"Sweet spot" for buying used cars?

Found 17th Jun 2007
Hey guys, are there any car enthusiasts out there who know the "sweet spot" in terms of age to buy a used car? I heard about 3 years was a good trade off between the price having dropped enough but the car still having plenty of life in it yet.

Anyone know any different? Also any recommendations for a first time car for my girlfriend? I'm thinking along the lines of a peugot 106/renault clio/volkswagen lupo/fiat panda/honda jazz.
Community Updates
Most cars with a small engine is cheap (if you can call it that!) to insure.

I think the age to get the bargains is between 3-5 years when most cars have lost most of there new value.
2.5 - 3 years is when the premium for owning a newer car becomes negligable.

I think that some smaller used cars are poorer value than larger used cars because there is a constant demand for small cars - although this makes the retained value better. What I am talking about is for example, a Ford Mondeo 2.0 is often cheaper than a 2.0 Focus; or a 2.0 Vectra is often cheaper than an Astra.
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