With waiting lists for new cars getting longer by the day, and the prices of nearly-new models reaching eye-watering levels, there's never been a better time to consider buying second hand. As our bangernomics expert James Ruppert proves, there's a lot of fun to be found hiding in the classifieds, even if you're on a tight budget.
So what are you waiting for? Here are some of the best bargains out there for Christmas car shoppers.
Alfa Romeo 159 2007 3.2 JTS Q4 Lusso, 77,000 miles, £5750
Track down one of these seriously handsome super-saloons before Turin goes all in on SUVs. Even specialists don’t seem to touch them, so the best bet is to find an attentive enthusiast owner. There’s all the grip you will ever need and the V6 is wonderfully fruity. Indeed, that 4WD system is related to the Lancia Delta Integrale’s so remains a direct mechanical assistant, rather than a software set-up.
Suzuki Swift Sport Mk2 2013 1.6 SZ-R 3dr, 32,000 miles, £7499
The Suzuki Swift Sport is warm at best but really great to drive. The three-door looks great and the Suzuki badge is tremendously reassuring for reliability purposes. Just look out for worn brakes and shot tyres. The SZ-R was a limited edition (just 100 of them), so well done if you find one. It cost only £500 extra at the time, having just a bit of fancy paintwork and some air-dam action, so don’t pay any more for one over a standard Sport.