£500 Chal­lenge

Which one would we keep?

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

DAVID SIMISTER ED­I­TOR

❚ 1996 MERCEDES-BENZ S280 As much as I love our Puma I’d spend a bit more than our £500 bud­get to buy a 1.7-litre model, and also get one in bet­ter con­di­tion. The S-class has its lit­tle faults, but for a car that ri­vals a brand-new Mercedes for re­fine­ment, it’s as­ton­ish­ingly good value.

JAMES SADLIER MAN­AG­ING ED­I­TOR

❚ 2000 FORD PUMA For me it’s the Puma – the ZR and S-class never stood a chance. Although the drive of the Mercedes is lux­u­ri­ous in com­par­i­son to the oth­ers, the fuel econ­omy is shock­ingly bad. As for the MG ZR, show me one that can corner with­out feel­ing like I’m go­ing to die, then I might be per­suaded to change my mind…

MIKE LE CAPLAIN PRO­DUC­TION ED­I­TOR

❚ 1996 MERCEDES-BENZ S280 It’s the Mercedes for me. I can still re­mem­ber read­ing CCW’s first re­port on it, slack-jawed with amaze­ment that so much Ger­manic qual­ity could be had for so lit­tle money.

MUR­RAY SCUL­LION NEWS ED­I­TOR

❚ 1996 MERCEDES-BENZ S280 It’s classy, a phe­nom­e­nal mile-mucher, and the in­te­rior’s di­vine – I en­joy that it’s not black leather – and, if truth be told, I find the other two £500 Chal­lenge cars rather dull, though the MG is the most un­ex­cit­ing of the two, by a sub­stan­tial mar­gin.

CHRIS HOPE FEA­TURES ED­I­TOR

❚ 2003 MG ZR I’ve still not had a chance to drive the Merc yet and the Puma has its is­sues, so that leaves the MG. It’s taken every­thing that’s been thrown at it and han­dled it all with aplomb. To my eyes, it’s eas­ily the most re­li­able, which is why it gets my vote.

NICK LARKIN ED­I­TOR AT LARGE

❚ 2003 MG ZR No need to think – it was me who pressed for and col­lected our MG ZR. It’s done a ster­ling year’s work and re­mained a joy to drive and even to look at. What a car!

RICHARD KIL­PATRICK PROD­UCTS ED­I­TOR

❚ 2000 FORD PUMA At this bud­get there’s just one keeper. Re­li­able, fun and af­ford­able, the Puma can be en­joyed any­where, on the small­est out­lay, evok­ing the di­verse tech­nol­ogy and style of its era.

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