Advice on a future used car purchase - b80


Looking for some insight from you guys for my next car purchase.

I did consider buying another car last year, but after suffering 'paralysis through analysis' decided to stick with my 07 plate GTD Golf (no-dpf).

Sadly the Golf's electrics/central locking is playing up and I'm concerned it may lead to a more serious, show stopping issue.

I'm caught in two minds whether to buy something roughly 10 years old - petrol, FSH, maybe 1 owner, a brand/model thats generally considered reliable or go for something like a 3 year old Auris (maybe a Civic) and keep it until it dies - I've always kept my cars a long time, better the devil you know! I like the looks of Toyota, Honda due to the perceived reliable with these brands. I only do 4 or 5k miles a year (rarely ever in over 30mph zones and normally bumper to bumper!) and this won't be our main family vehicle. We have one 8 month old and are planning another arrival in the next couple of years, so something like a small family hatch seems abour right to me.

My budget is up to 10k, but I don't want to spend more than I have to as we're looking to buy a bigger house in the next year or two and I'd rather use money to overpay on that than spend more than I have to on a car. Basically I'm looking for something that will work out the most economical 'investment' over time, even if it means a bigger initial outlay.

I like the sound of buying an old reliable brand and not being hit by depreciation, but as my car skills stretch to topping up oil and washer fluid, it may be risky/false economy compared with buying a Toyota thats still under warranty.

I like the look of having a reliable 3 year old 1.6 petrol Auris thats still under warranty - anything under 120BHP seems like it will be too sluggish for a car that size. Personally I like Golf's but I don't want to pay more for their badge and a1.4TSI engine that introduces a bit more risk with a turbo charged engine.

When looking at vehicles not spending much on an older one seems appealing as hear stories of people buying 10 year old cars for 2k and them lasting another 5 years with minimal expenditure - then you hear about other having to spend another 2k on them within months. Similar with 5 year old cars or newer, but then initial purchase is higher as well! This is the part where I get overloaded and don end up making a decision.What do you guys think is 'generally' the most cost effective way of motoring with the sort of cars I'm looking at?

Many thanks,look forward to your replies!

Advice on a future used car purchase - skidpan

I currently own a 2013 Seat Leon 1.4 TSi 140 which I am changing in March for a Skoda Superb with the 1.4 TSi 150 PS engine.

The VAG 1.4 TSi is an absolute peach, I cannot believe a better similar engine exists, that is why I am getting another car with the same engine.

My car is 4 years old in June and when it goes in PX in March will probably have about 27,000 miles on the clock. It has the Seat warranty until June 2018 and unlike many extended warranties the Seat one gives exactly the same cover for all 5 years.

Your budget of £10,000 would easily buy my car when it hits a forcourt and for your budget there would be no better car. I have driven petrol Civics, Auris, Focus (the 1.6 non-turbo one), Qashqai, Ceed (1.6 non-turbo) and they have one thing in common, the non-turbo engines are slugs and quite thirsty.

The Leon has averaged 45 mpg whilst I have owned it, have seen about 53 mpg on a long trip (real figures not from the dash).

If you search you should be able to locate one as good as mine local to where you live.

Advice on a future used car purchase - b80

I have heard good things about the 1.4 performance... acceleration is where you want it for real world driving. One of the reasons Ive held onto the golf, is the performance compared to non turbos that also around 140 bhp, but don't pull anywhere near as much as the golf.

Think I've bought into a lot of negativity about VAG cars being over priced and not great reliability wise.

Advice on a future used car purchase - skidpan

Think I've bought into a lot of negativity about VAG cars being over priced and not great reliability wise.

Since I bought the Leon its been to the garage a total of 3 times, each time was for a service. No additional visits and no additional work to the normal service requirements.

You cannot beat that.

No rattles, no niggling faults, just 100% reliability.

As for price when I bought the Leon it was £5000 less than the Golf with the same 1.4 TSI engine. So while I agree that the Golf was overpriced the same does not apply to the Leon. Same car, different badge. In many cases Audi's are better value than VW's.

The Leon was our 5th VAG car all of which have been more than satisfactory. Did 113,000 miles in one and it never let me down, that car has got just over 200,000 miles on the clock now and its 28 years old in May. Looks a bit tatty now but the current owner plan to restore it soon. The Superb will be our 6th VAG car.

This forum has many VAG haters most of which have never owned a VAG car.

Avant, the forum moderator has had several Skoda Octavia's and has been more than happy. He recently bought an Audi A1 for his wife so no VAG negativity there.

Advice on a future used car purchase - mss1tw

This forum has many VAG haters most of which have never owned a VAG car.

Plenty who have though. I don't hate VAG but I do hate the needless design faults. (2002 Toledo TDi in my case, years ago) Great car ruined by uncurable water leak. After trying a new windscreen, and resealing the pollen filter housing, I got rid and have no interest in VAG now, when other perfectly good quality manufacturers are available As a tradesmen I perfectly understand you're only as good as your last job (In this case, vehicle)
Advice on a future used car purchase - madf

This forum has many VAG haters most of which have never owned a VAG car.

I bought a 2 year old 1999 Audi A4 under Audi warranty.

In two years I had:

2 new front suspension uprights

new catalyst

new timing belt and tensioner

new battery

top hose detaching on motorway at 70mph after a service

. It was the most unreliable car I have ever owned.

I have never owned another VAG car and went Japanese with exemplary reliability.

Advice on a future used car purchase - SLO76
Best option for longterm reliability would be a normally aspirated Japanese model such as the Honda Civic 1.8, Mazda 3 1.6 or Toyota Auris 1.6. They're all pretty much bulletproof and all will exceed 40mpg easy enough.

We've had several Civics and not a moments bother was had and athough I've never liked the numb steering feel of modern Honda's, the gearchange is one of the best and the vtec 1800 engine is strong with 140bhp (though it need to be revved) and very long lived.

I've sold a few Mazda 3's over the years and owned one recently which was again flawless. Shares suspension and floorpan with the MK II Ford Focus and drives just as nicely. Very nimble with a lovely rifle bolt gearchange and lots of feedback through the steering yet rides comfortably too. The 1.6 petrol is a bit lacking in oomph but it's the same non-interference unit as the MX5 and will run and run. Ours had 117k on it when I sold it and the young lass who bought it is delighted with it still. Rust is the big enemy with these. They rust like it's the 1970's over again, though it's mostly cosmetic. They make brilliant cheap sub £1,500 runabouts and have Isofix rear seats which isn't that common in the bargain basement price range.

The current Toyota Auris is probably the most comfortable option and there's little to worry about mechanically. 5yr warranty is a bonus if it's been serviced by Toyota and you intend on continuing this. Nothing to excite either but the estate is a handy family hold-all if you can aford one.

Before having our first child I usually ran an older cheap Japanese hatch but post bambino I've upgraded to newer and safer and I'd suggest you do the same since your budget permits. Any of the above would make a sound longterm bet but my preference would be the Civic if all things were equal but wouldn't walk past either of the others if the deal was right and the car spot on.

That's not to say I dislike the Golf/Leon or Octavia but in my experience longterm reliability is best served by normally aspirated petrol engines, purely down to the fact there's less to go wrong.

Edited by SLO76 on 26/01/2017 at 16:32

Advice on a future used car purchase - b80

Thanks guys some great info in there.

Would you say there's an optimum age to buy one of these vehicles all things being equal if planning on keeping for 10 years or so? So better to buy at one year old than 3 years old if possible? Is there a case for new even if planning on owning for that length of time?

If buying direct from a dealership is there normally much wiggle room in the price on 2nd hand models.... I'm guessing January is a slow time for them and may be receptive to iffers.

Advice on a future used car purchase - johnnyrev
How about a new Dacia Logan? The warranty can be extended to 5 years for a little extra for additional peace of mind. £10k would easily get a top of the range petrol.
Advice on a future used car purchase - SLO76
Buy the youngest car you can aford if you want reliable longterm ownership and shop around for the best car not only the best deal. A few hundred quid off at dodgy Joe's backstreet dealer will cost you much more in the longterm when the p*** poor paint repairs he's done come flaking off after a couple of years.

There's usually room the negotiate but it all depends on the final price you pay and not the discount or trade in offer. It's easy to overprice stock then give it back in discounts and daft part ex valuations which is how some dealers play it.

Do your homework on what similar cars are selling for locally.
Advice on a future used car purchase - skidpan

Get a good long test drive in all the cars on your shortlist, a quick zoom around the block is no good. You need to try them where you get a good feel on all types of road. Even a slug like the Toyota Avensis petrol can feel OK in town, get it on a A road and attempt an overtake and you will very possibly die in a fireball.

Advice on a future used car purchase - SLO76

Get a good long test drive in all the cars on your shortlist, a quick zoom around the block is no good. You need to try them where you get a good feel on all types of road. Even a slug like the Toyota Avensis petrol can feel OK in town, get it on a A road and attempt an overtake and you will very possibly die in a fireball.

Agree the 1.8 Avensis is no ball of fire but I'm still very much alive after owning one for three trouble free years as are the family who ran it for four more after I sold it. A turbocharged car will offer much better midrange grunt but i never found that I couldn't overtake, you just had to plan ahead a little further and drop a gear.

Edited by SLO76 on 26/01/2017 at 17:52

Advice on a future used car purchase - gordonbennet

My suggestion is at the other end, mininal cost means buying a decent well cared for model now replaced, possibly by more than one model change.

You are in urban traffic most of the time so why buy anything with any sort of sporty or performance profile, paying needlessly for extra fuel insurance tax etc, money you save on this car is more for the next house.

Almost anything made by Honda, Toyota, Kia or Hyundai would fit the bill, the Korean cars more than likely going to be exceptional bargains, at one time Nissan would have been on that list, and mechanically a petrol Mazda is a good bet but you need one that's been kept free from salt because rust is a problem.

£2000 would be the absolute max i would budget for this second (third?) car and i'd be hoping for considerably less than that, simple as possible, no automated manual or twin clutch gearboxes.

Advice on a future used car purchase - Engineer Andy

Thanks guys some great info in there.

Would you say there's an optimum age to buy one of these vehicles all things being equal if planning on keeping for 10 years or so? So better to buy at one year old than 3 years old if possible? Is there a case for new even if planning on owning for that length of time?

If buying direct from a dealership is there normally much wiggle room in the price on 2nd hand models.... I'm guessing January is a slow time for them and may be receptive to iffers.

You're right that January is a slow time for dealerships (they are normally desperate to hit their sales targets for either the calendar year and bought many pre-reg cars and are keen to reduce stock (including older cars that have been sitting around longer) to recoup the money spent on buying the new ones, and are still looking to entice customers to buy new ones in the run-up to the reg change on 1st March as well.

My local Mazda dealership has been knocking over 20% off some showroom models, so its likely other makes are doing the same too, including reducing prices for a while on older cars. Worth also having a look at newer 2nd hand models at car supermarkets like Motorpoint - some really good deals abound where manufacturer Main Dealers sometimes want to offload slow sellers for peanuts and are then resold at the car supermarkets for only a few hundred markup, if that. Many sold on such sites are undercutting the sticker price of main dealers by significant amounts.

I'm currently in the market for a replacement (possibly a bit smaller, more oomph and an auto [non CVT/DSG] as half [in terms of time] of my journey to work is in slow-moving traffic) for my 11yo Mazda3 mk1 1.6 petrol - I've probably been lucky with it not rusting, and as others have said, aside general wear-and-tear items it has ran very well, and especially the engine which feels as good as new and still can be thrashed when needs be.

If you're mostly doing town/30mph driving, then do you really need the extra power over a 1.6 non-turbo petrol or 1.2 turbo-petrol (however nice to drive the 2ltr non-turbo petrol or 1.4 turbo-petrol cars are). If the type of driving is mainly in jig-jog traffic, you may also (as I am) wish to consider an automatic for ease of use in such traffic.

If you do, make sure you go for a decent test drive to see if (if you don't/haven't driven an auto before, especially some of the CVT/DSG types) you could get on with one over a manual or standard torque-converter versions. Note that not many affordable or reliable makes sell cars with torque-converter boxes - many of the Japanese (except Mazda) go with CVTs (ok-ish on reliability but get poor reviews for the driving experience - perhaps better suited to town-only driving), many EU makes go with DSG twin-clutch units (newer tech which many makes still haven't got right on the useability [hesitating off the mark] and especially the reliability front).

Whilst I'm biased as a Mazda owner, I would say the Honda Civic 1.8 petrol (manual or auto) may be better, especially as it has a big boot for a car of its size (nice for loading child's buggies) and its chain-cam engine is at least as bullet-proof as my Mazda3's, but without any potential rusting issues down the road. Admitedly you may pay a bit more for servicing than at a Mazda dealership, but I suspect its slightly better reliability long-term evens that out.

If your heart is really set on a car with more poke, such as a VAG 1.4 TSi (not the 160bhp twin charger), then as Skidpan says the Seat Leon is a very good value-for-money choice, as long as you can find a good main dealer to look after it (similarly with the Skoda Octavia if you want a LOT more space).

Might also be worth considering an estate version if the particular make does one for extra boot size (and probably easier to see out the back for parking) to house all those lovely child-related things, especially when going away on holiday, etc. Admitedly the Civic Tourer would be an 'aquired taste', but the Leon ST is easy on the eye.

My final bit of advice is for the test drive/look round - bring the sort of buggies, holiday suitcases, gold bags etc you might take on a family trip and see if they can fit in the boot of the cars you like. You might find some are far more practical than others. My Mazda3 is a saloon, and whilst it suits me (bigger boot by 50 ltrs than the hatchback), the small boot aperture (opening) means I can't fit any large cubed-shaped boxes in. Some boots are also narrow or have structural beams protruding into the space and can restrict what you can get in.

Good luck!

Advice on a future used car purchase - Avant

Skidpan is right - I'm a fan of VAG cars, only with the proviso that I've been lucky enough to have been able to buy them new and not keep them for more than 3 years. But he has evidence of good service beyond that, and all those Octavia taxi drivers can't be wrong.

As you clearly know, any used car purchase is something of a gamble, as it depends on how well the previous owner(s) have treated the car. A well-looked-after VAG car will give good service, but a Japanese car is more likely to have withstood abuse and neglect rather better, and so may be less of a risk. And whatever you choose, make sure it has a service history.

If your other car is bigger, you may find a Toyota Yaris suits you. The 1.3 is quite lively in the smaller car: my daughter had four successive 1.3s and they were good to drive and totally reliable.

Advice on a future used car purchase - b80

thanks again, good to see all the heavyweights weighing in!

I did think of a Yaris, but not entirely sure my fragile ego will allow me to drive one for some reason... may take a look though as they do seem to be highly thought of on this site. Don't mind the look of the Mazda 2's though, which I'm guessing are as sound as the Mazda 3's.

Will have to look at getting some test drives sorted out I think.

Out of interest gordonbennet, what sort of vehiclelife span would someone be looking at (roughly) buying a simple jap petrol for around 2k?

Advice on a future used car purchase - SLO76
"what sort of vehiclelife span would someone be looking at (roughly) buying a simple jap petrol for around 2k?"

Sorry to butt in but this is a neck of the woods I'm very familiar with. As a home trader I Focus on well maintained cars under £3,000 and Japanese hatchbacks like the Civic, Mazda 2/3, Toyota Yaris and Auris are my bread and butter.

I've also ran numerous over the years as second/third cars with the latest a 55 plate Mazda 3 I bought for £300 with 10mths Mot thatvneeded nothing more than a set or rear pads. It drove perfectly, still does by the new owners account. I ran it for a few months without a problem and have full confidence it'll remain cost effective through the next Mot.

We also ran a 53 Civic 1.6 S I bought for my other half for nearly 4 years. I bought it for £2,200 with 37,000 miles from another trader and sold it 4yrs later and no costs outside of normal wear and tear plus servicing for £1,600 with 68k to a delighted lady who still has it.

Ran an old Toyota Avensis I bought for £1250 for three years then flogged it for £850 to a friend who kept it for another four years.

Could go on but buy a well kept petrol engined Japanese engineered hatch for £2k with a Honda, Mazda or Toyota badge on the tail and you could run it for years before it becomes unviable. Though don't let our support for them breed overconfidence, every car has its faults to look out for.
Advice on a future used car purchase - Fishermans Bend

No reason a Japanese car can't last 20 years, plenty of petrol ones that age still on the roads in NZ, although you have to remember they don't salt their roads.

SLO76 gives good advice.

Even though Mrs FB's Mondeo estate is approaching 250,000 miles we've never had to spend £2,000 in a year on it. In the last year including service, MOT and new tyres it was under £500. Depreciation is now peanuts a year.

Mother's Saab 9-3 is now 19 years old. Still going strong.

Advice on a future used car purchase - SLO76
Good point. The Mk III Mondeo makes a good cheap old smoker too if you avoid the diesel and find one that's been looked after. Few hundred quid gets a decent one and for £1,000 you can get the best late model 1800.

It's a chain driven engine which is fit for 150k if looked after and has Isofix and loads of space for your buck. We ran one for 6mths which again I sold to someone I know (bulk of cars I sell are through word of mouth) and it was a pleasant thing to drive but thirsty averaging early 30's to the gallon. Chap who bought it over 3yrs ago still has it and hasn't suffered a single problem. Economy is fine if you're doing a limited mileage and the estate is a very handy big workhorse.

Edited by SLO76 on 28/01/2017 at 10:09

Advice on a future used car purchase - b80

I've found an auris I like the look of but its an auto cvt gearbox... historically I've always ignored auto's as people have mentioned they can cost more to maintain and put right if they go wrong, but as Andy Engineer mentioned they may be worth considering, I'm wondering whether to take it for a test drive. The car is 3 years old.

Would you say buying an auto cvt would increase/reliability and potential ownership costs? Do they cost more to service?

Edited by b80 on 28/01/2017 at 10:26

Advice on a future used car purchase - SLO76
It's a well tried and tested box based on the one found in the Prius I believe and tested to destruction by taxi drivers across the globe but as with all CVT's they can be a little unrefined if you've a heavy right foot plus resale is harder than a manual car so you'll have to expect higher depreciation.

The previous generation E150 model has proven reliable but does suffer from poor paint particularly on red cars, but the newer E180 from 2012 seems better painted and built in general. I doubt you'll have any trouble but I'd buy only with a full Toyota service history and the intention of keeping it going in order to retain the excellent 5yr warranty and to have servicing carried out by people who understand that complex gearbox and any maintenance requirements it has.

Edited by SLO76 on 28/01/2017 at 10:52

Advice on a future used car purchase - b80

cool, cheers mate. THink I'll place safe and give it a miss. Thanks for taking time to give to reply, I follow this forum and you seem to know your stuff so really respect your advice.

Advice on a future used car purchase - SLO76
Happy to help.
Advice on a future used car purchase - gordonbennet

Yes, Civic's are expensive used, especially for the gem, the 2.0S type, i'm talking about the 2000/2005 model, my daughter has two of those and she's thrashed them mercilessly for serious miles and they just keep coming back for more.

Japanese petrols take some beating, the only fly in the ointment is Toyota's MMT (automated manual) gearbox, why they ever got involved with that horrid contraption i have no idea, hopefully whoever was responsible was sacked.

The only problem with good cars like these is that the usual suspects buy them and neglect them, so proof of servicing, or a convincing home mechanic serviced car is what you should look for in older models.

Its often enough brakes that let these cars down, Honda suffer with rear caliper problems especially, due IMHO to there being no statutory proper service regime for brakes on the scehedule for their early years, and brake servicing as these cars get older with the majority of owners gets worse still, if thats possible...with a little TLC the brakes will last forever with just friction material and fluid changes.

Advice on a future used car purchase - SLO76
Biggest issue on Civics of this vintage (01-05) was the steering rack failing. It was one of the first mainstream cars to use an electric rather than hydrolic system and they all eventually go.

Look for a noticeable stickiness to the steering on the straight ahead that requires constant minor corrections plus listen for a rattle that'll sound like a worn droplink and will often be described by dishonest sellers as being just that. Not a cheap job to do and it's pointless sourcing a used rack which can be knackered or on its way too. Worth doing properly on a tidy car though.

Otherwise a brilliant little workhorse. The 1.4 is fine for local driving but the pick is the sweet 1.6 VTEC which has plenty of go and will easily exceed 40mpg. The 160bhp 2.0 Type S is a cracker too but dearer for instance and fuel. There's also an excellent 1.7 Isuzu diesel but most are mega miles bangers now.

Seventh gen Honda Accord from 03-07 is another brilliant cheap option. The 2.0 petrol is hard to kill and they're far cheaper than they should be in saloon or useful estate form. Be wary of the 2.2 diesels though, there's been plenty of trouble as they've aged.
Advice on a future used car purchase - b80

I'm going to look at a 1.8 14 es civic later today. 14k miles, up for 11k which seems a bit on the steep side, but seems around the going rate when looking at similar age civics from dealershios - not sure what it costs new??

Also, the shiny alloys this marque tends to come with, are they easy to repair if they get curbed at some point???

Edited by b80 on 30/01/2017 at 08:16

Advice on a future used car purchase - SLO76
It's a little steep but an excellent model with the softer suspension set up and does without the big alloys of the Ti or GT. If it's at a Honda dealer with a full Honda history I'd be aiming to trim that back to £10,500 at least especially with the new model just launched which is putting pressure on prices of late previous models like this.

Motorpoint have a load of 16 plate 1.4 VTEC S models in mostly with sub 5k mileages at £10,699 which seem good value if you don't mind a more sedate pace but personally I'd favour the older 1.8.

When taking it for a test drive tell them you want to try it from cold. When you turn up, pop the bonnet and put your hand on the engine to see if there's any heat from them starting it beforehand. There's an issue with Civics and CRV's regarding juddering clutches. Not that common but the input shaft oil seal fails and let's oil contaminate the clutch plate causing judder until it burns off. Some dealers will drive the car to clear this before you try it and it's often a fight to get a replacement clutch under warranty as it's deemed to be a wear and tear item.

We've had one in our CRV and it's now showing signs of juddering again because the dealer has clearly just bunged in a new clutch without looking at or replacing the seal as I'd explained to them. If there's no judder by this stage then it's likely never to be a problem in any other regard and I've only really heard of it on diesels anyway to be honest.
Advice on a future used car purchase - b80

Took thr car out and was impressed... felt much more nimble than my golf. I ended up getting it for 10.4k, which I'm happy with. It comes with the tech pack (sat navigation and rear parking camera) which I know my wife will appreciate as she likes her toys (in the car;)).

Feels good that a conclusion has finally been reached after to-ing and fro-ing between keeping and replacing the golf over the last year or so. With Honda'so reputation I'm sure this car will serve me well for a long time to come!

Thanks again to everyone that helped me narrow down the field and reach a decision!

Advice on a future used car purchase - SLO76
Excellent choice and well negotiated with £600 off! I'll give you a call next time I need money off something.

Our last Civic was 12yrs old when I sold it and never let us down and the next owner still has it.

Ask Honest John

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