs to do it. But if he wants to Up his budget, then by all means do it. 

New small cars are going out of fashion, but used ones will be around for some time to come yet. It’s the continuing beauty of buying used.

What we almost bought this week

Fiat Cinquecento 1.1 Sporting: Once we’d mastered the name and sampled the eager motor and kart-like handling, the Sporting won a place in our heart. This 1996 car with 36,000 miles, full history and one former keeper brings it all back. It’s just £2295. Best feature? The sporty red seatbelts.

Tales from Ruppert’s garage

Volkswagen Golf, mileage – 55,175: The immediate follow-up to last week’s fat-pin-in-tyre crisis: the Michelin Fit2Go tyre checker said the pressure was dropping fast, and a tyre specialist condemned the rubber. Given that the car belongs to Miss Ruppert, it’s up to her to do the shopping around.

She found a 205/55 R16 19W Michelin Energy Saver to match the rest for £76 fitted. At times like these, a good old-fashioned space saver would really help, and my daughter wasn’t keen on using a tin of tyre gunge. The garage, though, took the car in a day early. 

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