MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - Whiffle

I have had my 2009 Volvo V50 1.8 (manual/petrol) for over a year now and am starting to regret it.

We got it when my son was one and a half, to get all his bags, toys in etc.

Whilst it is an estate, the boot is not particularly big and we often have to put the buggy next to my son, when we gof of a big shop.

To be honest, I never even looked at MPVs at the time - I considered them all ugly and only wanted something with a semi-desirable badge.

Fastforward 12 months and I finally get the appeal of MPVs now, over estates.

What do you recommend? I will have about £5,500.00 to spend.

One quick thing - my car before the Volvo was an old 1996 Merc C200, which I adored (still best car I have ever driven). It was an automatic and I had if for a good ten years or so. Because of this, I really missed driving a manual.

Now I have a manual, I really wish I had an automatic again. The car spend quite a lot of time in traffic and it really is not a particularly nice transmission to use, anyway.

Whilst it isn't an absolute dealbreaker, therefore, I would prefer another automatic if possible.

Thanks

MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - Steveieb
Got to be the HONDA FRV . Japanese reliability especially the petrol version and three seats in the front.
But now in short supply maybe because owners are reluctant to part with them not like the French stuff!
MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - SLO76
You're seriously limiting your options by going for an automatic but both the Mazda 5 2.0 petrol and Toyota Verso 1.8 petrol are available for around your budget with an auto box. Both have enough boot space with the rearmost 2 seats folded and both offer good reliability. Though the auto option on both will use more fuel and be harder to sell on again. I prefer the Mazda to drive in manual form but rate Toyota's gearbox more highly in this case.

The Honda FRV is a great car but hard to find as mentioned and not that big in the boot. Auto is rarer still and it's getting on a bit. The CRV is worth a look in 2.0 petrol auto form but it's thirsty and as with all SUV's the ride is a bit bouncy.

Do not even think about a French option here! If you want a Scenic, Picasso or 5008 then keep it as simple as possible. Manual box and petrol engine only.

I'd also consider a larger estate such as the Toyota Avensis 1.8 auto. It's much larger than the V50 and they're great value used. Again petrol is best. For your budget this is where you'll get the best value and lowest mileage.

As for driving with the child and buggy in the back seat, stop and think!!! If you have even a relatively minor crash the child is dead or seriously hurt! Do not drive anywhere with sizeable loose luggage in the cabin or with the parcel shelf off. I all too often see people doing this, carrying a pram in the boot or luggage that's too big for the car and in an impact it's going to go straight into the face of a rear facing child seat. There's no excuse. Get the shopping delivered or get someone to babysit.

Apologies for the rant but to get your head round this spend a half hour looking at crash tests on YouTube to understand just what forces would be at play even in a low speed impact.
MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - Avant

"Whilst it is an estate, the boot is not particularly big and we often have to put the buggy next to my son, when we gof of a big shop."

I agree with SLO - surely while you still have the Volvo, you can put the buggy in the boot and some of the shopping on the back seat or in the footwells?

An obvious alternative would be a Skoda Octavia estate, which has a much nicer manual gearchange than the V50: but if you want an auto, your budget will buy you one of an age when the DSG can go wrong, expensively. So as SLO suggests, an Avensis estate is worth looking at, as is the Mazda 6 estate (petrol only - don't touch a Mazda diesel).

If these are hard to find, there are lots of Fords to choose from: the Mondeo is huge and you might find a Focus estate big enough to take buggy and shopping.

MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - nellyjak

If you want reliability, space and comfort...plus a nice ride height, then you could consider a 2.4 auto Toyota Previa,.?

I have the V6 Estima (which is the Japanese import...but a Previa nevertheless) and it has all the space, comfort, luxury, bells and whistles you could ever want.

MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - corax

I have the V6 Estima (which is the Japanese import...but a Previa nevertheless) and it has all the space, comfort, luxury, bells and whistles you could ever want.

If that is the 3.0 then it is a bombproof engine, but I dread to think what the fuel consumption is, pray tell :-)

With the long lasting qualities of these cars though, it's a good candidate for an LPG conversion.

MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - nellyjak

I have the V6 Estima (which is the Japanese import...but a Previa nevertheless) and it has all the space, comfort, luxury, bells and whistles you could ever want.

If that is the 3.0 then it is a bombproof engine, but I dread to think what the fuel consumption is, pray tell :-)

With the long lasting qualities of these cars though, it's a good candidate for an LPG conversion.

Yep...3 litre Auto V6 220 horses.!....(1MZ-FE engine)...bomb proof and so silky, quiet, smooth..it is a dream to drive..but if certainly has a kick if you want to "press on".. (and I do sometimes.!)...it does surprise a few peeps when I give it some wellie...after all..it's an MPV...lol

MPG.?...doesn't bother me as I don't do enough miles per annum for it to be an issue tbh..which is why I wouldn't consider LPG.

Best I've got out of it is around 33/34mpg...200 mile trip..mixed motoring but no great rush...I can of course easily knock 10-15mpg off that should I wish to drive it more spiritedly..or shorter journeys in Winter.

But I don't mind...it's such a lovley vehicle to be in..and to drive...I'm happy to pay the price.!

MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - Whiffle

Thank you very much for all your input.

A lot of really great advice there - you are of course completely correct about the buggy and I will immediately put a stop to that. I did always fasten it in place with a seatbelt and a clip tie but I completely agree that it has no place other than the boot.

Having looked around at the market, I completely agree that it is a mistake to try to go with an auto - a petrol manual it is.

It is very interesting that Avant mentions the V50 gear change - when you say that the manual gear change is much nicer on the Octavia, do you you mean that the Octavia is well above average or the V50 is particularly poor (or both)?

The reason I say that is that I have driven lots of cars over the 18 years I have been driving and the V50's gearbox is the first that I just could not get on with. It is the worst I have ever had to use. I looked into this a while back and could not find enough people saying the same thing - I figured it was my problem, rather than the car's.

This is probably why I was eager to try and get back to an auto tramsission.

I have to admit - I really do look the like of Mazda 5.

I also completely agree that Ford looks like a really sensible option too - not only are there loads to choose from but you seem to get a lot of car for the money. Another plus point is that I live in Essex, so there are load to choose from, locally.

I also love the idea of having tmore than 5 seats, for occassional use.

I take it, that my only options for a Ford/Manual/Petrol/7 seats is the S-Max, Galaxy and Grand C-Max?

Edited by Whiffle on 16/06/2017 at 15:06

MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - badbusdriver

Your chances of finding a grand c max with a petrol engine for less than £5.5k is pretty slim. That leaves the s max and galaxy, both of which are 'full size' 7 seaters, which is fine if that's what you want, but you give the impression that 7 seats would be handy to have, not essential. If that is the case, the mazda 5 or toyota verso would be better options.

MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - SLO76
Can't say I've ever found the V50 gearbox exactly obstructive or unpleasant in any way, perhaps you are just too used to the previous auto.

As for the S-Max, well the 2.0 petrol is basically a Mazda L series unit as used in the Mazda 3,5,6 and MX-5. It's very robust if serviced annually and has few vices unlike the diesels but it does lack midrange pulling power which is especially noticeable in such a large car. They're also quite rare. I'd still favour one over a diesel at this money though and there's always the option of the storming 5cyl 2.5 turbocharged Volvo engine but fuel economy plummets to 25mpg at best. Great fun for scaring the kids and boy racers if fuel economy isn't that important. Nice big things to drive and be driven in and as everyone mistakenly wants the diesels dealers are usually keen to offload any petrol examples.
MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - KenMavor

Toyota previa/estima hybrid or avensis verso import.

MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - Big John

Stage left - Vauxhall Zafira Petrol (NOT DIESEL - they are poor!!) . There were some fantastic run-out deals as the model changed at 63/14 reg and these are on the used market now at around your budget with lowish mileage

Edited by Big John on 16/06/2017 at 20:37

MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - SLO76

Stage left - Vauxhall Zafira Petrol (NOT DIESEL - they are poor!!) . There were some fantastic run-out deals as the model changed at 63/14 reg and these are on the used market now at around your budget with lowish mileage

I rate the Zafira as a cheap family wagon. They're smooth riding, spacious and pretty robust if you buy the right one. The 1.9 Fiat diesel is best avoided but the 1.7 Isuzu is very strong if looked after and you do enough mileage to suit a DPF equipped motor while the 1.6 petrol is painfully slow when loaded but rarely goes wrong again if serviced regularly but the 1.8 VVT is known for VVT pulleys going wrong which can throw the timing belt and ruin the engine if left unattended too long. These are often bought on tight budgets and treated like white goods with the bare minimum of maintenance or none at all. The bulk I look at have little or no history and have usually seen a hard life.
MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - daveyK_UK
I would consider a Vauxhall Zafira 1.8 petrol or if your budget will stretch to it a Vauxhall Zafira tourer 1.8 or 1.4 / 1.4 turbo petrol.

If going for the earlier Vauxhall Zafira, the 1.8 petrol is considerably better than the 1.6 petrol with no real loss in fuel economy .

Vauxhall Zafira surprisingly decent in terms of reliability, can't comment on the Zafira tourer but the owners forum will know more.

Beauty of a Vauxhall is the cheap parts, wide knowledge of the problems and cheap purchase prices as they are sold on mass

Edited by daveyK_UK on 17/06/2017 at 20:44

MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - Cymrogwyllt

At that price point I'd be more concerned about condition than model

Estate/MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - Whiffle

Thank you for your further input on this - following your further comments, I took some time to do some further research.

Given that I average around 8,000 miles per year, I am pretty much going to have to go with a petrol.

I love the FRV's quirkiness/reliabiltiy but the small boot means I shall have to overlook that.

I am also not now dead set on an MPV - would consider an estate, now, as long as it had a bigger boot than the V50.

The Toyota Avensis 1.8 seems interesting, so I will definitely shortlist that. The Mazda 6 estate also looks good but not many of them for my budget.

I am not really looking at Fords now, as there is not much I can get with my budget.

I still like the idea of the Mazda 5 and shall bear that in mind.

The Zafiras look rather promising too - I agree that you get a lot for your money. I would probably be looking for a 1.8i, as suggseted. The third generation Zafiras are beyond budget too, sadly.

The Zafiras led me to look at the estate offerings from Vauxhall. Both the Astra and Insignia offer big boots and seem very good value too. Are there any reasons not to consider these?

Are there any other estates I should be considering too?

Edited by Whiffle on 29/06/2017 at 18:14

Estate/MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - Avant

"I am not really looking at Fords now, as there is not much I can get with my budget."

Eh?

The Fords that might suit you - Focus and Mondeo estates and the C-Max - have all been around for years and there will be plenty of petrol ones around to suit your budget. That's also true of the Vauxhall Zafira.

Estate/MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - SLO76
"The Zafiras led me to look at the estate offerings from Vauxhall. Both the Astra and Insignia offer big boots and seem very good value too. Are there any reasons not to consider these?"

The Astra J from 2010 is a great used buy as long as you again avoid the 1.3 & 2.0 Fiat diesels, even the later Fiat based (though Vauxhall deny this) is still a bit of an unknown but petrol is the only real route for you anyway and the old 1.6 petrol is pretty longlived (although it does have VVT it's not as prone to issues as the 1.8) and the much harder to find 1.4 turbo is quicker and no worse on fuel but definitely worth looking at. Oversupply kills resale values but makes them good value to buy to start with.

I'd leave the Insignia which is saddled with the 1.8 VVT unit I warned against before in the Zafira. It's also sluggish in such a heavy car. Again you can get a 1.4 turbo if you can find one and these are great value. I just found a great car on Auto Trader:

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170629688...2
Estate/MPV for up to £5,500.00 - what do you recommend? - kiss (keep it simple)

We managed OK in an Audi A4 with 2 kids 17 months apart. The boot couldn't take a double buggy except for the Stroller type. Apart from that it was fine, but holidays necessitated a roof box. I was dead against a people carrier or mega-estate. You just adapt to what you can carry. Now have a Mazda6 mk2 hatch and 2 teeneagers and can fit in enough for a family ski trip (2pairs of boots, helmets etc.) without need for a roof box. I had a Hyundai i40 estate on hire for a work trip once and I found it was less commodious than my Mazda6 saloon.

 

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