I'm a firm believer that you don't have to spend big bucks to have fun in a car. In fact, cars can be more fun if you haven't spent silly amounts of money on them. Over the last few days I've been making the most of the snow by grabbing any opportunity to find an empty car park and enjoy losing grip in my old Focus. While I'm sure skillfully sliding £50,000 worth of rear-wheel-drive sports car around a car park would make you giggle like a schoolgirl, you'd be very worried about sliding gracefully into a bollard or kerb.

So, while this post isn't necessarily about having fun in the snow, I thought I'd gather together five cars you can pick up for around £1500 for pure and simple motoring pleasure. Sticking to the theme of fun on a budget - none are particularly expensive to insure or will break the bank when it comes to MOT time.

Ford Puma

Pumas are dirt cheap at the moment, with a great deal of choice at half our set budget. The issue's finding one without crusty rear arches. I set my Twitter followers a challenge earlier today of finding me one without bubbling arches (it's harder than you'd think) and @callummaclean91 suggested this tidy looking 1.7 for £800. While there are cheaper ones out there it's worth paying an extra few quid for one that's been looked after, and this one's got low mileage and plenty of MOT.

1.7s like this one have the fun factor by the bucket load. Based on the Fiesta but fitted with a 125 bhp Zetec S engine the Puma will provide many smiles per mile without costing a fortune, achieving 38 mpg (if you resist the temptation to drive it like a go kart).

As with all cars at this price it's a good idea to check the history - making sure the cam belt has been changed every five years or 80,000 miles. Personally I don't think full service history is essential on cars this cheap, but check the oil and if the tyres are showing uneven tyre wear it could be a sign of expensive suspension problems.
Mazda MX-5

If you're willing to ignore the hairdresser jibes, it's impossible to have more fun on a budget than a Mazda MX-5. What's not to like about a rear-wheel-drive two-seater convertible combined with Japanese reliability?

This is the perfect time of year to buy one with plenty of choice of  UK spec facelift 1.8s available for our budget. Although this one is over our budget (I couldn't resist), everything about it seems so right and, if you turned up at the garage on a snowy day like today with £1500 cash, I don't think you'd be laughed away.
Suzuki Ignis Sport

Introduced in 2003 as a way of entering Suzuki into the Junior World Rally Championship, the 1.5 Ignis is the ideal back-to-basics B-road tool.

They're far from perfect but they're cheap and fun, which is good enough for me. Admittedly finding one for less than £1500 isn't easy but there are a few out there.

I'd stretch the budget by a mere £95 and go for this one. The silver paint tones down the body kit and is less in your face than some of the garish red or yellow ones out there.
MG ZS 180

Yes, they're a little chavvy and some people wouldn't touch an MG with a bargepole, but the idea of what is essentially a Rover 45 with a stiffer suspension, a bodykit and a 2.5 KV6 engine appeals to me.

There are plenty around within our budget - I've even seen a few at less than £600 recently. I'd get the best that you could afford and try to avoid any that may have been thrashed (nasty modifications such as Lexus lights are a good indication of a boy racer owner).

I prefer the saloon to the hatchback (the boot is massive), and British Racing Green is essential in my view, which is why I'd go for this one - not to mention the low mileage and long MOT.
Suzuki Grand Vitara

My list wouldn't be complete without at least one cheap 4x4 for exploring the unsurfaced rights of way that the UK has to offer. While I was tempted to suggest an old Freelander (I had one and loved it), realistically a Grand Vitara is a much better option.

I'd be after a three-door with the 1.6 petrol engine - it won't be fast but it's not a bad little engine and the safest bet at our price range. This one would do nicely.
What would you go for?

The chances are we'd all spend £1500 in different ways. I like reliable cars which is why my list sways away from classics and has more than its fair share of Japanese metal. What would you buy? Comment below or tweet me @TheAndrewBrady. Here's what people on Twitter are saying:

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