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The Motorists Guide

Buy them before we do: Second-hand picks for 29 November

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Honda CR-Z 1.5 Sport Honda's CR-Z has plenty of head-turning ability with a nifty look. Cover the usual bases if you want a good one

The Honda CR-Z of 2010-13 is a sporty little hybrid that still turns heads. Make that sporty-looking because the 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine and electric motor together muster just 122bhp.

Of course, this would be forgiven were the CR-Z an economy champ but the fact is that in Autocar’s hands it returned no more than 43mpg. But never mind. What the CR-Z lacks in outright pace and economy it makes up for with engaging handling characterised by strong grip and minimal body roll. Just don’t imagine you can let the whole family experience it: it’s a four-seat coupé but the rear cabin is a real squeeze.

The elephant in the room is the nickel-metal hydride battery and how long it has left. It may explain why so many CR-Zs have had multiple owners, keen to move on before the power light goes out. (A new battery costs £1000 plus fitting.)

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In truth, hybrid battery exhaustion seems to be a rare thing, which is why we’ve put such concerns to one side in search of a promising CR-Z. We think we may have found it in this 2011/11- reg example with 82,000 miles and full Honda dealer history. Unusually for a CR-Z, it has had just two owners.

The first thing to check is that the battery warning light goes out after start-up. Then, on the test drive, we’ll ensure the three driver modes (Sport, Normal and Econ) work and the speedometer changes colour with our driving style. Back at base, we’ll check the battery charge level has gone up.

After that, it’s the usual stuff: checking the gearshift action, listening for suspension clonks and making sure the 12,500-mile service intervals have been followed.

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Subaru Forester XT Turbo, £3200: Even today, few SUVs are faster than the Forester Turbo, which can crack 0-62mph in 5.7sec. We found a 2005/55-reg with 107,000 miles and full service history. “Was always on my list of cars to own,” says the seller. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

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Ford Mondeo ST24, £995: Here’s a forever car to savour. The one-owner motor was bought in 1997 and has notched up 132,000 miles. The Mondeo Mk1 was best of breed in its day and the ST24’s 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine was a smooth-revving thing, capable of 0-62mph in 8.0sec.

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Renault Laguna GT V6 Auto, £5500: This Laguna packs a detuned version of the 3.5-litre V6 from the Nissan 350Z and can dispatch 0-62mph in 7.4sec. At the time, our reviewer couldn’t find a good reason to buy one but £5500 for this 2009/09-reg with 40k miles seems reason enough now.

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Maserati Ghibli 3.0 V6 S, £35,980: The Ghibli plays fourth fiddle to the best execs but has more charisma than all of them, especially in 404bhp twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 S form. It sounds fantastic and is good for 0-62mph in 5.0sec. Our find is a 2016/65-reg with 20,000 miles.

Auction watch

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Porsche 968 Sport: When is a 968 Club Sport not a Club Sport? When it’s a Sport. The CS-based model came out in 1994 and was sold in the UK only. It was a CS but with some of the standard 968’s creature comforts restored. It proved a hit but, with only 306 ever made, is pretty rare today.

Amazing, then, that one should turn up for sale at auction without a reserve and even more amazing that, given its condition, it should be sold for a modest £9000. The car had done 127,000 miles but had a £5000 engine rebuild by a specialist at 90,000 miles.

Future classic

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BMW i8, £45,000: A BMW plug-in sports car with futuristic looks and stuffed with advanced tech – if this isn’t a future classic, we’ll chew our charging cable. New, it cost around £104,000 but you can pick them up from around £40,000 now. In fact, we found a fully loaded 2014/64-reg with 30,000 miles and mechanical and interior warranties, a three-year service pack and full BMW service history for £45,000. It’s a lot of money and these first i8s are sure to get cheaper but one day the market will cry: “Enough!”

Clash of the classifieds

Brief: Find me a year-old supermini bargain.

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Citroën C3 1.2 82 Flair, £8999

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Seat Ibiza 1.0 SE, £8387

Mark Pearson: Of course, a small car should offer all the pleasures a larger car does, just in a smaller package. The Ibiza ticks the boxes by being fun to drive, practical, well equipped and scoring well for safety. This one-year-old car I’ve found is almost half list price, too, and on top of that, the Ibiza’s a pleasure to sit in and to own, which is more than can be said of your fragile Citroën…

Max Adams: I wouldn’t shout too loudly about fragility because your Ibiza isn’t the most reliable of small cars, according to the What Car? Reliability Survey. Anyway, yours is a boggo version, while my newer, 2019 car has an extra 11bhp to play with, a reversing camera and climate control. Plus, it has a quirky style all of its own compared with your identikit VW Group product.

MP: Yes, yours also happens to be rubbish, doesn’t it?

MA: It doesn’t score as highly, no, but when has a car-buying decision purely been a box-ticking exercise? Dare to be a little different, instead.

MP: To be different is all very well, but to do things properly is better. The Ibiza’s a great car, a shrunken Leon, a mini Cupra… We all like a Citroën, but not of that sort…

MA: The sort with squidgy seats and funky details, you mean?

MP: Max, I’ve seen more charm in a tray of soil.

Verdict: I fancy a flutter: the C3 it is.

READ MORE

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View the full article

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