James Ruppert


James Ruppert: It's time to start appreciating high-mileage heroes

Mileage is nothing to be frightened of. On the contrary: it should be celebrated, embraced and used as confirmation that a car was probably built to last. I like to call them cockroach cars: those that would survive and probably thrive after a nuclear bomb (I’m writing a book on them). I’m grateful to the good people at Lease Loco, who submitted a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA to find out just how many vehicles have in excess of 750,000 miles on their odometer. The results are surprising, so let’s dive in.

James Ruppert: tastes change, but these are the coupes to keep

Which stylish two-doors will be lusted after in the future? Our man has some ideas. Reader David asked me the other day which era his next bargain coupé should come from. The problem is that our choice is being restricted every day, because the coupé is one of those body shapes that’s going out of fashion, even if us enthusiasts rather appreciate its style and sporting substance. So which decade did it best?

James Ruppert: Grab a big French saloon for low-cost luxury

Big French cars. I’m not talking about adapted vans or even the wonderful old-model Renault Espace, but those great big saloons and hatches designed to shame the boring Germans. Are they worth a go? Well, it is worth daring to be different, even if you do have to be prepared for the worst. My local garage used to be a Citroën main agent, who had to explain to owners of old high-spec XMs that it was a £30k car when brand new so fixing them isn’t necessarily cheap. Remember that.

James Ruppert: small cars that stand out - on a budget

The question this week is: how do you replace a great big Korean-American saloon? This is a close-to-home project requiring an automatic gearbox and no more than £3500. It can be smaller than a four-door, too. I have a consultancy role but won’t be getting a fee. Let’s see where we can go with this.

James Ruppert: The great estate debate

Well, that’s rather upsetting: I learn from Autocar that Mercedes-Benz is not at all sure about the future of its estate cars. Sometimes it does seem as though the whole motoring world is going to become SUV-shaped. I think this is a good time to remind the company of its greatest load-lugging hits. Maybe Benz will reconsider and keep on making the things.

James Ruppert: Don't spend more on second-hand cars rising in value

The nearly new market isn’t great right now, so look to bangers. I know there’s an awful lot of hustle and bustle around rock-hard and rising used car values. Autocar has noticed, commented and advised, but that ‘nearly new’ end of the market is fairly irrelevant in my view. The really interesting area to behold is the banger one. That’s because cheap cars are under attack. If it isn’t cars being expelled from the ULEZ, it’s now the petrol ones that can be killed by E10 fuel and just about any old diesel.

James Ruppert: An alternative to the price guide

The king of Bangernomics on what he really thinks of all the used car price guides. "What’s it werf, then?” It’s probably far too late and pretty much impossible to get a pound for every time I’ve been asked that. Usually I don’t really know; I gave up the trade...

James Ruppert: what will today's used bargains be worth in 2023?

With used car prices going up, plenty of cheap cars will barely depreciate in the next two years. I’m sometimes asked to take a peek into the future, put my neck on the line and make some daft predictions. It doesn’t involve lottery numbers or anything remotely science fiction, just used car values. Only an idiot would do that, so when a reader asks nicely, I will have a go for a bit of fun.