The Sunderland built Nissan Micra has been awarded the inaugural Warranty Direct Used Car of the Year title - the first ever accolade based exclusively on the cost of keeping your car on the road.

Experts at Warranty Direct, the leading independent automotive warranty provider, made the award after scrutinising the reliability, repair bills, parts costs, labour rates and annual service charges of four-year-old vehicles (either Y or 51 plate models) with an average of 40,000 miles on the clock.

"The old shape Micra ticks all the boxes and is a great example of how British manufacturing and overseas investment can really work together," explained Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct. "It’s cheap to maintain, even if something should go wrong - which is a very rare occurrence."

The UKs biggest selling model, the original Ford Focus, received the Best Family Car accolade thanks to low service (average £169), parts and repair costs (ave. £134.97), sensible labour rates (ave. £50) and good reliability.

Other category winners included the Vauxhall Zafira in the ever-popular Compact-MPV category; the Swindon built Honda CR-V in the fashionable SUV class and the Mercedes-Benz E Class in the aspirational executive category.

Whilst Mazda’s MX-5 two-seater costs an average of £301 for its annual service, bullet-proof reliability easily make it the cheapest used sportscar to maintain on the market today.

"All the cars named, excel in terms of maintenance costs," added McClure Fisher. "Admittedly a car purchase will always involve an element of the subjective, but if you had to buy purely on economics, then these are the vehicles that’ll be the easiest on the pocket."

Published : 09/03/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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