Top Three... First cars for under £1500

There are few thing in life as momentous as buying your first car. It represents your ticket to freedom on the open road. What's best to buy is also one of the most frequently asked questions at the garage so here is our guide to the top three...

3rd: Ford Ka.

Third place goes to Ford's baby, the Ka. A combination of zippy performance and economy has kept this car popular with the motoring masses since it's launch in 1997. £1500 will see you looking at a late model, (2007/8). Avoid the earlier ones as they can rot but they are better from 2005 onwards. The 1.3 CVH engine isn't exactly the last word in refinement but if it's serviced properly, it will give years of honest service. Listen for any clonking noises from the rear end on a test drive, axle bush wear is common. Try to avoid cars with massive mileage as the engines tend to start letting go around the 100K mark.

2nd: Peugeot 206

The french aren't known for making world beating cars but that's exactly what the 206 is. Roomy, refined and surprisingly good to drive, the 206 makes a fine choice of chariot. Avoid the 1.6 as it's thirsty. If you're after an Auto, look elsewhere, these are far better as a manual. Check under the bonnet for any evidence of overheating as this can be commonplace. £1500 will put you in the market for a nice, tidy 2005/6 model.

1st: Vauxhall Corsa C

A runaway success for Vauxhall takes the crown from us. The Corsa C is cheap to run, insure and maintain so is a popular choice all round. Plentiful supply means they are good value and there will be loads to choose from. Avoid the three cylinder models like the plague. Both the manual and auto 'boxes are good but swerve the 'tiptronic' model, it's horrid. £1500 should net you a late 2005/6 model. Try and find a nice clean example that hasn't been messed around with , (plenty have).At that price, you'll also be looking at the later Corsa D. These are not great however so stick with the C!

One to avoid: Fiat Punto

On paper, the Fiat Punto has a lot going for it. Pin sharp Italian styling, a good range of models and well appointed cars. However, it would appear that they have been constructed from tin foil, plastic and super glue. They are unreliable to the point of being laughable. Buy one of these and we'll be seeing a LOT of you.

If you must, £1500 will buy a late 2007/2008 car. Just be sure to leave enough aside to pay for an AA membership. Because you'll need it.

We hope you found guide this helpful.

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