Any - Car Chooser - V4 Heaven
Hi all,

Can the great Honest John collective please give me some suggestions for a second hand new car up to £10,000?

My criteria are that I do a 26 mile each way commute through countryside A roads and 5 miles of very bumpy B road.

I would like a 5 door. I like sporty (engine and handling) but I am also very keen on mpg and like comfort. Reliability is a must as are heated seats.

I do have some ideas but I'd like you all to help if possible and suggest cars that maybe I haven't thought of.

Thanks in advance.
Any - Car Chooser - RobJP

Very sporting handling on normal roads, and comfort on bumpy B roads isn't going to happen.

Very sporting handling on normal roads will mean a horribly hard, jarring ride on the bumpy bits.

Or comfort on the bumpy bits will mean a softer, wallowy ride (and thus no 'sporty' handling) the rest of the time.

Choose one. Because you can't have both, and trying to have both will only leave you disappointed.

Any - Car Chooser - gordonbennet

Only one car i know can do all convincingly, though i wouldn't describe the handling as sporty you try and keep up with one in the wet on the twisties and shrug off the bumps.

wait for it

Forester/Legacy/Outback

Edited by gordonbennet on 12/03/2017 at 20:46

Any - Car Chooser - V4 Heaven
Therein lies my conundrum! To be fair though, comfort would be needed over sporty, as long the car goes around corners with some kind of ability.
Any - Car Chooser - John F

Very sporting handling on normal roads, and comfort on bumpy B roads isn't going to happen.

Very sporting handling on normal roads will mean a horribly hard, jarring ride on the bumpy bits.

Or comfort on the bumpy bits will mean a softer, wallowy ride (and thus no 'sporty' handling) the rest of the time.

Choose one. Because you can't have both

Oh......yes you can.......if you have adjustable air suspension. Your budget will stretch to an old quattro Audi with this. Just dial up 'comfort' on the MMI.

Any - Car Chooser - SLO76
Not asking much here...

A sporty handling car which rides bumpy roads without rattling your fillings. One that's rapid but also great on fuel. Must have heated seats to add further pain.

The heated seats rule out my first pick here though but I'll mention it anyway, the Mk III Seat Leon 1.4 TSi FR. It'll offer 50mpg with a light right foot yet near hot hatch performance and sporty looks and handling without the bone crushing ride of more intense hatches. Available from around £10k... No heated seats though as far as I'm aware.

The Honda Civic 1.6 DTEC EX will do 70mpg with care on a run and has loads of pulling power for Swift B road progress. Reliability is a given but check for clutch judder from cold. There's loads of room with a huge boot so it makes an excellent family all rounder but handling and steering aren't exactly the most entertaining and the need for heated seats limits your choice as only the EX model has them. I'd live without and go for the SE which rides a little better on smaller wheels.

I also really rate the current Mazda 3 particularly the 2.0 SE which has those heated seats you desire, drives very nicely with supple suspension but nimble handling and plenty of feel through the steering. The rifle bolt gearchange is a pleasure to use thankfully as the normally asperated engine lacks midrange pull and needs a down change to motivate it. Economy is poorer than the other two (probably around 40-45mpg) but there's little to fear from repair costs with a near bombproof chain driven petrol engine and no turbocharger, DPF or timing belt to worry about. I'd avoid the 2.2 diesel which has developed a nasty reputation for problems.
Any - Car Chooser - SkodaIan

A Skoda Yeti might be worth a look, the 4wd ones handle surprisingly well, particularly on bumpy roads. Might not meet the economy target though, as you'll only get about 40mpg.

Any - Car Chooser - Avant

A SEAT Leon 1.4TSI like the one Skidpan has just sold would tick most of your boxes, or a similarly-powered Skoda Octavia if you need more room. I loved my three Octavias - all vRSs - great performance but you might find the ride on the firm side.

Any - Car Chooser - RaineMan

Above all avoid stupid ultra low profile tyres. These give you an appalling ride on any bar the smoothest roads. I hired a Focus last year and would say it met your A/B road criteria - however I would rate it competent rather than satisfying.

Any - Car Chooser - Engineer Andy

Heated seats are, I would say, more of a 'nice to have' than a necessity, as a car with a decent air heating system and fabric seats won't have seats that are freezing. Better (if anything) to have a heated steering wheel and a decent vent/heater/AC [climate control] system that heats the car and demists/unfreezes the windows quickly.

I woold also advocate the use of higher profile tyres of at least 55 profile to 65 profile, which for many cars give a good balance between road handling and comfort. Lower profile tyres make only a small difference in grip, mainly at the absolute limit, which most people would find it very hard to do, given they'd be either breaking the speed limit or taking their life (litterally) in their hands driving like a racer on the road.

You'll also find that with many second hand cars of £10k, say a Focus-sized car that's about 2-3 years old, that the nice compliant ride when new has 'worn off' a bit, whereby you do feel the bumps a bit more, hence why the choice of tyre and car generally is important.

You'll find it difficult, if not impossible to satisfy all of your criteria - as others have said, you'll need to compromise on something, at least a bit. The Mazda3 SE-L 2 ltr petrol does score well, as does the Leon 1.4 FR (3 or 5 dr), though probably more firm a ride on the bad road but better on the performance front. About the same handling-wise, the Mazda doing better on the reliability front (petrol only) and Leon on exterior looks. The Golf would've been there if it weren't overpriced. A Focus might fit the bill if you can find a 1.5T petrol model without low profile tyres and that 's been looked after (not an auto - too many problems, similarly for the Leon/Golf).

Also bear in mind any 'performance cars' like Beemers, Subarus etc would be alot older, so reliability isn't assured, and would be far more expensive to insure and run, even if they were fault-free. A £10k budget sounds like you're not awash with cash, so better to find a car that is as new as possible rather than flashy. Many offers at the moment with all the pre-regged 17 plate cars coming to market, probably keeping prices of 2 & 3 yo. cars down for a few weeks/month or so.

Best of luck.

Any - Car Chooser - Stanb Sevento

You really need to drive some of these cars V4 Heaven. Most mainsteam car makers do a mildly sporty car that ticks most of your boxes but in reality are very different to drive, some you will like some you will not, and none of them you would call unreliable.

Diesels give better power / fuel economy but do not feel sporty, they are better than before but nothing compares to a high reving petrol engine to put a grin on your face. Out and out power is not needed to enjoy driving twisty roads in fact it can work against it. A slick precision gear change and quick accurate steering with good feel add more than extra power. Quick and sporty are not the same. Some newer cars have a bit of their egerness knocked back to meet emission standards

We all have our favouits and will never agree which is best but for me I would be looking at Mazda 3 and Golf. Mazda in particular found a magic formula with their MX5 that they have rolled out to other models and the Golf is also very good but in a more restained conservative sort of way. There are plenty of other as well.

It can be great fun looking for a car. Interested to know what your thoughs are.

Edited by Stanb Sevento on 14/03/2017 at 10:45

Any - Car Chooser - V4 Heaven
Thank you all for your advice.

The Seat Leon TSI is on my list so it was interesting to hear positive comments about that. I do think they're a bit plasticky inside but I shall get myself a test drive to get a feel for the car.

I was a bit deliberately vague with my detail to see what suggestions you all had.

Diesels are a consideration but as the mpg of the petrol Seat is very close to some of the diesels that are available, plus I prefer the characteristics of a petrol engine, then I think this one is a strong contender.

Despite all of the above, I may go a bit 'left field' and I need to also try a Kia Sportage 1.7crdi and a Hyundai IX35 as I would like to rule these out. They don't quite fit the original request but it's an itch I need to scratch so to speak.

Thanks again.
Any - Car Chooser - SLO76
"Despite all of the above, I may go a bit 'left field' and I need to also try a Kia Sportage 1.7crdi and a Hyundai IX35 as I would like to rule these out. They don't quite fit the original request but it's an itch I need to scratch so to speak."

Both robust cars but not even remotely sporting to drive with numb lifeless steering and the usual compromised and slightly knobbly ride quality most SUV's suffer from. No reason not to try them though, there's not much goes wrong really and the warranties are good if you buy one with a full main dealer service history.

Edited by SLO76 on 15/03/2017 at 23:07

Any - Car Chooser - Paul Robinson

Another 'left field' choice - Ford Fiesta, ticks all the boxes including heated seats available and even standard on some versions....

Any - Car Chooser - Avant

And if the Fiesta is too small, there's the Focus which also ticks most of your boxes, V4 Heaven. There are lots of both models around to choose from, and because Fords lose their value quickly, a used one can be a very good buy.

 

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