Golf plus - Small family car - Horace123
Would like some advice on a small family car. Currently got a mini one,had it for around 8 years with no trouble until the gearbox went last year and had an awful experience with a garage to get it repaired. Recently had our first baby so could do with something a bit bigger. Criteria is:
Not too big (mrs struggles parking the mini so an estate is a no go)
Remotely interesting to drive
Decent sized boot
Quiet on the motorway (can barely hear each other speak in the mini so something a bit more refined would be nice)

Do a mixture of town and motorway driving,around 8k a year,was thinking petrol,and a budget of around 7k.

The cars I have looked at are a golf plus, like the raised height and the adjustable back seat.

Honda Civic mk 8, liked the magic seats (really don't like the styling of the mk9)

Skoda rapid space back, big boot but a bit basic inside.

Kia venga, decent room inside but found the dash a bit cluttered,seemed to be buttons everywhere

Any opinion on these cars or anything I've not thought of would be most appreciated! Thanks
Golf plus - Small family car - SLO76
The 8th gen Civic is a good car but it's getting a little long in the tooth now. The 1.8 petrol is virtually unburstable, has plenty of go and will do 40mpg easy enough. But £7-£8k does get you the better made and more refined 9th gen car which will hold its money better. Again the 1.8 is the engine to have but if you can't stand the look then that's off the table. Shame really because it's an excellent family car.

The 2nd gen Toyota Auris 1.6 is another solid option. A bit bland to look at and drive but it's safe, utterly reliable and the estate in particular will always be an easy sell later on.

If you're willing to spend a bit more (£9k or so) the Mazda 3 2.0SE is a brilliant car. Much nicer to drive than either of these two but equally as reliable.

The Ford Focus with the old Yamaha designed 1.6 petrol is a good robust and enjoyable to drive small family car you shouldn't rule out. Avoid at all costs the 1.0 Ecoboost and the 1.6 TDCi though.

The 3rd gen Seat Leon is another good car and the 1.2 TSi SE is around in decent numbers at around £8k. It goes well enough (quicker than most 1600's) and will do 50mpg easy enough.

The Skoda Rapid is based on the previous gen Polo platform and suspension set up and is a bit basic but it's likely to drop heavily in value in petrol form with the bulk of demand for these coming from taxi operators who all want diesel.

The Kia Venga is a good wee car again but depreciation will be heavy as with all Kia's and Hyundai's past 5yrs old. The Cee'd is a better driver and available in plentiful numbers around your budget. Buy only with a full main dealer history or that 7yr warranty is impossible to claim on. Reliable and longlived these are good cars for longterm ownership but they will be harder to sell on than mpst of the others.

The Golf Plus is a bit awkward looking and again struggles used. It's not as nice to drive or look at as the Golf itself and you'll find a better car in the Seat Leon for the money.

Happy shopping!

Edited by SLO76 on 09/09/2017 at 10:10

Golf plus - Small family car - Horace123

Thanks for your reply!

I discounted the auris as a lot of reviews said it was noisy on the motorway? Suppose would have to take one out for a drive and listen for myself.

The managers at work have seat leons and speak highly of them so will take a look at them.

Depreciation isnt too much of an issue as it is a car i plan on running into the ground really.

Golf plus - Small family car - SLO76
"Depreciation isnt too much of an issue as it is a car i plan on running into the ground really."

I'd probably be wary of the Leon in that case then. The TSi engines are still to prove themselves in the longterm while the normally asperated Honda, Toyota and Mazda engines are known quantities in this regard with very few worries if any as is the Yamaha 1600 used in many Ford Focus models.

If you're buying to keep it into its dotage then keep it as simple as possible. I'd avoid diesels and small capacity turbos.

Try all of them to see how they suit you. I found the Auris comfortable and reasonable regarding road noise, certainly no worse than most rivals. The Focus is the most fun and the Honda the most practical. The Mazda 3 is a great middle way, with fluid handling and a reasonably pliant ride combined with Japanese reliability.

Edited by SLO76 on 09/09/2017 at 19:52

Golf plus - Small family car - badbusdriver

About 3.5 years ago my wife and I were checking out possible candidates for our next new car. One of the options was the seat leon, but I was disappointed at the amount of road noise we experienced during our test drive. For this reason we plumped for the hyundai i30 which we found quieter on the road.

Golf plus - Small family car - Boroman
I have a '13 plate 1.6 Auris excel which is fine as far as noise levels on the motorway are concerned. The engine is inaudible, no issues with wind noise, there can be some road noise on coa*** surfaces but much less since I replaced the tyres with Michelin cross-climates.
It's a very good, comfortable and totally reliable car.
Golf plus - Small family car - iFocus

I'd recommend you try a MK3 Ford Focus.

For around £6,000 you'd get a low mileage 2012 1.6 Ti-VCT version and I can highly recommend it. You might get a 1.6 Ecoboost in your price range but it might have higher mileage; try to steer clear of the 1.0 though as it's renowned for being unreliable!

It fits most of your criteria, being very refined and one of the most interesting family cars on the market. It may not be the most spacious car in it's class but it'll be a step up from your mini.


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