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Bangernomics Best Buys: Fiat Panda

Bangernomics Best Buys: Fiat Panda

2012 Kia Picanto 1.0, 56,000 miles, £3995: Basic city car? Here’s an answer that’s a little less boring and more affordable than a Honda Jazz. It has a substandard mileage, a full Kia history and a competitive asking price.

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Alfa Romeo 147, 2001-2009

The 147 was the best little Alfa Romeo for decades, with excellent styling, engines and specs – oh, and the usual long list of issues to worry about. Doesn’t matter because it’s great to drive when it works. Pick a 3dr for looks or a 5dr for practicality, even if the latter feels more claustrophobic.

Anyway, Alfas are all about handling and engines. The 1.6 TS delivers 120 hp, while the 2.0 TS Prosecco is vibrant with 150 hp. The 3.2 V6 in the GTA has a whopping 250 hp and the 1.9 JTD diesels (from 2005) are economical while producing 120 hp and 150 hp.

It pays to find a car in Turismo trim, which gives climate control. Steel rims are standard, but on a Lusso you will find alloys.

Galvanized body seems to have worked its magic. You do have to watch out for worn suspension bushings and wishbones (listen for creaking and look for tire wear). The Selespeed gearbox may flash, so make sure the paddles are working. 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.