Vauxhall CorsaDemand for cars under the magic £1,000 mark is increasing as drivers seek to cut costs by trading down to smaller, cheaper motors or for use as a first car.

And with young drivers facing nearly twice this figure to get insured, the cost of the car has never been more important.

This means it is a great time to sell your bargain car if you’re an experienced driver and able to put more of the motoring budget towards a better set of wheels.

Our most wanted list details the 10 most popular cars first time buyers and bargain hunters are looking for, based on the millions of searches carried out on Auto Trader every month.

Vauxhall Corsa MkI – 5,049 daily searches under £1,000
Stayed in production for 1993 to 2000. A sturdy little car with very reliable engines with the best choices including the super economical Suzuki supplied 57bhp 1-litre 12-valve, the 74bhp 1.2-litre 16-valve, and the 49 and 66bhp 1.5 Isuzu diesels.

Down sides are that the car is not the most involving to drive and all Corsas are prone to front suspension wear which is evident if you push on the front corners and the car bounces on its springs.

Auto Trader owner review by RichardM from Abercarn reported: “This car is perfect for someone who wants a reliable cheap run-around. It is also very cheap to insure in comparison to newer cars.”

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Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta Mk3 – 3,771 daily searches under £1,000
Produced 1989 to 1995 this is the icon of the small car market which explains why Ford have clung onto the model name for nearly 35 years. The Mk3 boasted a wide variety of engine options from the 45bhp 1-litre right up to the 110bhp XR2i or even the rare 133bhp RS Turbo.

But the smaller pre-catalytic converter models are the ones to go for cheap running costs but keep a keen eye out for rust which did blight this model.

Auto Trader owner review by ArthurS from Stanford-le-Hope “I bought the car with 70000 miles on clock I have driven 55,000 miles since I bought it and it still runs great. Only problem with car is rust. Best car I have ever bought.”

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Ford FocusFord Focus MkI – 3,224 daily searches under £1,000
Built between 1998 and 2004 this rapidly became one of the top sellers thanks to ground breaking modern design, interior space and ride quality. A big used buy attraction is the galvanised steel body so rust should not be an issue. Engine popular choices were a 74bhp 1.4-litre, then a 99bhp 1.6-litre 16-valve Zetec and a 113bhp 1.8-litre.

Very few reliability problems beyond the sub-Zetec 1.6-litre models feel under powered and the aging 1.9-litre Endura diesel with vulnerable fuel pump, check it’s not running too hot, and cam-drive belts which should not be showing signs of wear.

Auto trader owner review by JohnW from South Croydon  said: “My X-reg Focus is comfortable, quiet, fantastic on long journeys and has not let me down once in over 53,000 miles without doubt one of the best cars I have owned.”

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Renault ClioRenault Clio MkII – 3,049 daily searches under £1,000
Ran from 1998 to 2001 this stylish little city runner became a firm favourite with style conscious motorists. Well equipped and first super mini with 4-star NCAP safety rating, the Clio best sellers included a 60bhp 1.1-litre, a 75bhp 1.4-litre overhead cam and a65bhp 1.9-litre diesel.

Main niggles were related to build quality with frayed seats, rattling sunroofs and various engine problems which should be noticeable with misfiring or mechanical noise.

Auto Trader owner review by JamesB from Wantage reported: “The only problem I’ve had was with the wiring loom, it caused an electrical problem because of the mental bracket that’s been stupidly placed on top of the wire itself, which gets cut into.”

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Peugeot 206Peugeot 206 – 3,022 daily searches under £1,000
Built between 1998 and 2006, this had a hard act to follow in the shape of the 205 but won over fans with its good looks and economy. Popular engine options included the 60bhp 1.1-litre, a 75bhp 1.4-litre and a 90bhp 1.6-litre.

Reliability plagued this model with various engine and electrical issues depending on engine type plus persistent automatic gearbox problems due to management systems. Be sure there are now rogue warning lights shining.

Auto Trader owner review by RuthW of Portsmouth  said: “It’s a lovely car to drive. I’ve had it from new, fuel economy is a bit rubbish. Nice extras like alloys and fuel cap cover and a/c on the Verve model.”

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Vauxhall Astra MkIV – 2,971 daily searches under £1,000
SajidM of Rochdale: “I have never had any problems with this car it gave me a very good service and the drive is awesome. Never let me down.”

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Volkswagen Golf MkIV – 2,920 daily searches under £1,000
JamesP from Harrogate: “I have had my golf for four years, used every day mainly for commuting and looks and feels like new.”

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Ford Ka MkI – 2,762 daily searches under £1,000
MichelleM of Cardiff: “This car is a wicked little drive around for a first time driver. Only downside I would say is brakes are a bit rotten – like a POTATO!”

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Volkswagen Polo MkIII – 2,375 daily searches under £1,000
PeterS from Blandford Forum: “Fantastic car, good value for money. It drives superbly and great for doing the school run. I would recommend this car to all users young and old.”

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Fiat Punto MkII – 2,026 daily searches under £1,000
MattS of Tunbridge Wells:Nice to drive in towns and cities – hates hills, though (except when going down!) Pretty spacious considering its size.”

Find a used Fiat Punto | What owners think | Write a review | Sell your Fiat Punto

By Paul Myles, contributor

*daily number of searches is based on average number of searches for each car over the period of March – July 2011
*Daily supply of cars is based on a representative number of cars listed on Auto trader on a typical day, in this case 27/07/2011