James Ruppert: small cars that stand out – on a budget

What is the best replacement for a PS3500 Kia saloon model?

This week’s question is: How do you replace a large Korean-American saloon? This project is close to home and requires an automatic gearbox. It also doesn’t require more than PS3500. You can also make it smaller than a 4-door. Although I will be working as a consultant, there won’t be any fees. Let’s see what we can do with this.

The Volvo C30 is a car I love. It’s a beautiful hatchback that’s both stylish and practical. A 2009 2.0D R-Design Sport is available for PS3000 with a Powershift transmission. It’s been owned by three people and has covered 103,000 miles. As an added bonus, it comes with Serapis alloy wheels that look even better than they sound. It also features leather upholstery and Volvo’s Intelligent Driver System. It should achieve an average of 45 mpg.

This is a strange one: how about the Skoda Roomster. It seems a little too old-fashioned for your taste. It looks cool to me, but I am old. Why not make it black with some alloys or painted steelies? A 2007 1.6V Scout equipped with the Tiptronic “box” costs just PS3000. This private sale is a 91,000-miler with three previous owner. PS2495 is the alternative. A dealer-sold 2007 car with 87,000 miles and five previous owners is PS2495. There are many options.

Always tempt your youngster with an Alfa Romeo when in doubt. They will get the concept of cars if they are even slightly interested. The quirky-looking Mito is great fun. A 2011 1.4 Multiair Veloce, with 104,000 miles, and the important automatic box, is available at PS2999 from a dealer. A privately-priced 2010 1.4 car, with 52,000mi, only two owners, and a complete service history, is a better choice, especially at PS3000.

The boxy Soul crossover and Rio supermini are options if we want to stay on-brand with Kia. The Soulsters are my favorite, while the Soulsters are a little boring. PS2495 allows us to get a 1.6 CRDi example with less than 100,000 miles starting in 2011. It is easy to drive and has a 45mpg official rating, so it will not be too costly.

The Honda Civic is a great choice. Let’s make this even more interesting by adding a 1.8i VTEC Type S with the all-important iShift ‘box – a 2009 example, with 108,000 miles. This three-door motor is available for PS3500. It has had four previous owners. You should be able to offer the dealer a few hundred.

At the moment, the Civic Type S is leading, so a dealer visit to see the Civic Type S in action is planned. I’ll let you know the outcome.

Tales From Ruppert’s Garage

Porsche Cayenne, mileage – 112,687

The Flying Pig isn’t often mentioned, which I think is a good thing, especially for my bank account. Its MOT is not far away, and I have explained that I created an MOTpocalypse when I foolishly left most garage visits until the end of the calendar year. There are no problems, except for the occasional random warning light that always goes off. This is not what a Porsche agent stated more than two years ago when there was recall work. It required expensive attention but it is still reliable and roadworthy. It will continue to be so.

Readers’ questions

Question One of my rear lights has stopped working. Is it legal to drive on the roads, even during the night? Emma Hoxton

AnswerIt is illegal to drive on public roads if your tail-light is broken. This can make it dangerous and others might not be able see what you are indicating. The police can issue you a vehicle defect correction notice if you are caught. This means that you must have the light repaired with a receipt from any mechanic who did the work. The government advises that you give the police 14 days to prove that the light has been repaired. JW

Question I live in the proposed area of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone expansion. Do I still have to pay for my car as a resident? David Grey. London

AnswerLondon residents, including those who live in the expanded area, must still pay the fee every 24 hours if they drive in the ULEZ. You will be charged between PS12.50 and PS100 if your vehicle does not meet the required emissions standards (at minimum Euro 5 for petrols, and at least Euro 6 diesels).