Nostaligia ain’t what it used to be, or so the saying goes. Some of us at CT are old, jaded hacks who shout at clouds, and we can be guilty of looking of looking back a bit too much. The times are changing fast and leaving some of the things we loved behind, but as 2019 draws to a close the bigger picture is actually much rosier than some people think.
Let’s start in our beloved past, where everything is what we know and how we know it. Cars without zealous electronic nannies and with revvy, fun-filled engines were rich in supply and depths of talent. Most are no longer on sale, usurped by new models that are more efficient in a prescribed pattern of use, but why should this be a sad moment? It means the cars we used to adore are becoming affordable used buys.
This year the stupendously good second-generation Suzuki Swift Sport has dropped down to as little as £2500. You can get an early Toyota GT86 for less than £8000. Auto Trader is dripping with NC Mazda MX-5s for less than £3000. For hot hatchers there’s the option of the supple and rewarding FN2 Honda Civic Type R for around £3000, the Renault Sport Clio 197 for not much over £2000 and tidy MkV Golf GTIs for less than £3000.
These are golden-era affordable drivers’ cars, so the time has never been better to experience them. Why not make a new year’s resolution to buy one and tick it off your list? Hell, you could even change it after six months for a different one, if you like. For the sake a few hundred quid lost here or there, life’s too short. Do it before it’s too late.
Step forward into solid 2019 again. This has been the year that the Toyota Supra finally reappeared on our streets to give chiropractors a welcome boost, thanks to all the self-inflicted whiplash injuries from people spinning their heads to gawp at it. We’ve seen new heights of driver engagement from Porsche with the Cayman GT4 and its flat-six, elevating it so far above the aurally disappointing 718 series.
Ferrari is making genuinely beautiful cars again, the new Focus ST is excellent, there’s a promise of a four-wheel drive Toyota Yaris GR4 and you can still buy a silly Abarth 500 with almost nothing to praise except for the fact you seem to love it anyway. There’s a rich vein of petrolhead form still in evidence today. If you want to buy something interesting and new, you absolutely can.
This year the rush towards electric has stepped up a gear with launches of comparatively affordable BEVs from Hyundai and Kia, from Tesla and from Audi, not to mention the eagerly-anticipated Honda e. These normal-looking options don’t mark you out as a weirdo like bizarrely-pencilled early BEVs, and simply do a great job. If you haven’t tried a BEV daily, try to borrow one or take a test drive.
The quietness, the smoothness and the new-found range of the latest models is a secretly addictive recipe for stress-free commuting. We’re fans, at least for the boring weekday business of getting around.
So 2019 has brought us laughable riches in terms of affordable and exciting used cars, a pantheon of new heroes to steal away column inches and a growing list of cars that really can add a cosy glow to your everyday biffing about. Wake up to the possibilities of right now, and enjoy them. Here’s to 2020.