Can you recommend a used car for my aunt and uncle for under £5500?

I am writing on behalf of my aunt and uncle who are looking to buy a used car. They would like something that would be reliable and powerful enough to keep up with modern traffic. They would prefer to spend between £3000 and £5500. The car would only cover around 4000 miles a year, so I advised them to buy a newer car with a higher mileage because even after five years of ownership it would only have an extra 20,000 miles. I was looking at the Volvo S40, BMW 3 Series, Vauxhall Vectra and Honda Accord. I think petrol would be the correct fuel due to the car being used mainly for short journeys. Your thoughts on any cars that you would advise would be greatly appreciated.

Asked on 12 October 2013 by RK, via email

Answered by Honest John
A Mazda 3 is a good bet because all the petrol engines are chain cam and they have a very impressive reliability record in Germany, where they have been top of their class for years. A Honda Accord is a bit big. A Honda Civic 1.8iSE would make more sense because even though they are 1.8 litres they can do up to 45mpg. They are also chain cam.
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