Five brilliant cars for £500

The term ‘old banger’ gets thrown around a little too liberally for our liking. We’re not convinced that, by paying a relatively tiny amount for a car, you’ll be destined to a life of misfires, depression, and standing in the rain awaiting the AA man.

So we thought we’d put our money where our mouths are and after much scouring of the classifieds, we’ve come up with five cars you’d be mad not to take a punt at for £500.

Alfa Romeo 156

Citroen Xantia Activa

Ford Puma

Mazda MX-3

Mazda’s popular MX-5 roadster might be a tad out of budget, but its less known MX-3 coupe manages to sneak into our budget quite easily. £500 should easily find you a 1.5 or 1.6 model, but aim for the 1.8 – back in the day this was the smallest V6 ever fitted to a production car, and we think that’s worth a boast.

Peugeot 306 XSI

It’s hard to remember a Britain without the Ford Focus, but before 1998 it was Peugeot’s 306 that held the crown for best handling hatchback. The 165bhp GTI-6 version is slightly out of budget, but you can still grab yourself a perfectly tidy XSI with a not-at-all-shabby 134bhp. We’re tempted.Have you got any recommendations? Let us know what would be in your list by posting your comments below.