Guest feature: Speed On a Budget – A Guide

With all the resources the internet has to offer these days, it’s actually never been easier to find the used car you’ve always wanted. If you have a really good look you might be surprised by what’s available, including some seriously fast cars.

For just a few thousand pounds, you can find cars with 200plus bhp and 0-60mph times under 7 or even 6 seconds. One drawback is insurance is likely to be pretty expensive, but ultimately that’s the price you have to pay for a fast car.

Speed on a budget - A guide

If you are on a budget, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get a quick car that’s fewer than 7 or 8 years old. This means you will have to be prepared for potential repairs, but the good news is people with performance cars do also tend to look after their vehicles, so finding a mechanically sound car shouldn’t be too difficult.

It’s still very important to do the usual checks however; you need to make sure the car has a good service history and there are no significant issues. Ideally, you should have an expert check over the car before you buy (no tyre-kickers).

When looking at cars, it’s always a good idea to check out their performance statistics. Cars that you think are fast might not be as quick as you think, and vice versa. A large engine doesn’t automatically make one car faster than another. A lot of European saloons for instance, are just as quick as American muscle cars. Q-cars, which are generally understated saloons with powerful engines, are often cheaper to buy than more obviously fast sports cars. It does of course depend on what you’re looking for.

Sports cars are always likely to command a premium, but hot hatches aren’t necessarily that expensive. The initial purchase price isn’t always an indicator either. Sites like Exchange and Mart are really useful, because they will list the performance figures for each car.

For example, a SAAB 9-5 Aero has 250 horsepower, but is cheap to buy, and can average 30mpg. If you’re looking at buying a car on a budget, then there’s a good chance you’re going to give some thought to the fuel costs too, especially as prices are on the rise.

Quick cars are always going to use more fuel, but there are some things to think about. Firstly, the smaller the car, the better the fuel economy will be. This is one of the reasons hot hatches are popular – fuel consumption is often reasonable. The size of the engine is also a big factor; if possible, choose a smaller engine fitted with a turbocharger.

With a little bit of research, and by looking in the right places, (if you don’t have unrealistic ambitions) there are still fast cars out there even if you are on a budget.

Guest post written by Timothy Brighton