Need something more spacious? In that case, the second generation Toyota Avensis is worth a look. Yes, it may be boring, but the Avensis delivers exactly what most people expect from a banger: uncompromising reliability, low running costs and a carefree driving experience.
You can choose from hatchback, sedan and station wagon body styles in this generation, meaning there’s an Avensis to suit everyone, and you also have a choice of three petrol and two diesel engines, plus the vaguely sporty T180 diesel, which offers powerful performance as well as impressive fuel efficiency.
Reliability should be up there with the best given Toyota’s reputation (although diesel engines seem to have more problems than petrol) and maintenance and repair costs are typically affordable. So if you want the most space with the least fuss on a very limited budget, the Avensis is for you.
Price to pay: from £1,000
We found: 2004 1.8 VVT-i T3-X hatchback, 70,000 miles, full service history, £1,995
Watch out for: Heavy oil consumption on early engines, both petrol and diesel, noisy/scratchy manual transmission, head gasket failure on diesel engines.
Suzuki Swift (2005-2012)
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