Some help needed with car lease - Thatbwoy

Hello All

This is my first post, been a keen reader for some time but need some advice. But first some useless background infomation. I used to have a Hyundai Santa Fe; it proved to be too expensive for the new job. A bloke in a white van helped me out with this little fact by writing it off for me.

Anyway, was given a VW Golf GTD as a coutesy car, and well the bug hit me. I then had to buy a car , my wife then suggest the current car that would then come her car.


I am in need of a car for work, as I often travel in and around the East of England (mainly between, Herts Essex and Cambridge sometimes going to Norfolk and rarely Nottinghamshire) and with my wife about to sell her car my car will soon become hers. I am looking at a salary sacrifice in order to get the car ( I know some of you might have strong reservations against this but financially this is the best option); my problem is as I do spend on average between three and six hours in my car on trips I want a car that I enjoy sitting in, will not drink fuel like a dehydrated fish, has enough poke to overtake and most I like.

I have whittled my choices down to two choices I think satisfy the above and a third ‘wildcard’ that might confuse matters depending on the responses I get and my ego. What I need is some honest advice on MPG, reliability and other motoring issues from people who have knowledge or more importantly first hand experience of the three cars I have chosen.

The first two are

A. Audi A3 Saloon 2.0 TDI
B. Mazda 3 Fastback Sport-nav Skyactiv-D 2.2

The ‘wildcard’ choice is (and surpringly cheaper option of the three)

BMW 330e sport trim.

Now I would really appreciate honest advice, opinion and entertaining rants to help me decide. Thanks

Some help needed with car lease - RobJP

I've got the current 3 series - a 325d estate. Had it 3 1/2 years, which for me is a miracle, and shows just how good it is. But it's nicely specced, and the fuel economy is reasonable - 50mpg on a long run. I drove from home (North Wales) to Mallaig in the Scottish Highlands (440 miles) in a day a couple of weeks ago, and got out feeling pretty decent at the end of it. Four days later, reversed the trip, and could still function after 8 hours behind the wheel.

No idea on the other 2, sorry. I'd suggest a decent test drive, if possible even arranging to have a car for a weekend and see what it's like for a few hours.

I'd be dubious of the 330e. They're likely to be sold in very small numbers, as the previous 'Active Hybrid' version was.

Some help needed with car lease - Thatbwoy
A test drive is a great idea. I used to own a petrol engine Mazda and so the comparison with the diesel would be a good start.

The thanks for the advice on the 330e.

Some help needed with car lease - SLO76
Assuming you're going to be leasing a new car then handing it back after a three year term then the world's your oyster. Reliability isn't much of a worry as it will be covered by the manufacturer warranty anyway and even the most notoriously troublesome cars will usually run reliably for the first three years.

However Mazda's 2.2 Skyactiv-D engine has developed a bit of a nasty reputation for problems and if you were buying it yourself and intending on longer term ownership I'd leave it be. Despite this the car itself is an excellent choice and the 2.0 petrol although hardly a rocket ship is very pleasant to drive, decent on fuel and likely to outlast you. It's a great longterm choice.

The A3 is a nicely built thing, has plenty of go and is great on fuel. Avoid anything with sports suspension and fat wheels though, it kills the already firm ride quality. If you do lots of short stop start driving you will have DPF issue though.

The current 3 series is a lovely thing to drive and be in but I'd forget the hybrid which simply doesn't live up to its promise. Buy a 320D instead which is plenty quick and great on fuel. Again avoid daft lowered suspension and boy racer wheels. They do suffer loads of issues as they age but again it should be finevover the term you'll have it so why not enjoy something you just like driving. If someone else was paying for it I'd have one of these or a Jag XE.

The Seat Leon and VW Golf are both worthy of a look too. The petrol TSi engines are highly efficient and both are very pleasant to drive. I personally rate the Leon 1.4 TSi FR. It would certainly be cheaper than the Audi or BMW and although it does have sports suspension it's not over the top. Golf GtD or GTi are brilliant but more costly.

Edited by SLO76 on 18/05/2017 at 01:02

Some help needed with car lease - Thatbwoy
Thanks for the advice on the Mazda., I have also considered the Seat Leon as well, might have another look again.

Edited by Thatbwoy on 18/05/2017 at 18:31

Some help needed with car lease - FiestaOwner

Personally, I wouldn’t touch a diesel Mazda. There are far too many problems with recent Mazda diesels (oil dilution when the DPF regenerates, or fails to regenerate causing fuel to be dumped in the sump!). Try googling “Mazda diesel problems”. Of course you’ll get complaints about all cars when you google them, but I’ve seen the Mazda diesel issues quite a few times online, when I wasn’t searching for them.

Even although problems may be covered by warranty it’s still a hassle taking the car back and forward to the garage. Worst case scenario is that the manufacturer/ dealer blames your driving style and won’t fix under warranty.

Don’t feel a diesel Mazda is worth the risk. Their petrols seem to have a good reputation though.

Some help needed with car lease - Engineer Andy

What's your business and private mileage going to be, approximately? Whilst your original post intimates you'll be doing a reasonable mileage, if its under 20k pa then a petrol engined car may still be worth a look as others have said, particularly if most of your annual mileage is business related and they pay for the fuel on business trips. The Mazda3 2ltr petrol would then come into the equation (I agree [sad for me as an owner of a older petrol version for a long time] about the ongoing reliability issues with the Mazda diesels), as would many other similar cars.

If you do more than 20k miles pa and mainly out of town, then diesels are best. I also agree that, if the car is to be bought presumably by your employer and only kept for 3-4 years, then longer-term ownership issues become less of a problem. Look up the 'real mpg' figures on this website for any car you're looking at - a simple calculation should give the difference in fuel costs for your private mileage - it might not be as much as you think, with modern petrol engined cars improving a lot on that score in recent years. Also have a look in the Reviews/Car-by-car section, paying particular attention to the 'Good and Bad' subsection as well as the test drive reports and onwers' reviews.

Best to get the car that is the most comfortable and pleasant to drive, rather than for styling (though I like the Mazda3 fastback [and the exterior styling of the A3 saloon], but I'm biased as I own a mk1 saloon) or sheer performance - go for 'enough' performance: I agree with others that a diesel engine around the 2 litre mark is more than sufficient (2 ltr petrol ok, smaller turbo-petrol engines better for the same power [around 120 - 150bhp mark] as they have higher torque characteristics and are more relaxed for overtaking), but avoid the 'rubber band' tyre models to keep the ride decent.

I would say try for trim models that have preferably wheel and tyre combinations of the following (approximately):

  • Preferably 205/55 R16 (the Mazda3 SE-L Nav [best model] now comes with slightly higher profile 205/60 R16 tyres), or;
  • 17in (R17) wheels with tyres that are xxx/45 profile and not too wide.

18in versions (likely all of those you've chosen) may seem fine on a test drive of a new car on decent roads, but will soon be uncomfortable when used on poor quality roads and after 6 months heavy usage when the tyre begins to wear. I suspect though that many of the offerings you're looking at (unless you get the more basic models which don't have so many toys, some only basic A/C instead of climate control [ok on the Mazda - its on the SE-L Nav) only come with 18in wheels and tyres. You may be lucky and be able to spec a no-cost option to go down to 17in versions, but it depends on whether the model has larger brakes that may only fit the larger wheels.

I agree with other backroomers who say that a test drive (if you can get as long a one over various types of roads, especially on routes you use a lot, that would be great), maybe an extended one over a few days or weekend, would be good to really get to know each car. Spend a decent amount of time trying to get the seating/driving position to be as good as possible, as it can make a huge difference to the comfort level.

Some help needed with car lease - Thatbwoy
Thanks for the reply.

I do about 14-16k business miles and much less personal, about 1-3k. Cannot be really accurate as I started this new job in September and so far have done about 12.5k.

I don't think I will be much more mileage, than about another 4-5k on top of that this year. So a rough estimate of about 17k a year is what I've stated.

I think I have been convinced against the wants of ny ego to opt for 18ins wheels, I think the 17ins are as big as I'd dare to go.

Some help needed with car lease - Avant

The A3 would be my choice, especially if you're going to be able to chop it in after three years. Unless you're doing over 20,000 miles a year, the quietness, economy and excellent torque of the 1.4 TSI could well be preferable to the diesel. If you do need a diesel, the 2.0 is better than the 1.6 any day.

Some help needed with car lease - RichT54

The A3 would be my choice, especially if you're going to be able to chop it in after three years. Unless you're doing over 20,000 miles a year, the quietness, economy and excellent torque of the 1.4 TSI could well be preferable to the diesel. If you do need a diesel, the 2.0 is better than the 1.6 any day.

When I was checking the Audi website recently, I noticed that the 1.4 TFSI in the A3 appears to have been replaced by a 1.5 TFSI engine.

Some help needed with car lease - barney100

Consider a Mercedes c220d?


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