Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - Snortan

My friend is looking to change his 2000 VW Passat, he's been really happy with the car but the car is reaching it's end of life and now would like to try some other model.

He likes the shape of Audi A4, Mazda 3 and 6 but is not sure of how reliable or trustworthy would these make.

He'll mainly use the car for work, needs it to be saloon style for the boot space, he's thinking diesel for fuel economy and idealy not less reliable or more expensive at maintaining/parts than his previous Passat

What do you guys think?

Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - badbusdriver

Diesel is not going to be advisable at this price. What mileage does he cover?

Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - Snortan

Can I ask why? 50-100 miles a day, 5 days a week

Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - badbusdriver

Due to issues with the reliability of current diesel technology, specifically emissions related stuff like dpf filters and ad-blue. But with that miles, it is getting to the point where diesel would be better, at least until they are banned from city centres!.

I'm no expert, but from what I have read on this forum since I've been using it, the last properly reliable VAG diesel would have been the 1.9 your friend probably already has under the bonnet of his passat!. And frankly, there isn't a lot else that I can remember being praised.

Hopefully SLO (motor trader) will be along soon to offer some suggestions.

Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - SLO76
I wouldn't advise diesel at this price point, there's too much that can and almost certainly will go wrong. Keep it simple, stick with a normally asperated petrol engine. The fuel savings in a diesel will more than wiped out by the higher repair costs involved. Modern oil burners just aren't as reliable as older generation examples and are much more expensive to repair which largely makes them a false economy below £7-£8,000.

The Mazda 3 and 6 are both good options here particularly the 3 which is a cracking wee car to drive and mechanically pretty much bombproof. The saloon is rare but also cheaper to buy as its less popular than the 5dr hatch. Rust is the only real enemy, though sticky brake calippers are fairly common but hardly a big problem. The 1.6 PSA diesels in the 3 are notoriously unreliable and best avoided even if you can find one that's still running at this age.

The 2.0 diesel in the Mk I 6 can be a nightmare too with injector, turbo and other problems while the 1.8 and 2.0 petrols are again pretty much vice free and ok on fuel. Rust again is the biggest worry but these are great value with genuinely good cars available from £800.

The Mk II 6 is a more complex car and it has a DPF on all diesels which can and most likely will cause trouble on any sub £2.5k example. The 2.0 petrol with 6sp manual box is the pick with little to worry about mechanically and genuine 40mpg plus economy. I ran one for a while and it was an excellent big car.

I'd also include in the search the Mk II Ford Focus with either the 1.6 Yamaha designed petrol or 1.8/2.0 Mazda L series units as used in the 6. Great wee car to drive, cheap to buy, cheap to maintain and loads to choose from. Not that great on fuel though but high 30's is possible. It also uses the same PSA 1.6 diesel the 3 uses and an old Ford 1.8 which can be ok if it's been looked after (it's an older design and there's no DPF to worry about) there's also a gutsy but rare PSA 2.0 diesel but again these will have a DPF though it's basically a good engine.

Honda Civic is another worthy in 1.8 petrol as is the Honda Accord in 2.0 petrol. Both fit for 200,000 miles and both are ok on fuel, the Civic will easily break 40mpg.

Toyota Corolla, Auris and Avensis are also worthy of a look too. The petrols are again pretty much hassle free and decent on fuel and the 2.0 D4D can be fine if it's been looked after and is pre-DPF.

Edited by SLO76 on 28/07/2017 at 21:19

Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - SkodaIan

If he's only got a budget of £2.5k, he may be better spending about £1.5k and keep the other 1k to buy another car if the first one expires. Any 10 year old car is a bit of a gamble. It may last for years, or something major may go wrong in a few months.

A late MK1 Octavia ( if he can find one not used as a taxi!) would be a reasonable bet. My wife got rid of her 03 reg for a few hundred pounds at 130k miles a couple of years ago. It's still going and at the last MOT, the new owner has taken it past 180k. It was the 2.0 petrol, and did 40ish mpg in the motorway.

Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - gordonbennet

ebay 122612089758 (advert ends this afternoon if not already sold)

1 owner (+pre reg) Kia Magentis 10 plate 64k mile Diesel, FSH (receipts) offered at £2900 with best offer invited.

mot history clear, 1 advisory for parking brake needing attention in 2015, if that had been an estate (why Kia/Hyundai did you not, you'd have wiped the board) i'd be on the phone meself thismorning.

Edited by gordonbennet on 29/07/2017 at 07:10

Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - barney100

Bloke I know does the bangernomics with good results. Latest is a petrol Merc E Class est for £500 which so far has been fine...9 months or so. Needs to have a decent mot left, check for leaks, good tyres and everything else you can see, start it up looking for the dreaded blue smoke from cold and if all that lot is looking good take a punt. Volvos are worth looking for as they are capable of huge mileage.

Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - Engineer Andy

Whilst your later post (thanks) indicates your friend will be doing uner normal circumstances sufficient daily and annual mileages to justifiy running a diesel, the money they have available to buy the new car isn't enough to buy a recent model (still in warranty) that would be needed to cover potential problems that might arise in the first year of ownership if it wasn't well run before.

As others have said, many diesel car owners unwisely buy them (complex modern cars, as SLO says) for use on primarily short journeys (below 10 miles) in urban areas and for low annual mileages, so that they cars don't marm up or burn off the accumulations of soot etc, leading to future problems with their cars' emissions regulation systems, which are VERY expensive to fix, and for someone spending only a maximum of £2.5k, that would be far more than they could afford. The problem also is that even for the previous gen cars, like your friend's, they are likely to be a step into the unknown given the likelihood of them knowing exactly how that car was driven and looked after throughout its life.

As such, my thoughts are for their options:

  1. Keep the existing Passat until it either dies or requires a major (very expensive) repair that isn't a standard 'wear and tear' item, such as a clutch, cam belt, tyres or brakes. Save up more money to afford a newer car in a few years time. This would be my preferred option.
  2. Go with the petrol Japanese cars others have spoken of and put up with the extra fuel costs, which are offset by the greater reliability (compared to the later gen of diesel-engined cars) and less repair costs. You'd need to go for one that had a proven full service history, preferably from main dealerships (so you could ask them for proof from their records - a 'stamped book' can be easily faked these days). Even so, its still more of a risk than a car that your friend has known for many years for the reasons I gave earlier, though not as much as buying a replacement diesel-engined car. BTW - does your friend really need a saloon? My Mazda3 (built in 2005) is one, and whilst it has a big boot (405-420 ltr I think) compared to the hatch (about 350 ltr), the boot opening is quite small and so large cube-shaped boxes cannot fit through. For a car that age, better to go for a larger one like the 6 but in hatchback form, which will still have decent space (more than the 3) and a decent boot access. Same goes for other makes and models, where they should also consider estate versions for the same reasons.

One thing I'm wondering is the comment you made about your friend using the car for work - is this commuting only, or including driving whilst on-the-job? If they do a lot of mileage on behalf of their employer, then they should either get a decent car allowance and mileage rate (which should be used to save up towards a much newer car), OR be eligable for a company car (which the firm looks after). If not, and they get just a mileage rate and they do a lot of workplace driving, then their employer isn't a very good one as your friend will be effectively subsidising their employer's costs. If its because they live a long way away from the office, that's more understandable in the recent economic climate, but much of my comments still stand.

If your friend works for themselves/owns the company, then given the low budget, daily commute and workplace driving, they really need to see why they can't afford a newer car, which could be related to how they run the firm (its viability).

Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - corax

"Needs it to be saloon style for the boot space"

I can understand buying a saloon for the privacy of the boot, but for the space an estate is far more versatile.

Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - Snortan

I'll point him to this thread, hopefully he'll chip in with some answers.

As for why he doesn't buy a newer car is because he doesn't see the point of investing more than this in a car.

Workhorse saloon under 2.5k? - Engineer Andy

I'll point him to this thread, hopefully he'll chip in with some answers.

As for why he doesn't buy a newer car is because he doesn't see the point of investing more than this in a car.

Please let them know that more modern diesel cars that he may have considered as replacements, even if well used, can be unreliable and many such components can cost upwards of £1000 to repair or replace, which each would be 40% of the cost of the car itself. Sometimes spending a bit more on something more reliable can work, or, as SLO has pointed out, buying a reliable petrol-engined car and taking a hit on the fuel.

As per my earlier comments and others, its each person's individual cirumstances that are they key, but they need to make sure their both listen to others (like SLO) who have extensive experience and follow their head rather than heart, which sometimes can mean taking a look at their own personal circumstances as I alluded to.


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