Hope to pick up a sharp and stylish two-door for a sharp price
Coupes are cool. They are escapist cars for people who want to get away from the stuffiness of saloons or SUVs. Their owners have no need to think about space for pushchairs and ISOFIX seats, and want the head-turning good looks and low-slung style to shout about this.
But while you can spend a small fortune chasing this idealist dream, there’s really no need to spend so much. For less than £5,000, you can get a great-looking coupe that has all the glamour of newer, dearer alternatives, but little of the expense. Here are five of our favourites.
1. BMW 3 Series Coupé
Top of the pile is the BMW 3 Series Coupe. This sporty rear-wheel drive model oozes class, with a fantastic chassis that gives it the driving thrills to back up its cultured appeal. It’s a cracking car across a twisty back road and if the in-town ride is a little firm as a result, this is a small price to pay for such sharp steering and balance. Being derived from the 3 Series saloon means it’s pretty spacious for a coupe too, and there’s a broad range of engines and trim options.
We spotted: 2008 320i SE (81,000 miles), £5000
2. Honda CR-Z
We love the Honda CR-Z because it’s unlike any other coupe. It’s a petrol-electric hybrid, with a sporty 1.5-litre engine backed up by a punchy electric motor, delivering surprising performance and very good fuel economy. It looks unlike any other coupe on the road, and the interior is equally swoopy and low-slung. Honda reliability also means there’s no risk of any ownership headaches because of all this tech: it’s a very safe used car buy.
We spotted: 2011 1.5 (54,000 miles), £4995
3. Audi TT
You can’t quite get a second-generation TT for £5,000, but you can get a brilliant first-generation model. For design purists, this is the one to have, anyway: it looks iconic and the interior is equally appealing. You’ll get a punchy 1.8-litre turbo engine and most of them have quattro four-wheel drive for sporty, secure handling. A really special car to look at and sit in, this is a future classic that you can buy safe in the knowledge you’re driving a potential collectable legend.
We spotted: 2005 1.8T (75,000 miles), £4995
4. Toyota Celica
The sharp, edgy Japanese coupe is a car that’s as good to drive as it is to look at. The highlight is the high-revving engine, which delivers exceptional thrills at high revs, controlled by a crisp gearbox and sharp steering. The seating position is low-slung and it’s reasonably practical, with light controls making it easy to drive. It’s also exceedingly reliable and another future collectable classic in our list.
We spotted: 2005 1.8 VVT L-I T Sport (50,000 miles), £4999
5. Volvo C30
Is the Volvo C30 a genuine coupe? Some aren’t sure, but everyone can agree it’s a great-looking car that pays more than a passing nod to the classic 1970s P1800ES and oddball 1980s 480ES. Inside, you sit low, within a stylish interior, and there’s a broad range of engines for all budgets – you can get smaller petrol engines and fuel-efficient diesels, although racier drivers will only have eyes for the charismatic 230bhp 2.3-litre five-cylinder model, which has an offbeat engine note to match the leftfield looks.
We spotted: 2010 2.0 D R-Design (87,000 miles), £5000