James Ruppert

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James Ruppert: Diesel MPVs are top of the stock

Well, this is interesting: the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has told us that used car sales have stalled a bit at the beginning bit of 2021, by -8.9%. That’s hardly surprising and far from the end of our world, because it should result in slightly lower prices as dealers and traders try to lure us back to their lots and showrooms.
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James Ruppert: These used compact cars are truly small comforts

A Jazz is among the cosiest second-hand bargains you can buy, though it won't get you to your destination very quickly. A recurring question over the years isn’t about top speeds, cubic capacity or stopping distances but to do with seats – not the number of them, but how comfortable they are.
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James Ruppert: Why you should be pumped for cheap diesels

Small diesel cars can be astonishingly good value – to buy and run. Diesel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is hard to argue with the benefits when it comes to economy and a long journey to demolish. But what about if you do only short hops? Would you...
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James Ruppert: Time to peel back the top and escape lockdown

As sun and freedom beckons, a reader seeks an affordable four-seat convertible. Apparently, it is that time of year again – the time when readers’ minds turn to cars with a removable roof. Or, at least, one that can be tucked out of the way. This particular request was for something cheap and cheerful, and I’ve been given free rein as regards to character and performance. All our correspondent asked for is a reliable roof-free experience that, ideally, seats more than two.
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James Ruppert: Go east for ULEZ-compliant petrols

Nissan Elgrand can make you feel grand for less than £10,000 and won't run afoul of ULEZ. I was on a radio station recently, sticking up for people who want to buy anything they pleased as a vehicle to use in a town or city. Apparently, SUVs are incredibly daft...
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James Ruppert: To stick or twist on a three car garage

Our used car expert weighs in on one reader's conundrum: scratch the itch for something new, or keep what's already on the driveway?. Well, this is something of a dilemma, and it is incredible – flattering, even – that reader Simon thought I could possibly solve it. For a start,...
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James Ruppert: The best selling bangers in April

Which second-hand cars are flying off the shelves this month? The Nissan Juke is currently the UK’s most popular used buy. I will happily source car sales and reliability statistics from wherever I can find them. Proper stats, that is, not marketing campaigns masquerading as ‘consumer surveys’. Real information on real sales and real breakdowns.
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James Ruppert: used Jaguar coupes are spectacular value

My mind was on Jaguar saloons a few weeks ago, which went down quite well with you. So now it’s time for me to consider the grace and pace of the marque’s rather focused two-door offerings. These are spectacular value for money as used cars and, in an increasingly mediocre world, represent a truly stylish way to travel for less. Well, for far less than a Porsche, anyway.
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James Ruppert: Rally roots bangers that make great used buys

Sure, they've never actually raced or rallied, but a link to a motorsport star does make a used car stand out. Marketing new cars is some sort of dark art. However, broadening the appeal of a dullish family car by associating it with someone who is handy behind the wheel has to be an easy call. I mean, adding ‘Schumacher’ to the Fiat Stilo moniker at least grabs some attention.
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James Ruppert: Twenty is plenty when shopping second hand

£20,000 goes an awful long way in the classified car pages. Our man picks some highlights. Just in case you wondered, that groovy car for surfers in the shape of an old Peugeot 505 Estate that featured on this very page last month went for a solid £20,000. Make of...
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James Ruppert: Bargain barnstormers that will take you anywhere

The fraternity of used car owners is a very strong one, especially when an enthusiast motor is thrown into the mix. So it was a wonderful surprise to find a Lightweight Land Rover on my drive. It was piloted by Jonathan, who had popped by weeks previously to ask if...
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James Ruppert: Jaguars are the top cats of the used market

You'll be rewarded for taking in a stray, like a five-year-old XE for £10k, or a 2003 XJ for half that. It does seem as though there’s an expiry date on getting yourself a Jaguar without one of those electric engines. Of course, the wonderful thing about the used car market is that even obsolete models remain available almost indefinitely, or at least until a mystery ECU problem knocks it on the head. So before they ban everything that can’t be plugged in, revel in the wonderful V8-ness and straight-six-ness of their range.
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James Ruppert: Capable Land Rover alternatives for less than £4000

Recently I received a panicky message from a mate. I quote: “My Land Rover Freelander, which has done about 130,000 miles, looks like it’s about to give up the ghost. It keeps losing power and, having just spent £450 on it at the garage getting the problem fixed only to have it resurface again today, I am thinking: ‘Is this the moment I decide to stop pouring good money after bad?’” It’s my job, then, to suggest suitable alternative banger-price small 4x4s.
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James Ruppert: How to pull a lockdown turnaround

Reader Ben bought an old McLaren 540C and spun it for profit during lockdown. What other Covid bargains exist?. It’s always nice to hear from Autocar readers; to hear about their cars, their buying and selling experiences, and just what they think is going on in our little bubble. Ben isn’t a dealer, but he got a bit bored at home during lockdown so “swapped out the family fleet”.
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James Ruppert: Ordinary cars for extraordinary prices

At the price of the typical indie dealer sale, you can strike gold. It’s always nice to be sent some statistics that aren’t entirely made up or based on the inaccurate feedback of three respondents. Händler Protect apparently has something to do with warranties, so it holds data that shows...
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James Ruppert: What kind of wheels should a surfer buy?

An old, interesting estate, like this Peugeot 505, is a cool choice. Let’s just say that you are a cool surfing-type dude. What you need to make your automotive life complete is a ginormous, board-friendly estate car. Especially an old classic one that’s quite likely to be interesting to look at and own. I was asked the other day to suggest alternatives to a fabulously expensive Transporter Vee Dub. Easy.
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James Ruppert: Used cars to buy to treat yourself

When your people-carrying days are over, a second-hand Mercedes C-Class could beckon. Bored as you might be by the environmental impact of your chosen vehicle, respect is due to chaps like reader Ricky, who ran a Ford Galaxy from 2005 until recently. That was almost 15 years of solid family motoring. The thing is: what do you replace it with? Assuming, of course, that having to worry about fold-flat rear seats and a loading area is a thing of the past.
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James Ruppert: Larger dealers can still deliver cheap motoring

Lockdown may have paused private sales, but click and collect is still available for affordable used models. Buying a used car privately is temporarily banned, it seems. Clicking and collecting a car is problematic but permitted, as is a retailer delivering a car to you. This is all rather confusing,...
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James Ruppert: The past is the future when it comes to cars

If you’re hardly driving any more, why buy new? Instead, plump for a banger. Far fewer of us than usual are buying brand-new cars right now, and that doesn’t require an explanation. People are still buying cars, but they have a bit of history. Nothing wrong with that. The feedback I’m getting is that a lot of people are waking up to the fact that they really don’t need a PCP any more. They certainly don’t need a new car with a warranty, because they won’t be driving 20,000 miles per year any more. All they need is the confidence to put money where their mouth is. So let’s find the right sort of cars that inspire confidence, but avoiding the high mileages that many of us don’t mind.
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James Ruppert: Turn left for huge savings

Kicking the habit of right-hand driving will save you big money on the used market. Left-hookers. Let’s go there. It’s a wonderful place. There are vehicles available only in that format and others that are cheaper because of it. The driving experience is obviously unique and, once you get used to it, rather enjoyable. For those who have never considered sitting on the wrong side of the cabin, here are a few for your consideration.