When Land Rover invited us to help celebrate its 70th anniversary, there was one particular car we were desperate to ride in.
The Fiat 500 demonstrates just how successful retro-themed motoring can be. When it was launched in 2007 (50 years to the day since the launch of the original Fiat 500), it showed just how successfully an old but much-loved design could be reimagined for modern buyers, combing vintage charm and cheekiness with the kind of safety features, comfort, fuel economy and running costs buyers today have come to expect.
Ask any car manufacturer where its performance models are most popular and the answer will almost always be the UK. We are a nation of fast car – and in particular hot hatch – addicts, a point well and truly demonstrated by the fact that Volkswagen UK’s director, Alison Jones, this week told us that the company has already sold out of its initial allocation of up! GTIs. Fear not, however, for if you are desperate to get your hands on one of these pocket rockets but can’t wait until the next build slots materialise (likely to be in the new year) the first approved used examples have just appeared on CarGurus.
By 2012 Renault’s fast car division seemed unable to put a foot wrong when it came to building hot hatches. It was no surprise therefore when that year’s Renault Megane 2.0 Renaultsport 265 proved to be an instant hit, nor indeed that it continues to make a fine purchase six years on with good examples now available for around half of the original £24,825 list price. In fact, at this moment in time it might just be the most interesting Half Price Hot Hatch of them all.
With the first six months of 2018 behind us it is an ideal time to take stock of the new car market. After all, today’s new cars are tomorrow’s nearly new ones, as can be seen by the fact that every car in the list below can already be sourced as approved used via CarGurus, with potential savings of thousands of pounds.
Since being relaunched by BMW in 2001 the MINI brand has been an incredible success. For that you can thank the way it combines the sense of cheeky fun you’d expect of a classic Mini with modern standards of build quality, safety and reliability.
If you’re in the market for a small car there’s a good chance the Volkswagen Polo is on your shortlist. After all, alongside the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa it is a regular fixture in the list of the UK’s best selling cars, with a mixture of practicality, affordability and build quality that buyers find hard to resist.
Are there any other manufacturers that do the whole super-fast estate thing as well as Audi? Certainly none have been at it for as long, with the first seriously rapid RS Audi wagon dating back to the RS2 of 1994 (even if it was co-developed with Porsche).