Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
Well after 10 years with my lovely Micra now need to buy a new car. Sadly I wrote off my beloved 11-year-old Micra. So I am now looking for a replacement. I realise that what is important to me is a car that will last a long time so I don't have to replace it for a while, I don't really enjoy car shopping.

I'm not really sure where to start. I am told of the Japanese is good so with that in mind I am going to test drive a Honda Civic 1.4. I do about 9000 miles a year. This is mostly urban driving in a little bit of motorway. I'm looking to spend about £8000. My approved the Honda dealer can do the 2013/14 Honda civic with about 30,000 miles on the clock and all the benefits of going through an approved dealer for that £8000. I'm not really sure if there is any other car I should be looking at. I don't really have much time now as I got distracted by the Ford Fiesta and I dont really think I want one of those. I thought about the Honda Jazz, But thought that was a bit of a old lady car and I'm not quite there yet LOL. The Toyota Yaris is nice but I don't like the big X on the front.

Is there anything else we need to be looking at bury mind the husband hasn't got that much patience any more. I probably could get him to look at one or two more cars.

What's important to me in the car is they last a long time and is reliable that's very important. I don't need anything too big. I don't need fancy gadgets. I don't want a diesel car. Do you want a smaller engine that's why I'm looking at the 1.4 Honda, this will also keep down my insurance.
Please help with a car decision - bazza

The Civic would be a great choice, though if you want smaller, check out the Toyota Yaris petrols or Auris. But I think the Civic would be a nicer car. There are others, a Nissan Note, Hyundai i20, Mazda 2, all good. The Jazz is a superb car and a pity it has such an old man image in the UK. Most on here ( including me) would steer you away from anything German, used.

Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
Thanks Bazza. My daughter absolutely loves civics and drives a very old H reg one and so just wanted to make sure she wasn't unduly swaying me lol. My Mum has had jazzes for the past 15ish years so I am wanting to hold back on having the same car as her, she does love them though and they have been excellent cars.
Please help with a car decision - SLO76
No need to drag hubby round more garages, the Civic is a great option with longterm ownership in mind. They're very well made and there's little to worry about especially on a low mileage 1.4 from a Honda dealer with an approved used warranty.

There's loads of room, it'll easily hit 45mpg and has a near bombproof chain driven engine so there's no timing belt to worry about and it should run and run as long as it's serviced every year with the correct grade of oil.

There are loads of older Civics still on our roads, many upwards of 20yrs old and still running well. I've sold loads and owned a couple over the years without hassle. They're mechanically excellent and resist rot better than most rivals. I really can't recommend them enough.

The only weakness on the model you've selected is the 1.4 engine is a bit lacking in performance compared to the excellent 1.8 and it saves little in the way of fuel consumption but if you're in no hurry or largely do low speed stop start town/city mileage then it'll make little difference and it'll help when selling it on in a decade or so when the lower insurance grouping will help.
Please help with a car decision - johnnyrev

For your budget you could also consider a new Dacia Sandero, with the 0.9l petrol engine. The warranty can also be extended to 5 years for a bit more piece of mind in the long term.

Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!

I will put that to the husband thanks Johnny.

SLO76, the chain cam does appeal. My lovely micra was a chain cam. It had only done 85,000 when I wrote it off. I had barely spent anything on it during its life span. I think it was nearing needing a clutch and the front brakes replaced though.

Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!

Thanks for that SLO76, that has helped. I think, for me, 1.4 is fine. We have 20mph zones all over the place where I live so lots of stop start! Is 29,000 ok on a July 2014? it is fully serviced, has another free service left on the service plan and comes with the honda approved guarantee. I think it is a SE.

Please help with a car decision - SLO76
At 29,000 miles it's barely run in. I've a friend with a 14yr old Civic that's done over 200k and still runs. I don't think you can really go wrong here. It doesn't even seem that dear for a main dealer either.
Please help with a car decision - Andrew-T

Did you seriously write-off your Micra, or just give it a gentle bump which would have cost more than the car's value to fix?

It's too late now, but if the latter scenario happens again to a car you enjoy, consider taking less from the insurance co, keeping the car and extending its life. That would save traipsing round forecourts and investing in an unknown vehicle.

Edited by Andrew-T on 09/02/2017 at 18:37

Please help with a car decision - Steveieb
Hi Alison,

Make sure you try a few reverses in your test drive.
I found the rear view impossible to deal with and that I presume is why the Civic is not chosen by many driving schools.
Does yours have the rear view camera fitted which I presume Honda have fitted in later models to respond to criticism about this design feature?
Please help with a car decision - Engineer Andy
Hi Alison, Make sure you try a few reverses in your test drive. I found the rear view impossible to deal with and that I presume is why the Civic is not chosen by many driving schools. Does yours have the rear view camera fitted which I presume Honda have fitted in later models to respond to criticism about this design feature?

Trouble is - that's a 'feature' of many a modern car - when I sold my old Micra (the previous version) and bought my Mazda3 saloon (2005 build), it was, and still is, the worst aspect of the car, as it doesn't have rear parking sensors. In comparison, the Micra was a doddle to park. When I was test driving the CX-3, it was similar - it seems almost all modern cars have tiny oval rear windows, almost as if they're deliberately doing so in order to sell more parking sensor/camera kits...

Anyhoo, I hope that doesn't put the OP off what is otherwise a perfectly fine car.

Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
Thank you everyone. I test drove the civic today and, sadly, I don't think it is for me. I am not sure I could get used to the rear window (no cameras or sensors in this car). I think I was too spoilt by my micra, so easy to park. I wasn't 100% on the style too. I thought I would have a little drive in Mums Jazz, took it on the normal streets, a couple of hills and the dual carriageway. It seems it is quite a nippy number, not as good as my micra but still ok. I also tried reverse and parallel parking, which was easy too. So I think I may go for the old lady car even though I said I wasn't ready. I get the reliability of a Honda still. Now I need to find a good deal.

Thank you everyone for your kind advise. This forum is very helpful.
Please help with a car decision - SLO76
Yes, rear vision on the Civic is pretty poor but while the MK II Jazz is reliable I just don't rate it to drive. I don't know how Honda got it so wrong dynamically but it's a pretty wretched thing to drive in my opinion. The latest MK III model is however a big improvement especially with regards to ride comfort if you were willing to spend a bit more money. It'll be cheaper to run than the Civic and certainly easier to park.

But if you want to stick with a smaller car and plan to stay below £8k then the Fiesta with the Yamaha 1.25 engine is a good bet, vastly better to drive than the MK II Jazz and reliability is up there with the best. I'd avoid the 1.0 Ecoboost as there have been more than a few failures on these, mostly in the larger Focus but it's becoming clear it's not as robust as the older engine.

Mazda 2 is another cracking little car. Based on the Fiesta and similar to drive but uses Mazda petrol engines, has a nicer driving position in my opinion and tends to offer better value for money. Suzuki Swift is another fun to drive small car too and great value. All three I'd have before a Mk II Jazz.

Just don't buy an Indian built K13 Micra! These are a pale shadow of what your old car was and were designed with third world markets in mind. It was quickly tarted up then Nisssn thought they'd make a fast back selling them to us but they just don't stack up compared to modern rivals. They're cheap for a reason.
Please help with a car decision - Engineer Andy

If you were happy with the size and performance of your Micra, then perhaps you could consider the similar-sized Hyundai i10 or KIA Picanto (both the same car really with variations in styling and warranty), or perhaps their slightly larger sibblings, the i20 or Rio. The i10/Picanto appears to have good all-round visibility, so may be worth a look - and you may be able to get a much newer car as they are smaller than the Civic. Nice long warranties for both, which transfer to the new owner if you bought it second hand from a main dealership. Check the boot space to see if its fine for your needs as the first two are small cars.

Please help with a car decision - bazza

I know that certain Civics have the rear view camera but I'm not sure what spec level they become standard fit. Something I need to look for if I'm heading for one. For me, the outstanding thing of these cars is the fantastic reliable 1.8 Vtec engine, and superb gearbox which compensates for the "different" styling of the car. PLus the reliability ratings.

I've also read that the newest Jazz is a major improvement on the old, which itself was a thoroughly good car. I've never understood the way the British pigeon hole these cars as older persons', it's bizarre. I've always just driven what I like and it never bothers me one jot what anyone else thinks of it! I drive a Panda a lot of the time, I absolutely adore the thing.

Anyway, also agree the Fiesta is a great car, but don't rule out the 1.4, which is also a smooth drive. Agree its early days on the 3 cylinder 1.0, although it drives fine, it's a little different to launch and is less tolerant of being in the wrong gear, eg 2nd, when one should be in 1st. By the way, according to VW, downsizing is out, it didn't work.

Please help with a car decision - Fishermans Bend

If you like your mother's Jazz then that's all the matters. A friend has had one from new in 2009 and has no complaints. Nor does honestjohn.

www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/honda/jazz-2008/?sec...t

And to top it all just about every owner rates it 4 or five stars out of 5 in the owner reviews section.

www.honestjohn.co.uk/owner-reviews/honda/jazz-2008...0

Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
Thanks everyone. I am not sure I have the mental strength to look at more cars. I did briefly think about the Mazda and Swift. It just muddles my brain, which is probably why I clung on to my micra for so long and would have never got rid of it till it died. I agree the seating position could be better on the Jazz. However it seems like it is a reliable car which should last a good long time (my mums old 03 plate was given to my son in law when she upgraded and it is still going strong). I guess it isn't a WOW car but it is a workhorse. I need to move quite fast now as I don't know how much longer I will have the hire car. Thank you everyone.
Please help with a car decision - RaineMan

OAP I know swapped his ageing Micra for a Toyota Yaris last year and is very happy with it. He wasn't keen on the current Micra and also dissatisfied with dealer service.

Edited by RaineMan on 10/02/2017 at 09:06

Please help with a car decision - SLO76
A day spent test driving a few cars is small change compared to running a car you don't enjoy driving over the longterm. Yes the Jazz is very reliable, it won't let you down but they are pretty unpleasant to drive compared to most rivals and despite being well made they suffer a lot from trim rattles. My mothers has several, one in particular that drives me batty when I drive it anywhere. It's largely caused by the overfirm suspension which spending a bit more on the later model should solve since it's much softer. I strongly urge you to drive both as the MK III is a vastly better car. Auto Trader #DrivenByMe
www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170113126...9

Edited by SLO76 on 10/02/2017 at 10:24

Please help with a car decision - Fishermans Bend

SLO, the rating for that car on autotrader is 2.5 out of 5.

Alison has driven her mother's, likes it, so that's all that really matters! Some people are not overly bothered if suspension is firm. HJ likes it giving it 5 out of 5 and I believe liked it so much he owned one . Autocar magazine like it. www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/honda/jazz-2008-2015

A friend bought a Mokka, knows there are better cars, but likes it - thats all that matters.

Please help with a car decision - nortones2

As FB says, it's all down to personal choice. SWMBO had a Jazz for several years. Was pretty decent to drive around town apart from being a bit breathless at high rpm (the iDSI two valve two spark plug version), no rattles and the firmish suspension was good. There have been variations in settings over the years I think. Better than Yaris marshmallow. OP has driven one example so must know what they are like. Try one or two in the market to see if they are as good as her memory tells her.

Please help with a car decision - SLO76

SLO, the rating for that car on autotrader is 2.5 out of 5.

Alison has driven her mother's, likes it, so that's all that really matters! Some people are not overly bothered if suspension is firm. HJ likes it giving it 5 out of 5 and I believe liked it so much he owned one . Autocar magazine like it. www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/honda/jazz-2008-2015

A friend bought a Mokka, knows there are better cars, but likes it - thats all that matters.

I've sold cars to people in the past who've regretted the purchase, not because it went wrong but because they just didn't enjoy driving it which saddens me, I like to see people buy a car they'll truely enjoy for the full ownership experience. I understand fully that many people don't care about dynamics or how quickly it'll go round corners but it's wise to try several cars before making a decision especially if longterm ownership is in mind. I've bought and sold a fair number of MK I and MK II Jazz's over the years (even got one for my mother, who couldn't care less about how it drives) and they rarely go wrong other than interior rattles particularly on the MK II. But they're just not as good as rivals in too many respects in my humble opinion. I'm just pointing out that there are more enjoyable and equally as reliable small cars available. Though none will match the wee Honda for practicality and few will beat it on economy.

Edited by SLO76 on 10/02/2017 at 11:20

Please help with a car decision - corax
A day spent test driving a few cars is small change compared to running a car you don't enjoy driving over the longterm.

I agree with this. I don't like buying cars either, but I'd spend the time to find something I was happy with rather than being saddled with a car for years that on the face of it is reliable but gives no joie de vivre.

Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
Ok I am going to test drive a Yaris today to help my decision.
Please help with a car decision - SLO76
Ok I am going to test drive a Yaris today to help my decision.

A good wee car also, and always plenty of deals on at our local Toyota dealer.
Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
That's good to hear.mi will update with how I get on.
Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
The Yaris wasn't as good as the Jazz.
Please help with a car decision - SLO76
The Yaris wasn't as good as the Jazz.

Well at least you know you tried other cars and still preferred the Jazz. You'll not go wrong with one as long as you're happy driving it, it's a great wee car in every other respect and personal preference is all that matters.
Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
Thanks for everyone's advice. I am off over to Mums again so I can drive her car again. I gave the Yaris a good drive (dual carriageway as well as small roads) was prob the longest test drive I have had. I am glad I tried it though.
Please help with a car decision - skidpan

Not driven a Yaris but Dad had a Jazz followed by a Micra. We had a Micra and then inherited dads Micra when he stopped driving.

All I can say about the Jazz is it's a bit bigger, has a more flexible back seat folding setup and is possibly is a little more economical. But in every other respect the Micra is superior and that is the opinion of myself, wife, father and mother. The Micras seats are far more comfortable and the driving position is better. The ride of the Jazz was truly bad, the Micra is amazingly good for a small car. The Micra is also quieter on the motorway. Performance is similar but our Micras were 1.2's, the Jazz was a 1.4. A 1.2 Jazz would be without a doubt slower. No car in this bracket is going to be a beauty but the Micra offends my eyes far less, the Jazz looks awkward from several angles.

As for reliabilty the Jazz never went wrong in 5 years. The 2 Micras needed a new boot release (warranty) and a front spring in 10 years.

We know which we preferred.

We now have an E12 Nissan Note, the 2013 onwards model. We find it excellent but its not proven popular with buyers so prices are rock bottom. I cannot think of one single area where the Jazz is better. have a look and a drive one but make sure its the DiG-S petrol model. The diesels are unsuitable for town use and the standard petrols are slugs. Forget the auto's.

Edited by skidpan on 10/02/2017 at 14:15

Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
If I am planning to keep the car a while what is more important, newer age or lower mileage? You can get some older ones with low milage as an older person has owned it. Am I best getting one of these and saving the extra money I would have spent on a newer one for future repairs and maintenance? I prob could save a grand or more going a year or 2 older and the same car. Lower milage? I would still get a years Honda approved warrantee. A new mot and it would be fsh.

Edited by Alison Howarth on 11/02/2017 at 08:16

Please help with a car decision - SLO76
If you're set on a Jazz then there's little to worry about on an a well looked after older car. My mother has an 8yr old 1.2 S and it still drives and (aside from a few scuffs and stone chips) looks like it did when new. The hard ride and plasticky interior mean there are a few annoying rattles though and I'd still recommend trying the newer 3rd gen model which you can get from around £9995 from dealers nearly new, it's a much better car all round. If you intend on longterm ownership I recommend you buy the best you can afford now. It'll last longer and give more driver enjoyment.

I'd avoid the 1.4 Si which has wider wheels and slightly harder suspension which does nothing for already poor ride comfort. The 1.4 ES or EX are the better MK II's but you can get a good basic 2013 63 plate 1.2 S with around 30k from a main dealer for less than £6k if you just want simple transport, there's no A/C til later 1.2 S though or on the higher spec 1.4's. The 1.2 is gutless at low to medium speeds though but rev it hard and it will nip along which isn't great for a city car. Our Polo is a much nicer thing to drive all round in my opinion but has suffered a few minor faults where the Jazz has only had one which to be fair was caused by my mother. Check the drivers seat adjusts properly. It failed on my mothers car(through over use) but cost a ludicrous £750 to replace the mechanism!

They do attract older drivers (no offence) so watch out for poor paintwork repairs from minor bumps and watch out for worn clutches. I'd aim for main dealer stock where the car is likely to have been traded in for another Honda which is good news as they've clearly been happy with it plus main dealers only retail the best stock.

Smaller non-franchise dealers buy their stock at auction largely and any MK II Jazz with reasonable mileage that ends up going through the ring will likely have been bumped and poorly repaired but other non-Honda main dealers might have good stock too which may also be good value.
Please help with a car decision - Engineer Andy

Its best to get a car that's been used correctly, i.e. the engine has had time to fully warm up during the journey (preferably more than 10-15 minutes), mad use of all the gears and most of the rev range regularly. Cars (of any sort) don't like doing short trips under 5 miles from cold, and often leads to them becoming unreliable and other problems such as exhausts going early (the condesation you often see at start up may not burn off and thus corrodes the pipe).

That often (but not always) means a low mileage car (for the same age) isn't necessarily better. For example, my car (11yo) has only done 60,000 miles, but hasn't done short trips - just longer trips (for many years over its life) every week or two. As such, the engine and most of mechanical bits are in fine condition, but its suffered from binding brakes which now need fixing.

All in all, don't discount higher mileages, espcially if you cannot get proof of the previous owner(s)' driving patterns (very difficult to do). I would check to see (hopefully if whatever car(s) you're looking at are at main dealers, you can) the service and maintenance record (often digital, held by the dealership/manufacturer) to see that its been serviced when (and to the level) it was supposed to, and that it hasn't had any/much repair work done.

The test drive is VERY important though - you may find a car is comfortable to sit in in the showroom, but less so when actually driving it around. If you can, take it out on a variety of roads, not just in slow-moving town traffic, and perhaps, if possible, a regular route you do and do some parking manouvres to see what the rear visibility is like.

When you start it up for the test drive, give the engine (after a few seconds) full power in neutral and then off the gas, and see in your rear view mirror whether blue smoke can be seen - a very bad sign if so and should be rejected straight off. Unlikely these days on modern cars if well looked after.

By all means bring along someone with decent knowledge about the mechanicals and electrics of cars (if you can find one) if you feel you would like some extra reasurrance when looking at them if you don't feel confident to spot potential problems - most people are the same. The breakdown companies provide this service for a fee, but I would hope that just by buying from a main dealership, especially from a Japanese/Korean make, would negate the need for such paid-for assistance.

If you regularly carry certain odd-shaped or larger items in the boot, bring them along if you can to see if they fit in the boot ok (hopefully without the need to pull the back seats down), and if you need room for passengers, get the driver's seat (with the showroom car if the same general model) adjusted for you as best you can, then you or one of your passengers (or someone of the same height) sit in the back and see whether its all ok for room.

This might be a bit of a pain (especially if you look at a few cars from different makes), but in the long run, its worth the hassle as buying a car is your second most expensive purchase other than your home, and is something you have to be comfortable using on a very regular basis (especially for people like me who suffer from back problems).

The Jazz still sounds like a good bet if you already like it - owning a nice-looking car (or one that people consider 'cool' etc) is all well and good, owning one that you like to use and won't let you down is far more important. Most of the 'bad press' for cars like the Jazz come from (mostly male) 'journalists' who, to me, have serious inadequacy issues and who compensate by thinking owning flashy sports cars is the answer. It isn't - most people buy a car for more practical reasons.

Best of luck.

Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
Small update.

We found a Jazz, 7 years old and good mileage for age but dealer didn't want to make a deal on it so we backed off.
In the mean time the hire people gave me a Ford Fiesta 1.25 which is a lovely drive and is making me think I should go back to my original plan of getting one of those. However I am not sure if I should get a 1.25 or a 1l ecoboost.
Also, another problem is that it does make my back ache a little. I had this when I drove my husbands old Vauxhall Astra but I was ok with my micra and my husbands current v40. The drive is lovely and I do enjoy that so I am hoping that I might get used to the new seat. I have tried adjusting the seat but it doesn't seem to help. It is a fun drive apart from that.

Does anyone know where u can hire cars for short amounts of time? 10 mins in a car with a salesman doesn't give you the full picture. If I could have 2 hours I think I could make a more informed choice.
Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
Also, to add, I drove mums Jazz for longer and realised that it was uncomfortable on my back too.
Please help with a car decision - Wackyracer

I would steer clear of the 1.0T Ecoboost, there is a facebook page dedicated to victims of this engine. The 1.25 engine is a tried and trusted engine.

Please help with a car decision - SLO76
Yamaha designed 1.25 is pretty much bulletproof if serviced regularly but the 1.0 Ecoboost is more complex and much more prone to problems. Keep it simple, stick to the 1.25 or 1.4 petrol.
Please help with a car decision - FiestaOwner

I've owned a 2012 Fiesta with the 1.25 (82BHP) engine for 5 years. I drive around 6000 miles a year (a lot of short journeys around 3 miles, and some long journeys around 200 miles).

I would be very wary about buying a turbo engine due to the short journeys that I do.

I find the 1.25 (82 BHP) is a good engine with acceptable performance. I would certainly consider buying another Fiesta with this engine. It's certainly not a road rocket, but it's quick enough. I think 0 to 60 is around 13 sec.

Be aware that there are 2 different versions of the 1.25 engine in Fiestas built between 2008 and 2017. Fiesta with Studio, Style or Edge trim could have either the 60 BHP or 82 BHP engine. Think Zetec spec and above were always built with the 82 BHP varient.

I think the 60 BHP would feel very underpowered (I have never driven one though).

I can certainly recommend the 1.25 82BHP fiesta. It's a lovely car to drive.

Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
Thanks for the advice. I think I would save about a grand buying the 1.25. I am happy with the drive on this engine. Just need to work out if I can make the seat comfy. Going to go for a drive this after noon and try a cushion.
Please help with a car decision - corax

You could try a Mazda 2.

www.honestjohn.co.uk/askhj/answer/27122/thanks-for...e-

New shape Hyundai i10 is well regarded.

www.honestjohn.co.uk/owner-reviews/hyundai/i10-201...d

You shouldn't have to get cushions out on a new car just to get comfortable. The problem with them is that they stop you being supported somewhere else on the seat. If you have it in the small of the back, then it will push your thighs forward and they won't be supported so well. Even aftermarket lumber supports can be too thick.

It's a finite balance with car seats, and some cars just won't fit certain people. Make sure before you spend a lot of money.

Please help with a car decision - daveyK_UK

I would also consider a vauxhall corsa , had one as a hire car recently for a long journey and it was excellent in terms of comfort.

some great deals around on corsa's as well.

Please help with a car decision - Indecisive_Car_Picker!
Thank you for your replies. I've been out in the car again and had a good go with the seat position/height adjuster and I think I have it sorted. Tomorrows commute will be the tester of it. Fingers crossed it is ok because I really would like to buy a car now. They have a fiesta in the colour I like at the right age and mileage in our local ford main dealer (all be it overpriced by £500) so if this is ok I am going to send the husband in to put in an offer.
 

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