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Top 10: Nineties hatchbacks for less than a grand

Classic cars from the Nineties have been on the up for a while, but there are still some accessible bargains around, especially if you go for run-of-the mill family hatch, which, let’s face it, is where the nostalgia lies...  We pick out our top 10 on-the-cusp classics – buy them now, while they’re still available for beer money.

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Ford Focus

Just old enough to squeeze into this top 10, and still firmly rooted in banger territory where half decent examples can be picked up for £500 apiece, the 1998 Ford Focus was the car that redefined the compact hatchback segment.

It was the second car to demonstrate Ford’s ‘new-edge’ styling, which debuted on the equally triangular Ka, and was the first to benefit from Ford’s ‘Control Blade’ multi-link rear suspension package, which rewrote the rule book on how cars of this size should handle. Like all Fords of the era, Focuses (Focii?) can rot, but if you find a good one and look after it, you’re sitting on a sure-fire future classic.

Read our Ford Focus review


darthmaud    on 28 November 2016

There's some truly shocking examples of automotive engineering in this list.

cfc2000    on 29 November 2016

The ZX was decent to drive, but front shafts were fragile and the fuel lift pumps only lasted about 50,000 miles. Better than that Golf though, which then as now was hugely over-rated and over-priced. None of those cars is dstinctive enough to make it collectible. Soemthing like a Saab would make much more sense, cost less than £500, and be a bit different (even if it is a Vauxhall in disguise).

Chris C    on 9 February 2017

Agree with the R8's but it's a shame that early ones often have badly faded grey bumper plastics. Don't forget the Honda equivalents which are often in excellent carefully kept condition, no K series engine problems and relatively much rarer.

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