Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Mitsubishi Legnum VR4...

Whip still warm, we just got another tip-top update from our numero uno word-maker, Bevis. It's amazing how he does it really; he has no computer, no light and we only let him eat the toast we don't finish, which would be fine if we didn't love toast so damn much. Still, he seems happy in himself, that's the main thing.

"And you're not having any more toast..."

The chosen car is the Legnum VR4. That's a very fast Mitsubish Galant to you and me. We had a Galant once, it was a 2.0 auto. Possibly the slowest thing we've ever owned. Oh, and a wheel bearing FELL OUT of the bastard. Had we known the Legnum was cheap it would have been a different story, with more points for speeding, no doubt. Ah well, you live and learn. Anyway, that's enough of that. ON WITH THE UPDATE...

The Legnum VR4...

Estate cars have a hard time being cool. My wife has categorically told me that we can never have one, because they’re ‘embarrassing’. I used to pinch my mum’s mkIV Escort estate when I was a teenager because it was good for going to parties – you could fold the rear seats flat(ish) and sleep in the back – but that sort of shizzle won’t fly these days. It’s hatchbacks or three-boxes all the way.

That is one mean looking B&Q car-park regular!

But not all estate cars are embarrassing. The Volvo 850 T5 is a boxy, unassuming stealth weapon (with a Kamm tail, so it should be faster than the saloon, right...?), the Nissan Stagea – which I was going to write this post about, until I entirely failed to find one for under two grand – is basically a Skyline with a massive boot, and the Mitsubishi Legnum... well, that’s very cool indeed.

Take the Galant VR-4, Japan’s 1996 Car of the Year, as a starting point. It’s a sizeable saloon, powered by a 2.5-litre twin-turbo V6 offering 260bhp, featuring a tiptronic ‘box – sequential, like a racing car – and a variety of Evo III/IV/V/VI bits underneath. (An even more muscular 280bhp is available if you go for proper manual gearbox...) Now bolt on a big-ass glasshouse to the rear, so that all your holiday luggage and your bicycles will fit in. How brilliant is that?

A Legnum engine, in a Legnum...obviously

Unlike some other über-estates that shoehorn a massive engine into a junk-in-the-trunk battle-cruiser and expect you to handle the aftermath, Mitsubishi’s boffins have got your back with this one. The undercarriage comes primed with AYC – Active Yaw Control – straight from the Evo series, which is basically an electronically-governed limited-slip differential; a piece of kit designed for no other purpose than to make you drive faster on twisty roads. Thanks, axlenerds!

Oi! Mrs. Bevis! This is awesome, deal with it!

So it’s a proper bona fide sports car, then. But it’s also plush and luxurious enough to keep your missus happy, with its hip-caressing seats, LCD touchscreens and what-have-you. And, to return to the key theme, it’s an estate. You can take your hedgetrimmings to the tip in it, then pop down to Currys and pick up a new dishwasher... and you can do it all at LUDICROUS SPEED!

Silly steering wheel is optional, as in 'do not opt for it'

Want to hear something absurd? There’s one on Auto Trader – freshly serviced, taxed and with a long MOT - for £1200, look!

...and it’s the limited Ralliart edition, meaning that you get an extra 20bhp and Tein suspension.

There’s no way in hell that you’ll find a faster car for the money, and that’s a solid gold fact. Buy it! Buy it now!


...we're doing actual, proper, important work for AutoTrader this week, so we're a bit lacking on updates. We have, however, opened the door to the cellar and cracked the whip in Bevis's direction so he should have an update soon. You listening, Bevis? Don't make us come down there!

Anyway, in the meantime here is a picture of an expensive car being made to be worth far, FAR less than £2000.


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Citroen C2 VTS...

Yeah, we're only featuring a French car! We've been a bit Japan and German heavy of late, so we decided to shake it up a little. Anyway, moving on, THE C2 VTS!

Regardez-moi, je suis petit, le français et j'aime être fessée dans les parkings vides!

We may have used Google Translate for that, much like we did when we attempted to speak Italian on an earlier Alfa Romeo-based post. As such, it may inadvertently offend you if you are in fact, French. Sorry. Anyway, this isn't a Rosetta Stone DVD, this is a blog about buying cars for less than £2000 that you wouldn't know you could buy for, er, less than £2000. With the Citroen C2 VTS we shocked ourselves - we had no idea they were so cheap!

Sortez de mon chemin, le pamplemousse doit être livré!

Heh, 'pamplemousse'. We love those crazy French folk! Anyway, yes, the car!

It's only natural to have a Saxo pop into your head if you hear 'VTS' and there's nothing wrong wrong with that. The Saxo was the first car from Citroen to wear both the VTS and the VTR badge, and with the birth of that car came a new line of cheap, fun and exciting hot hatchbacks. They were fun and free of cliche, seemingly managing to avoid any overlap into the boy racer world of XR2i's and Novas...initially. When they got a bit cheaper they fell right into that image, but when they first hit the scene they were a revelation not only to drivers but to Citroen itself. It had found a winning formula and it was one Citroen had to monopolise on, so when the Saxo shuffled off its automotive coil in favour of the C2 in 2003 Citroen made sure the brochures offered a VTS and a VTR option from the off. Citroen bosses awaited the same fame and fortune that the Saxo had brought them, but much like a Frenchman in a battle situation, the C2 didn't deliver...

S'il vous plaît me payer, je suis vraiment très bon!

The lack of instant fame for the C2 was bad for Citroen, but that just makes it good for you lot. It seemed to slip through the 'boy racer' net unnoticed. Maybe their baseball caps were on too tight, or maybe it was because 98% of boy racers never moved on from Saxo, who knows? It could of course, have been something to do with the fact the Citroen sort of forgot to advertise it properly (really, we'll give you a tenner if you can remember a C2 advert). All we know is that the Saxo demographic's lack of interest has left us with a used car market full of unmodified, fun, ripe for the picking C2 VTSs, and that makes us do a happy dance!

If you're looking for a cheap, (reasonably) economical, fun city car then look no further - the C2 VTS is for you. The whole car was huge step up from the Saxo, it was stronger, better looking, it had a better chassis and it was modern beyond its years, unlike the Saxo which looked dated in the showroom. It also won 4 out of 5 starts on the Euro NCAP crash-test for being a tough little bugger...

Le wallop!

...which attracted buyers. It was a huge improvement over the NCAP 2-star Saxo, that's for sure.

Then there was the engine. At 1600cc it was a big bugger for a tiny car, but no bigger than the VTS of old. It kicked out 110bhp and around 108lbft torque which, while not monumental, still managed to punt the C2 to 60mph in around 8.5 seconds. It had all the modern stuff like valves to the power of 16 and two cams and oil and shiny bits that spun and whirred. All you'd want from an engine. As for the transmission, you'll probably find yourself with a 'SensoDrive' for your £2000 which, like a lot of French things, sounds far more exciting than it is (remember 'pamplemousse'? Well, that's a grapefruit). It's basically a five-speed manual without a clutch pedal. Instead you have a two-way gear lever and that's it. It's a bit of a clunky sucker though, thanks in part to its reliance on a series of actuators and whatnot. Actuators are not fast. A clutch pedal would have been better. Still, you can't have it all.

This is what a C2 VTS engine looks like when it's on a pallet, in case you were wondering. What do you mean, you weren't?

The innards contain your standard French clobber - grey plastics and incredibly comfy seats for example. There was also a digital dash, much like the Astra GTEs of old - exciting. Other than that it was just a normal car interior, neither exciting nor offensive. That's fine though, because the C2 is about nipping through town and diving around corners and through multi-story car-parks, not long, bum-numbing drives.

This is where your derriere goes. Derriere, French for your arse. Anything? Sigh...

So, there you go, the C2 VTS, 110bhp of cheap French fun. In a time when fuel costs more than children and the roads have more cars on them than a weather-girl has tacky glitter on her blouse, a car like the C2 makes perfect sense. It's got some sporty credentials, it looks FAR better than a hum-drum 1.0 C2 and it shouldn't embarrass your mum when you leave it outside her house - despite the fact it's a 'hot hatch'.

Oh, and if you need any more convincing allow us to share a little C2 secret with you. You ready? The Citroen C2, yeah? Well, it can FLY! No, really...

Monday, 18 July 2011

The BMW Z3...


Now that's one good looking collection of curves - the car isn't too bad either (ha, see what we did there? The girls have curvy bits y'see, and we like curv....oh, never mind)!

Yup, say hello to the BMW Z3. We're willing to bet you didn't know you could get one for under £2000, did you? It's okay if you didn't. To be honest they're only just crossing into the N£2G threshold but rather than wait we thought we'd bring the Z3 to your attention now. It's summer after all (apparently) so it's a good time to make you all giddy about the prospect of some top-down fun!

That's a silly place to park, you'll fall right down those stairs when you get out...where there's a blame there's a claim!

Introduced in 1996, the Z3 was a new venture for BMW. Designed by the brilliantly named Joji Nagashima, it was a low-slung two-seater which was keen to snap at the successful heels of the seemingly unstoppable MX5. The fact the Z3 was roughly £14,000,026 more expensive than the Mazda was beside the point, and the E36/E30 adapted chassis was never going to be as good as the Mazda's tight monocoque either, but still BMW thought they'd have a pop!

It was also the first BMW to be built in America - South Carolina to be exact. You'd think the famed Bavarian build quality would suffer (no offence if you're from the USA, but come on, we are talking about the Germans here) but it didn't, well not much anyway. It still made all the reassuring 'thunks' and 'clunks' that a Beemer should when you shut the doors etc, and it still felt solid and tough. Well done to the Carolina workforce there, you did BMW proud. We'll ignore the horrific interior plastics though, just this once.

Horrid plastic aside, it's not a bad place to be, if you can fit in it...

Based on the E36 platform (though it dropped the E36's multi-link rear suspension in favour of the older E30's semi-trailing arm set up) the Z3 had, on paper, good underpinnings from the off. That platform was originally designed for a much bigger car, but a car that still handled well. Dropping the light and minimal Z3 shell onto it should have made for automotive magic. It didn't though, the rabbit pulled from this particular hat didn't have much life to it! It wasn't sporty, it wasn't tight and it wasn't all that involving. Poor show BMW, poor show. Still, it had a great engine when it was launched, right? Er, no, sorry...

"We're on the road to nowhere..." so on and so forth

The engine in the first run of cars was, er, useless. It was like an engine in every way, apart from one thing: it was hideously slow. Coming in at 1.9 litres and kicking out a measly 139hp, it had to work hard to move even the little Z3. In a saloon car you wouldn't mind, but people wanted the Z3 to feel sporty and fast, something the 1.9l engine didn't deliver. Sadly that's what your £2000 is more than likely going to get you at the moment, though after 1997 a 2.8 straight six with 189hp was available which had more grunt and made a better noise and we've seen a few go for less than the all-important figure of £2000 - you're just going to have to search long and hard! There were bigger engined versions after the 2.8 too, including the Z3M with a 315hp 3.2 straight six, but there's no point talking about that one yet - £2000 might buy you the wheels and the fancy front bumper but that's about it. Oh, and '99 saw a 2.0 and a 2.5, though much like the Z3M, they're still on the high side of £2000...for now.

This is a Z3M. You can't afford it yet. Buy the wheels and stick them on your 1.9 though, by all means

BMW had set their sights on the all-impressive MX5 and with the Z3 they smashed themselves on the thumb with the hammer, rather than hitting the nail on the head. Still, even though it was grossly more expensive than the Mazda, it didn't seem to stop people from buying the Z3 in their droves. Though looking back there might have been another reason for that...

...it was only driven by (after being carefully and considerately placed in the movie some months prior to the car's launch so as to drum up interest and potential sales) James-chuffin-Bond in Goldeneye! It had rockets in the lights, gizmos in the dash and it could probably jump over the moon while outrunning a jet-fighter. James 'Brosnan' Bond saw to it that thousands of people bought one. Sadly though, they were slightly disappointed when they had no rockets, or gizmos, or the ability to go over 60mph in less than a week thanks to their 1.9 engine. Ah well, their loss.

Er, this isn't going as well as we thought it would. You're sitting there wondering why the hell you should buy one now, aren't you? Well, despite its failings the Z3 was still a blast. It looked great and it drove well, it was just nothing like a sports car. It handled adequately though, it just wasn't the most involving drive, but not everyone wants that, do they?

As we speak the used car market is filling up with these German beauties and for not -a-lot-of-cash you can have one too. Roll around in a BMW convertible of any kind and folk'll think it cost more than £2000, roll around in a two-seater Z3 and people'll think you're doing really rather well in life, despite the fact you live in a bedsit in Swanley and eat own-brand beans from the tin. Add some wheels and some slam into the mix too, and you'll be the coolest kid in town...

Okay, it's not fast and it doesn't handle too well, but so what? It drives just fine when not being driven on the limit and it still looks fantastic. You buy a Z3 to cruise around in, top down, system up, sun blazing. It's not a track day warrior, it's a country lane cruiser!

Yup, the once incredibly expensive and revered BMW Z3 is finally within our reach. If you want some classy, well-built (sort of) top-down motoring this summer for under £2000 you can't do much better! Just er, don't buy an automatic, honestly.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Toyota Celica...

We've covered some great cars on Not £2 Grand, there's no doubt about that. The question is, in terms of value for money have we ever featured anything as impressive as the Toyota Celica? Probably not...

The Celica we're looking at is the seventh generation car, or the T230 series to its friends. The first generation came about in 1970 and offered motorists a sporty four-seater, rear wheel drive car that looked fantastic. It was a hit from the start, remaining incredibly popular up until its (seventh generation) demise in 2006. Here's a terrible picture of three of those seven generations in action, sort of...

It's a good looking machine for your hard earned £2000 too, and a lot of machine at that. It impresses with its specification first and foremost, though the rear wheel drive aspect has been swapped in favour of front wheel drive, sadly. Still, there's a long list of other great automotive attributes which includes goodies such as...

Leather trim, 190bhp (if you get a T-Sport, 140bhp if not), fancy fuel injection, six-speed gearbox, contemporary looks, alloy wheels and other stuff like carpet and glass...

That's a lot of spec. The engine is the most impressive aspect though, as it uses Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVTi) which is a form of witchcraft and magic used to control the valves at varying engine speeds. According to Wikipedia "the VVT system is a 2-stage hydraulically controlled cam phasing system". Er, yes, quite. Basically it moves the cams and valve-timing around a bit so that you get solid power delivery across the rev-range. Or something. It's not exciting, but it is nice to have and it is reliable which is important when buying a car on a budget. Don't, however, explain the principles of VVTi to your friends. They won't be interested. Trust us, we tried while writing this and soon found we were alone...but still talking about VVTi.

I are in ur Toyotaz, timing ur valvz

Oooh, that was all a bit exciting wasn't it? Er no, you're right, it wasn't. Still, you know about VVTi now, sort of. You can thank N£2G for that! Anyway, moving along...

The selling point of the Celica as far as we're concerned is the look of it. That is one slick, streamlined and sexy looking car. It's low-slung and it's got pointy bits amongst other attributes, and we like pointy bits. Crucially though, it looks modern - you really could imagine this sitting in a showroom today without looking too out of place. That's why it fits in with the N£2G ethos so well - no one would suspect you coughed up less than £2k for one of these!

Look, I'm in the countryside, with fields, rah!

Inside there is, as we mentioned earlier, some leather, four seats* and some electric things that go 'ping' whenever they feel like it. A word of warning though: when you're inside a Celica try and focus on the drive. If you try and focus on the interior itself you'll soon fall asleep because it's one incredibly dull place to be. An odd juxtaposition when you consider the exciting external aesthetic. Don't believe us? Think we're being too harsh on the Celica's innards? Fine, we'll show you...


We can forgive it of its mind-numbingly dull innards though, mainly because it's modern, a hoot to drive, more reliable than a Swiss watch and it looks pretty damn good. It's like a sexy Corolla or something, maybe. Look, we've been drinking, we're not sure what we're on about, though we are now thinking about Corollas..NO! STOP THAT!

The interior is also forgiven on the basis that the chassis is brilliant. Find yourself on a decent ribbon of B-road bliss and you'll no longer be drifting into a 'holy shit, that dashboard is dull' coma. Nope, you'll be brimming with enjoyment and you work the 1.8VVTi engine and six-speed 'box to get the most out of one of the best chassis to be crafted by Toyota's army of robots. It's firm, well footed and fills the driver with a feeling of being planted while still hanging onto a bit of enjoyment and excitement - it's the perfect balance of safety and fun for any self-respecting B-road warrior!

Tempted by all of this? Well, we best put our money where our mouth is, so to speak...

So, there you go, the seventh generation Toyota Celica. Yes, you can get earlier generations for even less money, but that's not the point. Plus, the earlier ones (apart from the 70s cars) were all hideous - they looked like whoopy cushions with wheels. The seventh generation is the one to go for. It'll never break down and it'll always look great, unless you dick about with it...

...though be warned, if you do mess one up like the atrocity above we'll be left with no choice but send the boys around to hit you in the face with a copy of our 988 page book entitled 'Car designers know what they're doing, a man from Bromley with a £50 Halfords voucher does not know better'. It's a great read...if you like fictitious books.

*It's a four seater be definition. However, if you plan to put an actual human being on the back seats you're going to need a pry bar, some Vaseline and a lot of force. The back seat is better used as a glorified shelf to be honest, not a space for people.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Alfa Romeo 166...

It's no secret that we like an Alfa Romeo here at Not £2 Grand, after all one of our first ever updates was all about the delightful, beautiful and all-round trouser-twitchingly good Spider. Yes, we love an Alfa.

It could be considered bad form to go for another Alfa, after all we've only been around for six months and there's a whole world of cheap cars out there just waiting for the N2G treatment. Well, we're sorry, and we'll get onto those other cars, but before that we just had to do another Alfa, there was just no way we could wait! The car in question is not just any old Alfa, though. A 156, 155 or 147? No way, we're all about the 166 today because it's chuffin' gorgeous!

Yes, I am bloody sexy aren't I? It's okay, you can drool

Oh yeah, it's a looker. Born in 1998 the 166 was Alfa's missile to be launched into the German-dominated executive car warzone and it initially had the big three (BMW, Audi and Benz) worried. Well, it actually only had them worried for about three minutes because it was on during third minute that the first 166 broke down, probably with for reason other than 'it wanted to'. Handsome it may have been, reliable it was not. Face-palms all round for the team back at Alfa HQ.

What? No, I've not broken down, I'm just having a look down here...look at those, er, railings. Oooh, is that an AA truck?

As is the way with many Italian things the design had come paramount, leaving every ergonomic aspect to come in a very distant second. The mechanicals left a lot to be desired while the electrics left you with a good reason to carry a fire extinguisher with you at all times. Head gastes were a common fault, as were the seemingly chocolate internals of the gearbox. It wasn't a complete catastrophe though and a few cars managed to make it into the always gentle (pfft) hands of the motoring press. You'd think a car with build quality to rival that of an IKEA desk your mum put together while drunk would have upset the journos considerably, but you'd be wrong - they loved it.

Yes, they made valid and honest comments about the fact that for no reason at all the doors would fall off, or that Alfredo had neglected to bolt the dashboard in, but that didn't detract from the overall joy the car brought to its driver. For its size (and it was a bit of a big bugger at 3300lb) it was agile, responsive, tight and above all thoroughly enjoyable to pilot - and that's just in lowly 2.0 16v guise. Should you find yourself behind the wheel of a V6 you'll be more than impressed thanks to near 220bhp and 203lbft of torque under your right foot, unless the accelerator pedal snaps off, which is an entirely feasible premise. But again, if it did break down it wouldn't be a problem - you'd just get the opportunity to open the bonnet and look at this...

Now that's a good looking lump of probably broken down metal

It was similar affair on the inside too, with all kinds of toys at the driver's disposal such as sat-nav, air-con, cruise, electric everything and so on. The Leather seats were pretty special too - not content with just leather, the box-tickers at Alfa plumped for MOMO leather which is just the same as normal leather but 342% cooler, because it's Italian.

None of this works. Looks pretty though

So, the 166 breaks down a lot and despite the best efforts of Alfa bosses it was trounced with some gusto by the German cars it so passionately tried to rival. With that in mind, why should you buy one? Well, it's simple really: it's an Alfa Romeo and nothing makes you feel quite like an Alfa does. A rival car of the same age and spec would be an E39 BMW, an Audi A6 or a Mercedes E-class. That sounds good until you look at them. They look dated, old and they lack any kind of presence and charm - they're just another addition to a sea of generic cars buzzing around the UK's roads. A 166 on the other hand looks classic, smooth, stylish and different - it's simply a car that is noticed because it looks like nothing else on the road. Why should you have to blend in with normality because of your £2000 budget, eh? Buy an Alfa 166 and stand out!

The failings of Alfa have become the winnings for the car-lover on a budget. The 166 is no longer a failure, it's a success. Its nine year life makes it incredibly exclusive and while they were well and truly plagued by reliability issues initially, that's no longer of concern -they have all been repaired under warranty since then. The 166s on the market now are the elite, the survivors, the cars that rode the wave of unreliability and unpopularity only to come out as stylish victors, and for not a lot of money they can now be yours. Though if this happens...

...you can't say we didn't warn you!

Still not convinced? Well, please allow us to leave you in the capable hands of a car-bloke you might know of...

...oh, and do us a favour if you do buy one, make sure it's a V6.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

We work on phones now...

...well, we work on smartphones, whatever they are. We won't work on a phone-box, or on that red phone the President uses to order nuclear strikes. Or a Nokia 3110.

Head to the normal www.not2grand.blogspot.com on your iBerryPhone and enjoy Not £2 Grand on the move. Oooh, how very modern!

Oh, and yes, we know we're rubbish at photoshop.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Renault Vel Satis...


That's a bit sexy, isn't it? Then again, it is French and when they go all out and pen a concept car they normally don't mess about. There's something in the French blood, there just has to be. No one else makes concepts quite like the French do - they try, granted, but the other manufacturers just fail. The phrase je ne sais quoi really has never been so apt because we really don't know what it is when it comes to French style. All we know is that it's out there, making other cars look rubbish. Strangely though, over here in Blighty that French eccentricity has been ignored, forcing the road-car spawned by the above concept to fall into the realms of the unloved, unknown and unappreciated. Until now, that is!

Ooh la la, so on and so forth...

Okay, so it's lacking a bit of the concept's 'oof' factor, but it's not half bad. No, you put that eyebrow down, stop being so bloody conservative, this car is funky, fun, stylish and different. Nobody has ever said "Wow, I love your Vectra, please make frantic love to me right this instant." No one. We can't confirm if this has happened to Vel Satis owners either, but the chance of it happening is significantly higher, we know that!

Just look at it, it's fan-bloody-tastic. It makes your brain do a wobble when you think that the same country that spawned this beauty also made the Peugeot 405, so try not to. Instead focus on the charming eccentricity of the Vel Satis, the bravery of its design, the odd curve of its pronounced rump, the sticky-uppy tall headlight arrangement - just enjoy all it has to offer. Cars should be an extension of yourself and your personality, so if you drive a Volvo 440 you're in trouble. Buy one of these though and people will think you drink fine wine while engaging people with hilarious anecdotes of that time you were in Stockholm with Serge. They'll think you're stylish and in tune with modern trends, they'll think you're funky, brave and exciting and that's nice. The fact that in reality you eat Spam sarnies and watch Red Dwarf while wearing your 'Superted' pants isn't a fact you need to share. We don't do that by the way, honest, er, MOVING ON!

Oooooh, look at me bum! It might say, if it was from Rotherham, maybe

Now we know what you're thinking (you want a Spam sarnie, don't you?), you're thinking that it's all very well us waxing lyrical about the Vel Satis, but in reality it's probably all style and no substance, right? Well, you're wrong. In fact, the Vel Satis was a damn good car under all those unconventional curves. Based on the Laguna and Espace, it was more than capable although the ride was considered to be a bit harsh by some standards. In reality though, it's not a ride you'd struggle to live with, merely one that maybe could have been a bit better.

Engine wise there was a 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged 2.0-litre, a Nissan 24-valve, 3.5-litre V6 (not really sure how that happened), a 4-cylinder, 16-valve, 2.2-litre direct-injection turbodiesel and also an Isuzu 24-valve 3.0-litre direct-injection turbodiesel, though we wouldn't bother with the last one. It's a bit of a taxi-engine. Something for all markets really, well, all markets happy with a car over 2.0 that is.

Inside was awash with (if you got a high-end one) leather and pseudo wood as well as electronic things which would eventually expire for no rational reason (it's the French way). There's a sea of light spilling into the Vel Satis too, thanks to the huge expanse of glass, though the C-pillar is a bit of chunky number but that doesn't matter too much with that curved rear window. It's just a nice, albeit very French place to be.

Okay, look we get it. You're not convinced are you? Well, allow us to show you this car's party piece...

Yup, she's a tough old bird. A EuroNCAP five star tough old bird actually, making this car one of the toughest and safest you can buy. For under £2000? Well, it might just be THE safest car you can buy and lets face it, why should the safety of you and your family have to suffer because of your budget?

It might not be for everyone, and it might be a little bit too quirky for some but if you ask us the Vel Satis is a great looking car with a lot going for it, especially the fact that you can get an 8 year-old example for under £2k! It's modern, it's funky and it's cheap - all solid and 'must have' credentials for a Not £2 Grand candidate. And lets face it, the French have brought some good things into our lives like fine wine, tasty cheese, Boursin, stripes, sexy accents and of course...

Oh come on, you knew we had to get this in somewhere, no matter how tenuous the link

The Vel Satis is dead now, killed off by poor sales and a general lack of love, and that's wrong. We should celebrate it, so buy one, enjoy it and come the first time you find the words "Vel Satis" rolling off your tongue bringing with them a smug smile, rather than "Vectra" which will only make you cry, you can thank us.

Driving and staying safe needn't be hum-drum - buy a Vel Satis and turn some heads!