Buying a new small petrol automatic - what are the options?

I'm after some help in choosing a small, petrol, automatic car to replace my ageing 2005 Vectra SRI CDTi 150 (98,500 miles).

My daily commute is a 60 mile round trip on A roads / motorways and I do short runs at weekends and the occasional long journey. I would prefer a car that is enjoyable to drive - either as a result of its performance or its character - and I'd like to move away from diesel as I don't like the increasing complexity of the engines. It has to be automatic or DSG as I only have one arm.

So far I've narrowed it down to two Skoda Fabia Hatchbacks - either the vRS (performance) or the 1.2 TSI Elegance (cheaper costs) - as they seems to meet my criteria, particularly with the current 20% deal Skoda are doing that mean I could buy new. An outsider is the Volkswagen High Up, but I'm not sure how this copes on motorways?

I've discounted other cars as too expensive (e.g. Fiesta/Clio), or only having 4 speed gearboxes (e.g Kia Rio/Suzuki Swift), but is there anything else I should be considering?

My budget (including trade in) is around £15,000 I'd prefer to buy new but would consider nearly new for the right car. I'd be looking to keep it for at least 5 years.

Asked on 13 June 2013 by Mike74Dear

Answered by Honest John
Problems with engines of vRS. See the entry in www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar I'd generally steer clear of 1.4 Twinchargers in the Ibiza and Polo as well. The 1.2TSI 105 DSG makes more sense. The automated manual in the Up is pretty awful. I'd also consider a Mazda 2 1.5 Activmatic. That's traditional 4 speed automatic and great fun.
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