4 cars - Which car shall I go for? - Sorceress

I'm a first-time buyer who is looking for an automatic car suitable for running around in locally. The car will be driven frequently, but it wont be driven over long distances.

I've come across the following 4 cars which are presumably reliable and appropiate for my requirements, but would like more opinions before I make my FINAL decision.

Thank you once again!

Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170719752...3

Peugeot 207 1.6 VTi Sport Tiptronic

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170625675...1

MAZDA3 1.6 Takara

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170607622...2

Volkswagen Golf 1.6 FSI SE

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170707714...1

4 cars - Which car shall I go for? - SLO76
No question, the one owner, full history Mazda 3 is the pick here. All things equal the Mazda and the Focus would be the best two anyway both with reliability and driver enjoyment in mind but the fact this one has only had one owner tells you that it's obviously been a good wee car.

Make sure the service history is genuine though. A good look round it should tell you if it's been well maintained but any doubts over the service stamps (small traders often stamp up service books themselves) then call the garage who did it (look them up, don't use the number on the stamp if it's there) to find out if they've ever seen it. A quick look at other service books in other cars this trader is selling with an eye on the same stamp having been used will tell you if they're up to this trick too.
4 cars - Which car shall I go for? - Sorceress
Why not the golf?
4 cars - Which car shall I go for? - badbusdriver

SLO is presumably working on the assumption you want something reliable.

4 cars - Which car shall I go for? - badbusdriver

SLO is presumably working on the assumption you want something reliable.

Actually, ignore that, I didn't realise the age of car you were looking at, it isn't a DSG. So not sure, but he knows his stuff and will probably clarify later!

4 cars - Which car shall I go for? - SLO76
The Mk V Golf is prone to rust, particularly around the arches and tailgate. They're also known for electrical faults in particular ABS control module failure and the 4yr timing belt interval is another cost (around £250-£350 depending on who does it and whether you do the water pump as you should) which is likely to be due or overdue on any you look at as few will spend money shortly before selling.

The Mazda on the other hand is chain driven so there's no timing belt to worry about and both mechanically and electrically they're pretty vice free. Just rust to watch out for particularly around arches and tailgate again.

It's a better car to drive in my opinion too though the Golf isn't bad in this regard. It doesn't however live up to its reputation reliability wise and isn't as robust as the previous Mk IV.

Edited by SLO76 on 24/07/2017 at 18:57

4 cars - Which car shall I go for? - bazza

That particular Golf also has one of the earlier direct injection engines, and is very prone to carbonisation and all related woes, plus is/was very sensitive to fuel octane rating. There is one in our street and as you say, is rusting significantly in those areas. Definitely avoid.

4 cars - Which car shall I go for? - Avant

I agree - the Mazda by quite a margin out of the four. It's quite a bit newer than the others, and has moderate mileage, not too high and not too low. And Mazdas (petrol ones) have a better reputation for reliabilty than the others.

'One former keeper' might mean that it's had two owners (current and former) but for a 2008/09 car that's still reasonable.

Our regular member Engineer Andy has had a Mazda 3 for a long time and it's done very well for him.

4 cars - Which car shall I go for? - SLO76
"Our regular member Engineer Andy has had a Mazda 3 for a long time and it's done very well for him."

I've flogged plenty of them over the years too without hitch to date... touch wood.
4 cars - Which car shall I go for? - nellyjak

No brainer...Mazda all the way.

4 cars - Which car shall I go for? - Engineer Andy

I agree - the Mazda by quite a margin out of the four. It's quite a bit newer than the others, and has moderate mileage, not too high and not too low. And Mazdas (petrol ones) have a better reputation for reliabilty than the others.

'One former keeper' might mean that it's had two owners (current and former) but for a 2008/09 car that's still reasonable.

Our regular member Engineer Andy has had a Mazda 3 for a long time and it's done very well for him.

Ta. Touch wood mine only has minimal corrosion around the wheel arches, not too bad for an 11yo car. Not sure if the info on the ad is correct about the 0-60 time, given its an auto and a mk1.5, which in manual form was about 0.5 sec slower (I think) than my mk1 (11.1 sec), I would've thought that the auto would be slower by about seconds than the manual at around 13.1 sec as per the mk2, as it uses the same engine variant (changed to get slightly better economy and a much lower CO2 rating). Still perfectly fine to drive I suspect if kept well oiled and properly serviced.

 

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