Each week, we'll be picking out the best used buys for those working to a budget - and to kick things off, we're looking at what's available for GBP5,000.
You can have a practical hatch, a mini-MPV or a sports car from yesteryear - but it's Vauxhall's super-sensible Astra that's our first choice. You could pick up an early R-reg five-door, in the current shape, for the price of a year's rail ticket. The 84bhp 1.6-litre LS won't exactly set your pulse racing, but with a fine chassis and modern design, you can't beat it for five grand.
Model: LS five-door Year: 1998 R Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl petrol
If you have petrol running through your veins, there's still plenty of thrills to be had at this price. What better way to spend the cash than on Volkswagen's forgotten coupe, the Corrado? With the storming 180bhp V6 under the bonnet, the VW is good for a 0-60mph time of 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 143mph. It was built between 1992 and 1996, and GBP5,000 will get you a 1993 L-reg with around 80,000 miles on the clock - a true sports car and probably a future classic.
Model: VR6 Year: 1993 L Engine: 2.9-litre 6cyl petrol
Transporting families is never cheap, but it can be done for £5,000 in an early Scenic. Renowned for its practical and well designed interior, this was the first of the smaller MPVs. Based on the M�gane, the taller Scenic has always had tidy handling, and the 110bhp 1.6-litre unit should return nearly 40mpg. A clean example from a main dealer with a full service history should still fit into this price bracket, and provide roomy family motoring on a shoestring.
Model: RN Year: 1997 PEngine: 1.6-litre 4cyl petrol
If only a BMW will do, you could settle for a 3-Series. But why not live the high life in a 7-Series? A last-generation 730i SE packed with luxury kit, including leather trim, an automatic gearbox and air-con, just about squeezes into our range - not bad when the list price was GBP35,450. Don't expect low running costs, but the 3.0-litre saloon is a great cruiser, with autobahn-bashing pace. Look for a full BMW history and a clear HPI check, and you could travel in style on a budget.
Model: 730i SE Year: 1995 M Engine: 3.0-litre 6cyl petrol
It's a sad fact, but Minis rot. Spend GBP1,000 and it'll be a constant battle to keep the rust at bay, but GBP5,000 gets you a mint classic Cooper S with no such worries. Arguably the original and best, the S was available with a range of engines over nine years, and now has a loyal following. Get advice from owners' clubs, check out specialist Mini insurers for the best deals and you too could join the 'Self-Preservation Society'. A good Cooper S will always put a smile on your face.
Model: Cooper S Year: 1965 Engine: 1,275cc 4cyl petrol