Inside, there’s a wacky but well-built interior with a digital speedo mounted in the centre of the dash top, but you also get loads of cubbies to store your odds and ends, while in the back there’s plenty of room, albeit with a rather small boot. The Yaris is no ball of fire to drive, but neither is it a mess, with tidy, safe handling that won’t cause any problems. And if you choose the 1.3-litre, you even get the option of a decent torque-converter automatic gearbox (though avoid the so-called Freetronic available on the 1.0 cars).
The one to have: 1.3 GS 5dr
What to pay: £800 for a tidy, low-mileage example with evidence of careful maintenance.
What to look out for: Engines can be quite oil-sensitive and use quite a bit, so keep them topped up and change it regularly. Surprisingly prone to suspension bushes wearing, but not too pricey to replace – listen for clonks. Rust within rear wheel arch area can be an issue, so check up inside the arch.
Rover 75/MG ZT
It’s been much maligned, and the Rover 75 (and its sportier-looking MG-badged sibling) was never the perfect car. These days, its fuddy-duddy image does it no favours, either, but for the price the 75 is a remarkably competent and relaxing buy. 1.8-litre engines feel a little underpowered and there’s always the lingering spectre of the K-Series head gasket issue, so go for the creamy-smooth 2.0 V6 or, if you’re feeling flush, the 2.5. There’s always the BMW-sourced diesel, too, which is smooth and economical, albeit with more to go wrong.