We have a 1993 Fiat Uno with 81,000 miles on the clock. It looks a bit old and worn but is excellent to drive. My wife wants something smarter but I am wary of buying a computer on wheels and would prefer a car that is at least 15 years old. Is it possible to still find a simple basic car either new or slightly less old than the Uno?
Asked by Roger Armstrong
The 2009/10 scrappage scheme under which car buyers were given £2000 off the price of a new car if they scrapped a car over 10 years old ensured that there are fewer contenders for your cash than there might have been – but there are still many older cars for sale.
Since the switch to unleaded petrol in 1992 all cars have been fuel injected so everything you buy will to some extent be a ‘computer on wheels’. Bear in mind too that electronics have brought huge benefits in terms of reliability, fuel economy and possibly most important of all, safety. Active safety systems like ABS and ESC will help keep you out of trouble while airbags and other active restraint systems will better protect you in a crash.
Modern cars are also structurally much safer. The hugely influential Euro NCAP crash test programme started in 1997 when the average car scored only around two stars. Today most cars offer five-star protection despite the fact that the tests themselves have become much more demanding.