Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - Sorceress

I'm a first time buyer who has very little knowledge about cars and their configurations and would like some suggestions for a 'reliable car' with an automatic transmission and with an engine size between 1.6-2.0L, and for less than £3000.

So far I've been suggested (by no car enthusiasts) the Ford Focus Zetec 1.6L and the BMW 320D 2.0L which both seem appealing enough, but I don't want to make any decisions without being consulted by someone who's more informed.

I'm 23 years old and have held a license for only 4 years with no no claims and so I'm completely aware the cost of insurance will be considerably high so a smaller car would be more preferable (I know I can't be too picky as my criteria is very limiting but I'd also prefer something very standard-looking and not too garish or just ugly).

I look forward to hearing from you enthusiasts!

Thank you

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - RobJP

Well, first off, what do you NEED a car to do ?

Regularly carry children, a number of people ? Carry (for example) a dog ? Is it in town / city driving, or motorway use ?

Avoid the BMW 320d - or any other 'premium' brand - at your price brakcet. Especially with an auto, you could have huge bills.

Again, anything diesel at your price bracket should be avoided.

My initial thought is something like a Mazda3. 1.6 litre Petrol, CVT autobox. Boringly reliable - though it's always possible to get a dodgy one, at that price it's likely to be an 8 or 9 year old car.

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - Avant

I agree - that's a good suggestion, as it has a proper automatic gearbox (these are either torque converter or Continuously Variable Transmission). A Kia Ceed is another one worth looking at; so are the Hyundai i20 and i30. Avoid semi-automatic gearboxes (jerky), the Ford Powershift and the VW Group cars with DSG (both of these may be unreliable).

Also avoid diesel cars as at your price range they can go expensively wrong.

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - SLO76
Forget the BMW, especially a diesel. These are costly for parts and prone to expensive failure at this age/money.

The Focus is a good shout, with either the Yamaha designed 1.6 or Mazda 2.0 in auto form. Both are robust and use a traditional torque converter gearbox. Nice to drive, practical and cheap enough for parts these make good budget buys. Auto Trader:

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170520565...0

The Mazda 3 is another good shout. Based on the same suspension architecture and floorpan of the Focus plus shares its gearbox but uses Mazda's bulletproof chain driven 1.6 engines, these are again very pleasant to drive, reliable and cheap enough for most bits and pieces thanks to the volume of them sold over here. A very good car all round. Just watch for rust. Auto Trader:

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170711727...4

The Honda Civic 01-05 is another good small auto. Watch out for failing steering racks, it'll feel sticky, requiring constant correction at speed and you may hear a rattle from the front end which the seller may describe as an anti-roll bar bush or something simple. It's quite costly to do but don't let this put you off looking, these are otherwise very robust cars. The later bullet shape model is best avoided in auto spec. Auto Trader:

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170516550...2


Kia Cee'd is another worthy but watch for structural rot particularly in front crossmember and subframe. Otherwise a good car if not as nice to drive as the Focus or Mazda.
Auto Trader:

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170612637...5

Toyota Corolla is a very robust and longlived option too. These are a bit dearer but will generally outlast anything else. Auto Trader:

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170602604...4

Above all keep it simple. Stick to petrol, stick with a normal torque converter gearbox (as fitted to all of these) and forget premium brands, diesels, anything turbocharged or also anything laden with gadgets. Go for something simple as listed above and look for a full service history with proof of annual oil changes. Remember also that small autos aren't the easiest sell in the U.K. so the dealer won't have an army of buyers chasing it so bargain hard for money off but also remember it'll be worth little when you come to sell on. The only two exceptions here are the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic 2001-2005) which are both in demand as autos even into old age.

Edited by SLO76 on 19/07/2017 at 06:38

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - pd
. Remember also that small autos aren't the easiest sell in the U.K. so the dealer won't have an army of buyers chasing it so bargain hard for money off but also remember it'll be worth little when you come to sell on. The only two exceptions here are the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic 2001-2005) which are both in demand as autos even into old age.

Certainly agree ref the cars but not that there is low demand for small autos. I always find there is masisve demand and the challenge is picking them up for anything like a reasonable price.

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - SLO76
"Certainly agree ref the cars but not that there is low demand for small autos. I always find there is masisve demand and the challenge is picking them up for anything like a reasonable price."

Maybe it's different elsewhere but up here they do sell for noticeably less and anything I've taken with an autobox have been hard work to shift. Exceptions are granted to the Civic (excluding i-shift) and Corolla and also any Honda Jazz with sensible mileage despite the early CVT not having a good reputation and thus why I don't recommend it. There will be stronger demand in cities but in more rural settings and smaller towns few want a small auto.

Edited by SLO76 on 19/07/2017 at 09:31

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - skidpan

Why automatic? Your £3000 will get you a newer, better to drive and potentially less of a money pit than an older auto.

My pick would be the Focus but with 1.8 engine. The 1.6 is a fine unit in smaller cars but in a Focus the 1.8 is far more flexible with little penalty in running costs.

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - nellyjak

Whatever you seriously look at...do your research.!...and take someone with you who has some degree of understanding and knowledge.

Doesn't need to be an "expert"...just needs common sense and the ability to cover the basics.

Never be afraid to walk away..there will always be another one.

Personally I'd go with Toyota...but I am biased, my wife and I having 2 Toyotas currently....and 2 before those..lol

Good luck.

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - madf

One word of advice about autos. DO NOT BUY an automated manual gearbox.

This means MMT with Toyota and various other names from others. They don't work very well, and when things do go wrong - which is often, it is £££s.

So when you take a helper make sure they know which ones are not automated manuals..

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - nellyjak

Whatever you seriously look at...do your research.!...and take someone with you who has some degree of understanding and knowledge.

Doesn't need to be an "expert"...just needs common sense and the ability to cover the basics.

Never be afraid to walk away..there will always be another one.

Personally I'd go with Toyota...but I am biased, my wife and I having 2 Toyotas currently....and 2 before those..lol

Good luck...and yes, as other posters have mentioned...I should have added that the MMT "auto "should be avoided.

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - pd
"Certainly agree ref the cars but not that there is low demand for small autos. I always find there is masisve demand and the challenge is picking them up for anything like a reasonable price." Maybe it's different elsewhere but up here they do sell for noticeably less and anything I've taken with an autobox have been hard work to shift. Exceptions are granted to the Civic (excluding i-shift) and Corolla and also any Honda Jazz with sensible mileage despite the early CVT not having a good reputation and thus why I don't recommend it. There will be stronger demand in cities but in more rural settings and smaller towns few want a small auto.

In the South East there is always demand. Mainly people of a certain age 55-75ish who want to downsize with their car but do a lot of town work so want an auto. My mother and pretty much everyone she knows would be a good example!

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - SLO76
"In the South East there is always demand. Mainly people of a certain age 55-75ish who want to downsize with their car but do a lot of town work so want an auto. My mother and pretty much everyone she knows would be a good example!"

I'll buy em and transport them down to you.
Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - RobJP
I'll buy em and transport them down to you.

Ahh, reminds me of a few years ago. Myself and a couple of mates (legitimately using trade plates, all profits taxed and paid quite happily, I hasten to add) would buy 'prestige' SUVs in BCA Preston, Manchester, Brighouse, and drive them down to Blackbushe to sell there. Quite often we'd buy pickups or more utilitarian SUVs in Blackbushe, and bring them back up to Preston to sell there.

Fun times, and we made decent money doing it too !

Car - Car suggestions for a first time buyer! £3000 - Sorceress

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