Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - Mrs.S.B
Advice please my dearest gurus,

Family of five, I'm looking to get a Volkswagen (possibly polo), however I'm not entirely sure which is the best one to get. Could I ask you all for your advice my budget is up to £2000. I'm not looking for a speed Demon, or something to live in, however I'm not a small girl I'm 6 foot so everybody needs to fit in. I do believe that everything, if there's anything more you need to know I shall return and answer any questions, I look forward to your experienced advice.

Thank you chaps, Cut loose :)
Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - SLO76
The Polo isn't the best option at this price point. The 3cyl 1.2 petrol is prone to a number of issues and is wheezy at speed, the 1.4 is also not the greatest for reliability and requires a timing belt change every 4yrs which will likely be well overdue on any you look at (around £400 inc water pump) the diesels also require this and while they're strong enough (particularly the 1.4 and 1.9 TDi's) they suffer from plenty of diesel related issues largely due to the age and mileage you'll be looking at.

I'd forget a Mk V Golf at this money as again they're trouble prone (ABS control module, carbon build up on FSi engines etc etc) and rust attacks them around the wheel arches and tailgate. Most early examples will have seen cheap paint repairs to hide this.

I'd sooner have a Mk II Mazda 2 with the smooth chain driven 1.3 petrol. It's much nicer to drive, much more reliable and offers similar interior space. They don't seem to rust the same as older Mazda's too. Auto Trader:

www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/20170731788...4

Others to consider too...
Mazda 3 1.6 petrol
Ford Fiesta 1.25/1.4 petrol
Ford Focus 1.6/1.8 petrol
Toyota Yaris
Toyota Corolla.

Edited by SLO76 on 22/08/2017 at 11:41

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - Avant

At your budget level condtion is much more important than make or model. That said, SLO's suggestions of Japanese cars (more chance of getting a good one) and Fiestas (lots around to choose from) make good sense.

Also, at 6 ft and looking for a small car, make sure you can fit in it and drive it comfortably. Some of SLO's suggestions are for the next size up, which might suit you better. Try the Honda Jazz for size too.

Edited by Avant on 22/08/2017 at 11:48

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - SLO76
"Try the Honda Jazz for size too."

Good call but watch out for noisy thrust bearings (you'll notice it) and poor servicing. Too many on tight budgets buy these then neglect them. If you can find one with an elderly longterm owner they're good but the Mazda and Fiesta are both much nicer to drive.

Avant is totally correct regarding placing condition and history over make and model. A well maintained Polo that has a full history and been owned longterm would be better than a neglected Mazda 2. All things equal though I favour Japanese engines. The 1.25/1.4 Fiesta and 1.6 Focus use a Yamaha design and the 1.8 Focus a Mazda motor.

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - Stumblebum

At this price range I would look at the Honda Civic 2000 to 2005 generation. I ran one up to 120K miles with no problem until it got written off. They look so untrendy you may be able to find one locally which is not high mileage, and in ok condition.

They are great for space. Very child seat friendly if that's an issue. Only downside is getting 3 adults in the back but still better than a Polo.

Look at the 5 door, not the 3 door is it is few inches longer.

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - SLO76

At this price range I would look at the Honda Civic 2000 to 2005 generation. I ran one up to 120K miles with no problem until it got written off. They look so untrendy you may be able to find one locally which is not high mileage, and in ok condition.

They are great for space. Very child seat friendly if that's an issue. Only downside is getting 3 adults in the back but still better than a Polo.

Look at the 5 door, not the 3 door is it is few inches longer.

Another great car but they are getting old now and steering racks are a common failure. I recently sourced one for my brother in law who needed a cheap runabout due to a divorce nightmare. Cost £550 for a very tidy 2002 1.4 5dr with 117,000 miles and it's run without fault from Kilmarnock to Edinburgh daily ever since. £2k will buy the very best late low mileage 2004/05 cars. You'll need more money for a decent Mk 8 which replaced it though. Look out for sticky steering racks and a knocking noise from the front end.

Edited by SLO76 on 22/08/2017 at 13:15

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - galileo

I'd suggest a Hyundai i30, with a family of five and a six-foot driver there will still be a good legroom and space for back seat passengers.

Toyota Auris also seems like a good suggestion, several of those available in the OP's price range

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - TheGentlemanThug

What car do you have at the moment and why are you looking to change? £2000 may be better spent fixing-up your current car instead of buying an old one that'll likely have its fair share of problems.

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - badbusdriver

With such a small budget there is no point or sense in setting your heart on a specific brand or model of car. Any purchase could end up a money pit, and VW, despite what you may think, are no more reliable than any other car.

You really need to be focussing on condition over anything else at that price, and ideally be looking for something which is not going to appeal to a budding boy racer (ie, probably been thrashed to within an inch of its life). Look for something 'unfashionable'.

Also, you say a family of 5, a car in the polo class is going to be a bit tight for all of you. The only smaller car i'd recommend for your needs and budget is the (unfairly overlooked, both when in production and now) ford fusion, which is a taller, squarer fiesta. Good sized cabin and the higher seating position means more leg space in relation to its overall length, and a boot closer in size to the focus than the fiesta. Keep it simple (as should be the case for any potential purchase), petrol engine, manual gearbox. We had one for 3 years (from new, back in 2002), a 1.4 petrol. Brilliant small family car and very underrated.

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - Engineer Andy

With such a small budget there is no point or sense in setting your heart on a specific brand or model of car. Any purchase could end up a money pit, and VW, despite what you may think, are no more reliable than any other car.

You really need to be focussing on condition over anything else at that price, and ideally be looking for something which is not going to appeal to a budding boy racer (ie, probably been thrashed to within an inch of its life). Look for something 'unfashionable'.

Also, you say a family of 5, a car in the polo class is going to be a bit tight for all of you. The only smaller car i'd recommend for your needs and budget is the (unfairly overlooked, both when in production and now) ford fusion, which is a taller, squarer fiesta. Good sized cabin and the higher seating position means more leg space in relation to its overall length, and a boot closer in size to the focus than the fiesta. Keep it simple (as should be the case for any potential purchase), petrol engine, manual gearbox. We had one for 3 years (from new, back in 2002), a 1.4 petrol. Brilliant small family car and very underrated.

Essentially they could look at the Mazda2 from the same time - its mostly the same as the Fusion underneath and very reliable too by all accounts. One thing to note is that the Fusion (I can't speak for that Mazda2, nothing like the one from 2007) was, unlike its Fiesta sibbling, a poor handling car unless you bought an upper model with the stability control package (its in the HJ review).

I would say that fitting 5 (especially if there are going to be growing kids [or adults] in the back) in any any of those cars will be quite a squeeze to say the least. Little kids, maybe (though as others have said, if they all have to have child seats, would there be enough room to fit them all?).

For the budget, it may be worth looking to spend the money on keeping the existing car on the road (unless a HUGE bill is the reason for dumping it) as well as looking at a known-reliable medium sized car such as the Focus or Mazda3 in petrol form. As others have said, condition and maintenance history is key - a car may have done more mileage or older, but if well looked after will be more reliable than one that is newer and/or younger and hasn't been cared for. As well as looking at the service history (and of general maintenance carried out), its always worth checking the MOT hostory of the vehicles you're specifically looking at on:

www.gov.uk/check-mot-history

...and a general (basic) vehicle check to see if the details match the car (not a HPi check) on:

www.gov.uk/get-vehicle-information-from-dvla

The MOT history will show up whether the car has had a littany of faults or not and is a good guide to whether any of its owners have been lax in its maintenance - if its had many failures, particularly on tyre tread depth (bald tyres) or several items that were 'advisories' that were left unfixed until they became a 'fail' item (often for more than a year), to me, that indicates either an unreliable car (it could be just luck, but you still want to avoid it) and/or one that wasn't cared for.

It should be said that there are both ups and downsides to getting a low mileage car, especially when owner by an elderly and/or disabled person. Most are well-maintained, far more so than the average (and especially younger owners) car owner, but some are not, perhaps due to a health condition or age leading to them forgetting, hence why seeing the service and (if possible) maintenance history (repairs, receipts, etc) is really useful. These cars often are low mileage as they almost exclusively do short trips to the local shops and very few longer ones - its not too much of an issue for the petrol-driven ones that don't have a direct injection (GDI) engine, which can clog up a bit, though not as much as modern diesels (which cost far more to fix when they do), however it sometimes is better to go for a car that has done a reasonable mileage if all other aspects are the same.

Obviously with older cars, some may imminently need replacements of wear-and-tear items such as clutches, exhuasts, brake pads and/or discs, even steering racks (one of the few faults with early 2000s Civics), as well as general corrosion (a problem with some early Mazda3 mk1s). For whatever cars you're actually going to look at, check HJ's Reviews/car-by-car section for each model (Good & Bad sub-section is really handy) and if the OP isn't much into cars, then take along someone who does have some reasonable knowledge if you can't afford to bring along someone from the AA or RAC (about £120 - £150: worth it if there's no-one else - just save up a bit longer).

As the OP will more likely be buying from a small independent dealer or a private sale, then the chances of them being ripped off with a more difficult path of redress is higher than with a newer car from a main dealer, hence why having someone with car knowledge go with them is, I think really useful, as is asking friends, work colleagues and family whose opinion they trust for possbile reasonable dealers they could look at: word of mouth is far better than going by an and in the local paper or internet (where reviews can be faked).

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - badbusdriver

I'm afraid I have to take issue regarding your comments on the fusion Andy. 1st, I have just read the honest John review of the car, and it does not say it handles poorly. What it does say is that the fusion doesn't handle as well as the fiesta, which is not the same thing at all. Not that I agree, as, having driven both back to back, I could discern little difference, certainly nothing that couldn't be explained by the fiesta's lighter kerb weight. And I also have to say, I've had quite enough of the 'dissing' which the fusion consistently receives. Especially when it comes to to whether or not there is any point in buying one over a fiesta. The answer to this is very simple, if you need more room than a fiesta has, but don't want or need to go up to a focus, get a fusion. It has usefully more cabin and boot space than the fiesta, but is virtually the same size (length and width). Also, if you have mobility problems, like my wife, you will definitely appreciate how much easier it is to get in and out of the fusion, with its higher seating position. And if all that wasn't enough, a 4 star euro ncap crash test rating was pretty impressive for the time.

I can understand why the fusion tends to get overlooked in this image obsessed market, it just looks a bit dull, especially the lower spec versions. This was not helped by that appallingly cringe worthy advert with the short guy!. Ford missed a trick here as the overall shape of the car had more SUV about it than meriva (which is what ford were aiming at). Had they butched up the styling, just a little, it could have pre-empted the mini-SUV craze, sold much better than it actually did, and would have been a much better effort than the awful eco sport.

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - Engineer Andy

I'm afraid I have to take issue regarding your comments on the fusion Andy. 1st, I have just read the honest John review of the car, and it does not say it handles poorly. What it does say is that the fusion doesn't handle as well as the fiesta, which is not the same thing at all. Not that I agree, as, having driven both back to back, I could discern little difference, certainly nothing that couldn't be explained by the fiesta's lighter kerb weight. And I also have to say, I've had quite enough of the 'dissing' which the fusion consistently receives. Especially when it comes to to whether or not there is any point in buying one over a fiesta. The answer to this is very simple, if you need more room than a fiesta has, but don't want or need to go up to a focus, get a fusion. It has usefully more cabin and boot space than the fiesta, but is virtually the same size (length and width). Also, if you have mobility problems, like my wife, you will definitely appreciate how much easier it is to get in and out of the fusion, with its higher seating position. And if all that wasn't enough, a 4 star euro ncap crash test rating was pretty impressive for the time.

I can understand why the fusion tends to get overlooked in this image obsessed market, it just looks a bit dull, especially the lower spec versions. This was not helped by that appallingly cringe worthy advert with the short guy!. Ford missed a trick here as the overall shape of the car had more SUV about it than meriva (which is what ford were aiming at). Had they butched up the styling, just a little, it could have pre-empted the mini-SUV craze, sold much better than it actually did, and would have been a much better effort than the awful eco sport.

I'm not 'dissing' the Fusion - I actually remember seeing a TV review (possibly Top Gear or 5th Gear) saying lower-spec models without the stablity control weren't the best handling - that doesn't mean they are either unsafe or rubbish, just probably not as good as the Fiesta (not as high sided) and models with stability control, but probably on a par with the more 'boring' Japanese equivalents such as the Honda Jazz or Toyota Yaris Verso. I'm sure it would be fine around town.

I actually like (other than the headlights) the higher-spec models - my sister has owned two of them and currently has a 1.6TD (diesel-of-doom, though it seems to run fine). Nice in that medium metalic blue or off red colour too. The lower spec models don't look so good though.

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - carl233

Had a top of the range Polo recently as a hire car in Spain, was only the second person to have been provided with the car, it had less than 1,000 KM on the clock. I found it disappointing compared to the Fiesta, seemed to lack feel and overall driving appeal. Also I noted some of the screws around the door hinges were already rusting on what was essentially a brand new vehicle, so much for VW quality.

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - daveyK_UK
£2k, need legroom and space, there is only 1 car I would consider which is a 2010/2011 Nissan Note 1.4 petrol.

Check full service history.

Engines run forever, one of the last of the proper Nissan's.
Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - Engineer Andy
£2k, need legroom and space, there is only 1 car I would consider which is a 2010/2011 Nissan Note 1.4 petrol. Check full service history. Engines run forever, one of the last of the proper Nissan's.

At a £2k budget the money needs to be spent on engineering quality and not fancy-pants styling, plush interiors with lots of toys and perceived badge-snobbery. A Polo wouldn't be at the top of my list, as you say, something Japanese, comfortable and hardy/reliable. People on that sort of budget won't be able to afford large repair bills that ineviatbly come with owning a (again, perceived) 'premium badge' car.

Not sure whether it would be worth the OP considering an Almera hatch or Tino for the same reasons, perhaps with the 1.8 petrol engine. SLO may have some advice whether they are worth considering (a late model) in the mix.

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - SLO76
"Not sure whether it would be worth the OP considering an Almera hatch or Tino for the same reasons, perhaps with the 1.8 petrol engine. SLO may have some advice whether they are worth considering (a late model) in the mix."

The Mk II Almera is probably the ultimate example of bland half hearted engineering there is. It's not even that reliable, especially compared to the Nissan's of old. The 1.5 is notorious for timing chain stretch if it hasn't seen regular fresh oil and the front crossmember rots badly which is what writes most of them off eventually. As a sub £1k runabout they make sense if you can find a solid example that's been looked after but they are pretty much the worst thing in the class to drive. A Focus or Mazda 3 are much better both to drive and regarding reliability too. I don't rate them but a mint low miler with full history could be worthwhile under a grand if you don't like driving.
Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - Big John

You'll struggle to fit a family of 5 in any small car. however Honda Jazz or Nissan Note would have my vote. My sister is slightly over 6ft and loves her Honda Jazz - it's also amazingly roomy , she fit's her double bass in it and a passenger!

The slightly bigger Honda Civic would have a lot more room.

At this price / age - condition & service history is all and don't buy a diesel (trouble at this price/age)

Edited by Big John on 23/08/2017 at 23:05

Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - Mrs.S.B
Thank you all so very much. I'm giving the Nissan Note a go, now to find one :)

Really appreciate your help and knowledge and for contributing towards me not making silly mistakes. Thank you all again :) Best wishes
Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - SLO76
Thank you all so very much. I'm giving the Nissan Note a go, now to find one :) Really appreciate your help and knowledge and for contributing towards me not making silly mistakes. Thank you all again :) Best wishes

Robust and spacious wee cars but watch for rattling timing chains on cars that have been neglected. These need proof of annual servicing. Don't buy without it.
Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - Mrs.S.B
Yes, you did say, thank you, will definitely make sure that's a priority before purchase. I've seen a few Honda civics too so now I'm in a choice dilemma!!
Which best model - Volkswagen polo.... - ChrisSam20

As said above Fiesta is a really great option! My local dealer's seem to have lots, they're so popular. i think mainly because theyre so reliable and spacious, maybe look at the ecoboost one i've heard they're good! Also read lots of reviews, the ones on Honest john has done are great! If you're buying from a dealer look them up on trustpilot - you can never to sure.

Edited by Avant on 07/09/2017 at 01:06

 

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