Advice for a thicko

Would agree with Sol ... "Honest John" is a very good web site and lists what to look out for when buying a 2nd hand car of your chosen model! Its a good idea to check out the bits that tend to go wrong after a few years so you can look closely at that particular bit! You've also got to think about going on long runs in what essentially is a town car ... the seats are not all that good and by the time you've driven a couple of hundred miles in a polo or similar you are going to feel it!

Lots of good suggestions already however if you want fuel economy then diesel is the way to go and as has already been said for £3.5K you are looking at something with a mileage of 50K on the clock so a diesel isn't even run in at that. Also think about getting it repaired ... Ford / Vauxhall are reasonably cheap and most "off the shelf" bits fit and work however you may find that the Jap imports can get a bit pricey when they go wrong. But you are likely to be able to get a decent car with a lot of bells and whistles at a reasonable price so shop around.

Diesel Focus's are good ... mate of mine had 1.8 Turbo one and dragged a caravan around France with it no probs and was getting good MPG out of it too!
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