car recommendations budget - Rog46

HI im after a car max budget of around 3k but ideally towards the 2,2.5k.

mileage i probably do 6/7k at the most a year. I need boot space and descent enough economy so 2litre would be out of the picture.

was considering ford mondeo 1.6,1.8 07 onwards, mazda 1.6, possibly octavia all petrols/hatchbacks.

any advice on the above or others would be great Thanks

car recommendations budget - Engineer Andy

As you need a decent amount of boot space, does that mean you're lugging lots of kit around or regularly taking kids out-and-about and need the space for buggies, bikes etc?

What would be useful is if you can indicate:

  • The type of trips you'll be undertaking on a regular basis (lots of short journeys to the shops/school/work in urban traffic, or fewer trips over longer distances on faster moving roads, etc);
  • Who will mainly be using the car and for what purpose (see above), including both your normal passenger load (numbers) and maximum requirements;
  • What your approximate budget is for running the car each year (older cars WILL generally require new parts on a much more frequent basis than newer ones), including VED, insurance and fuel. Often people buying older, bigger cars find that they cannot afford to run them - its often why they depreciate at a higher rate than their mid-sized cousins. For example, my 11yo Mazda3 1.6 petrol costs £210 to tax, which is 10% of your purchase budget. A big family car of the same era may be higher and have a much lower fuel efficiency;
  • How long do you intend to keep the car.

The above (I'm sure others may have more questions that I've forgotten) will help you and us come to a more considered choice. BTW - don't discount larger-engined cars, as if you are regularly lugging heavy loads, they often give better mpg than smaller-engined versions of the same car because they don't have to be worked so hard when full with people and/or boot stuff.

I would also consider cars such as the Focus estate and similar from other makes as these often give adequate space for up to 5 people but a decent amount of boot space for cars smaller on the outside than a Mondeo or Octavia.

Whatever you go for, DON'T buy a diesel for such low mileage - too many expensive problems await you if you do. Additionally, don't buy a high-spec car with lots of gadgets to go wrong - they just add to the purchase price and are often expensive to repair. Just go for a basic model with the absolute minimum of spec you need, including tyres (higher profile ones will give a better ride, last longer and cost half as much as the lower-profile ones to replace [the difference for replacing all four could be £200-£300). I would also be wary of low-mileage cars with little in the way of proven history, or any car that looks unloved/doesn't feel right when you look at /test drive it.

Make sure you also find a good, reasonably local main dealer or reputable independent garage to get the car serviced - this will make as much difference as to how long it lasts as choosing the right car itself.

Best of luck.

car recommendations budget - SLO76
My shortlist of worthy motors at this money would all be normally aspirated petrol engines.

Mazda 3 1.6, Toyota Corolla 1.6, Toyota Avensis 1.8 (better on fuel than you'd think), Ford Focus 1.6 and Vauxhall Astra 1.6 are all robust and straightforward motors. I'd leave the Mondeo MK IV as the 1.6 petrol is rare and underpowered while the 2.0 petrol is thirsty. Diesels at this money will be more trouble than they're worth and will cost more to run overall. 1.8 Honda Civic is another good option but they tend to sell for more money so you'll be looking at higher miles.

Buy on condition and history above anything else but if all things were equal I'd favour the Mazda 3 which is cheap to buy, very reliable and great fun to drive. The 1.6 petrol is no ball of fire but it'll nip along well enough and it's chain driven so there's no timing belt to worry about. It uses the same suspension and floorpan as the Focus but personally I prefer Mazda's gearbox and interior. I recently sold one with 117,000 miles up and it was faultless to drive and the new owner is delighted with it to date.

The Focus is next especially with the Yamaha designed 1600 which is reliable and sweet revving. Due a timing belt at 8yrs but I'd do it earlier to be safe so budget £300-£350 for belt, tensioner and water pump when bidding on one. It's often overlooked on these and will kill the engine if it snaps.

Astra, Avensis and Corolla are all robust but bland to drive. You'll get real value with the Astra or Avensis but both are harder to sell on.

Edited by SLO76 on 26/02/2017 at 12:44


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