Power on a Budget

2009 VW Golf GTI

Ok, so you’ve got £5000 to spend on a car and a year’s worth of insurance, but you want something fast.

It’s actually not as difficult as you might think to get the car you want; used car prices are really quite reasonable. Insurance might be a bit of a sting, but if you want power then you’ll just have to deal with it.

First things first, assume you’re going to spend a lot on the insurance. If you’re 25 or under, then be prepared to pay up to £2000 if you want something that’s in a high insurance group. If you’re under 21, you might not even get insured at all. Leaving yourself with around £3000 to play with should mean that you don’t find a car, only to discover you can’t insure yourself on it.

The best way to find out how quickly a car will accelerate is to check out the 0-60 time, and the car’s power. Used car sites such as Exchange and Mart will tell you this. This will give you a good idea, but isn’t a definite way of telling how the car will be in actual use. This is because some cars are geared to have a fast 0-60 time, where others aim to deliver a lot of power at higher speeds. As an example, hot hatches such as the Golf GTi often have a great 0-60 time, and are brilliant for nipping around town, taking corners and racing on tracks. Some of the more powerful saloons however, will look less impressive 0-60 wise, but their incredible torque will give them massive power in a straight line on A-roads and motorways. It all depends on what you want.

If you’re looking for cars which will be quick off the lights, fun to drive and move like go-karts, then smaller, lighter cars are what you want. This includes hot hatches such as the Honda Civic Type R, which is an excellent choice if you don’t want to spend a lot. If you’re not bothered about refinement, then you’ll be able to pick up a Subaru Impreza WRX for reasonable money.

If you want serious power, then there is very little to compete with a Jaguar XJR. You should be able to buy one for under the £3000 budget. With nearly 400hp on tap, and a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds, you’re unlikely to get anything faster on a budget like this. Running costs will be high however.

If you’re prepared to pay the insurance, and understand that you’ll probably buying a ten year old car, then you’ll be surprised by the options that you’ve got. Do some research, and a fast car can be yours.


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