Sure, you could buy that Fiesta or Golf. Most people would. After all, you want to be sensible with your money, and find a cheap but reliable daily driver. But why not find a balance between sensible and interesting? It can be done, as many have proven. In fact, in just the last few days, I have found three cars that would tick these boxes admirably.
First, this 1991 Volvo 960. While it’s not a classic Volvo wagon, it is hard to argue with just about anything on this car; it has a spectacular colour and trim combination, it looks incredibly clean in the photos, the seats look as plush and comfortable as the settee in my lounge, it has a nearly faultless MOT history, and is powered by a silky smooth inline-6. You’ll want to be sure the timing belt has been done, as it can be a tricky job on the B6304 engines, and the fuel bill might push this a little more towards the ‘interesting’ side of the scale (although the 3.0L can be pretty sensible on a motorway run), but otherwise this looks like it wants for nothing.
Second, we have another gem from the very start of the 1990s, an Audi 90. This doesn’t look quite as clean as the Volvo, but this is still upmarket motoring – you can hold your head high as you pass all those Audi 80 drivers – fitted with one of Audi’s lovely 5-cylinder engines. With no turbocharger on the 2.3L and mated to an automatic gearbox, you won’t be going anywhere particularly fast, but you will cruise in comfort and look good doing so. The MOT history shows some advisories for a bit of surface corrosion underneath a few years back, so it’s worth ensuring that has been properly attended to, but again, this is a lot of car for £1095.
Finally, for those who like Sweden but prefer their cars a little less boxy, this Saab 900i popped up the other week. The advert originally carried a ‘Buy it Now’ price of just £1400, which makes you wonder if the owner wasn’t too sure what they actually had, especially considering they just had it in for a full service, as well as new springs, shocks, and tyres all around. While this more basic naturally-aspirated 2.0L wouldn’t be as fun as a turbocharged unit, the car looks remarkably clean. I shared this on Twitter at the weekend, and it generated a lot of interest, which the owner must have noticed, as they first raised the price to £3000, and then cancelled the listing because of an ‘error’. We’ll see if it shows up again at an even more inflated price, in which case they’ll really be starting to push their luck, and succeed in pushing the car well out of my ‘sensible’ category.
Any of these would make for unique, and I think pretty reliable, daily drivers, especially if you’ve got a little bit of know-how to deal with whatever minor issues might occasionally pop up. What’s more, all of these are likely to see their values rise if they are well-kept.
With a bit of patience and a bit of research, it shouldn’t be hard to find a daily driver that is both sensible and interesting. And I’m now seriously contemplating selling my Leon and picking up that 960…