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In these difficult times steer clear of these cars; Second hand news In association with usedcarexpert.com.

Byline: By Matt Tunbridge

IT'S a buyer's market right now, isn't it? At least that's what people keep telling me. The credit crunch means dealers are desperate to sell cars and slashing prices.

Only that's not necessarily true.

Some cars, yes, are dramatically dropping in value; luxury cars and big 4x4s are definitely under pressure. But there are lots of cars where the prices haven't moved for months.

Sadly, these are the older small and family cars most likely to be bought by people on a budget.

There is a good chance that the average punter on the street could get ripped off, paying a premium for a car that is anything but. So here, for one week only, are three cars NOT to buy.

Citroen Saxo - It is a pretty little car that was rightly popular in its day.

But is too easy to break into and not brilliantly built.

Most economical: 1.5D

Worst used buy: 1.6 VTR

Used Car Expert checks: 17

Used Car Expert guide price: A 1.6 petrol from 2003 with average miles of 45,000 will cost pounds 2,900-pounds 3,924.

You can have the much better C2 for pounds 800 more.

Citroen Xsara - Complicated engineering and tired interior design should have consigned this car to the "banger" bin. But instead, because of the popularity of the excellent Xsara Picasso people mover, it retains high asking prices.

Most economical: 2.0 Hdi

Worst used buy: 2.0 Hdi

Used Car Expert checks: 20

Used Car Expert guide price: A Citroen Xsara from 2004 with average mileage of 38,000 miles, it will cost pounds 4,800-pounds 6,000.

You can buy the much better Ford Focus for less.

Fiat Marea - A practical, if plain, estate car. Not the best built car in its class, but not unreliable as such.

By now it should be bargain transport, but prices are still too firm.

Most economical: 1.9 JTD

Worst used buy: 1.6 SX

Used Car Expert checks: 13

Used Car Expert guide price: A 1.6-litre petrol from 2001 should be cheap but, with average mileage of 40,000 miles, it will cost pounds 1,700-pounds 2,200.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 5, 2008
Words:367
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