Great scrappage survivors for low cost commuting

  • Keeping an older car running longer can be a bargain
  • Cars which have escaped the scrappage scheme have plenty of life left
  • Save money, or let a banger take the brunt of winter roads

If you've got to commute long distances regularly, a new car might cost more than the advertised rates due to the mileage allowances. You may not want to commit that much per month for your car, and if you do have a new car, keeping winter's rain, snow and salt off the pristine bodywork might help it last longer.

It may be that you need to leave a car in a remote carpark all day, out of sight at risk of careless people, accidents or theft, and the appeal of a new car is countered by rarely getting to enjoy it.

Scrappage hasn't wiped all these cars off the map, and if you buy carefully you can pick up a comfortable car for less than the cost of refurbishing alloys, rectifying dents or insurance excesses. Better yet, nearly all of these options are good on fuel and cheap to maintain.

Whether you want to make the most of the time spent behind the wheel, relax, or cut costs to the bone, we've found a selection of cars costing less than £1,000, that can be faithful, tough companions to get you to work without breaking the bank.

Kia Sedona (1999-2006)

Car share, and share costs

Kia Sedona 1999-2006

If you're a route or a bus with several commuters, you can slash the costs by carpooling. Sharing a car like the Kia Sedona 2.9CRDi can offset the relatively poor economy, and dividing the fuel bills between yourself and five or six passengers - over a few months the savings will make everyone happy. You might even make some new friends. The Sedona is not a particularly troublesome car to run either, with our owners' reviews consistently positive. VED can be expensive on the later models.

If your commute is urban and frustrating, the 2.9 CRDI Auto will take the edge off stop-start traffic. £500 will, amazingly, get a usable tatty car; look to spend around £1200 for something from a more caring owner, and £1,750 can secure a clean, presentable Sedona worth looking after.

Parkers star rating: Three and a half stars
Used price from: £495
Power: 145hp
0-60mph: 15s
Fuel economy: 22-36mpg
Insurance group: 19-23

View the latest Kia Sedona cars for sale

Citroen C5 Hatch 2.0 HDi LX (2001-2004)

Cheap comfortable commuting

Used Citroen C5

The C5 was never a good choice as a new buy, as it lost too much of its value too quickly. It’s a different matter as a used choice, however. For a small price you get a car with masses of space and a high standard of comfort. It’s hardly the most exciting or engaging car to drive, but for relaxed long distance journeys you’ll struggle to better it for the money. Our readers agree. with an average overall score and most positive comments highlighting comfort.

Manual transmission petrols will offer the fewest headaches, but if you're prepared to invest time in maintenance a high specification automatic is incredibly comfortable. Avoid the 3.0 V6 unless you're truly dedicated to the cause.

Parkers star rating: Three stars
Used price from: £300
Power: 110bhp
0-60mph: 10.9s
Fuel economy: 50mpg
Insurance group: 15-30

View the latest Citroen C5 cars for sale

Skoda Octavia Estate 1.9 TDi Elegance (1998-2005)

Spacious workhorse for chicken feed money

Used Skoda Octavia Estate

The Octavia is the model that set Skoda on its way to becoming the more respected carmaker it is today. There’s a good amount of space on offer and it’s well equipped. Thanks to VW input, it’s a reliable workhorse that should keep going for years on end. The diesel might be a little noisy, but it's the best for high mileage drivers.

Owners rate the Octavia estate at just over four stars, and love the load capacity.

Parkers star rating: Three and a half stars
Used price from: £500
Power: 110bhp
0-60mph: 10.8s
Fuel economy: 53mpg
Insurance group: 11-28

View the latest Skoda Octavia Estate cars for sale

Ford Mondeo Hatchback 2.0 TDCi Zetec (00-07)

Company car favourite remains relevant

Used Ford Mondeo

The second generation of Ford’s family hatchback quickly became a class-leader. Not only was it comfortable and spacious, but it's also an engaging car to drive. This 2.0-litre diesel engine is very good, and a major improvement over the old 1.8-litre version. Thanks to heavy depreciation, there are plenty of these models available at an affordable price.

Notably there's a fair amount of recent feedback from owners, with drivers running older cars and still rating the Mondeo highly.

Parkers star rating: Four stars

Used price from: £350
Power: 113bhp
0-60mph: 10.5s
Fuel economy: 50mpg
Insurance group: 17-33

View the latest Ford Mondeo cars for sale

Toyota Corolla 2.0 D-4D T Spirit

Japanese reliability with a little fun

Used Toyota Corolla

It’s hardly the most exciting car around. What it lacks in fun and engagement, however, the Corolla makes up for by being dependable and reliable. It will cruise along quite happily on the motorway and should make your journey fairly relaxed, although the 2.0-litre diesel engine is louder than some of its rivals of the same age. You should also be able to get around 49mpg on your longer trips.

Parkers star rating: Four stars
Used price from: £900
Power: 114bhp
0-60mph: 10.3s
Fuel economy: 49mpg
Insurance group: 8-32

View the latest Toyota Corolla cars for sale

Ford Puma (1997-2004)

A modern classic that makes winding roads fun

Ford Puma

If you've got some countryside to take in on your drive to work, you can make those bends fun without challenging your licence by taking them in a Puma. It's a little cramped for family use, but for the sole commuter it's got a great driving position, light controls and a wonderfully entertaining chassis. 1.4 models offer a fair balance of performance and economy, but the 1.7 is the one to go for if you have long dual carriageway stretches. Our owners' reviews agree, with the Puma earning over four stars.

Although they can be found for as little as £500, we'd recommend looking with a higher budget to get a decent selection of good cars. Watch out for rust on the rear arches; get a good one and maintain, and you'll beat depreciation with an affordable future classic. Parts and servicing are as cheap as a Ford Fiesta, and urban trips are a delight due to good forward visibility and a compact footprint.

Parkers star rating: Four stars
Used price from: £1,000
Power: 88-123bhp
0-60mph: 9.2s
Fuel economy: 39mpg
Insurance group: 19-25

View the latest Ford Puma cars for sale

*Prices based on examples found on Parkers Cars for Sale and limited to availability. Similar examples may be on offer. Prices correct at time of publication. Pictures not representative of specific examples.

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