Best secondhand motor for £10k? - r_welfare
Hi folks

Thanks to those of you who contributed to my thread recently about a car for a mate for £200-£300.

Just concluded a boozy post-work evening in the pub (yes, I know it's early!) where a colleague has mentioned he wants to go car shopping tomorrow. Here are the essentials:

Budget of £10k. Leaning towards secondhand, but new not totally out of the question.

Car must carry said friend, his girlfriend, and baby to be born in May.

My mate likes prestige motors, but wants something sporty and comfortable. It's probably going to parked on the street so something relatively discreet would also be a bonus.

Must be totally reliable, and he's not known for maintaining a car properly (I know, I know...). To be kept until at least next summer, ideally to be shipped back to Ireland (where he's from) at that time, and to get through their MOT with little or no expense.

Insurance must be reasonable (not much no claims, he's 26).

Economy or outright speed not an issue here in Guernsey (44p/litre, top speed 35mph), but must be able to take a lot of town driving. He's not an automatic transmission fan.

Personally I suggested a new Focus straight away (no VAT here in
the Channel Islands, his p/ex is a totally crackered 1992 Corolla so I think the deal is possible), but bizarrely he's not interested because "the loud indicators drive me mad". Go figure!

I was thinking 3-series coupe (E36) or perhaps a C-Class (if we can find a manual) or A4. We're off tomorrow morning at 11 to trawl the dealers. Not a *huge* amount of choice here in Guernsey but the main makes are well represented (VW/Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Ford, Vauxhall, Mazda, Honda, Renault).

Your thoughts appreciated!

Best secondhand motor for £10k? - bazza
VW Golf or Honda Civic should be painless to own, reliable and fit the bill - nearly new should be in this price range. Golf might hold on to its value better but Civic most likely to be faultlessly behaved and probably a better car overall.
Best secondhand motor for £10k? - r_welfare
I agree Baz, I owned a 98R Civic 1.4 from September 2000 to November 2001, in which time I doubled the mileage (from 17k to 34k) but not one thing went wrong. All it needed was servicing and two new tyres. I'd imagine he'd be more likely to go for the Golf out of the two, but I can see a newish quality coupe like the 3-series will tempt him most.

Cars here don't do big miles (how can you on an island 9 miles by 3?) but do take a hammering on steering, brakes, suspension and clutches...wonder what the best car is for that kind of abuse (apart from a Land Rover, obviously - not sure my mate wants a big 4wd).
Best secondhand motor for £10k? - DavidHM
If you can find a manual C Class, push it off a cliff immediately. That's all it's good for, with its comedy parking break, notchy box and engine that sounds like a cow is trapped under the bonnet. It makes *some* sense as an auto, but none at all as a manual.

FWIW, my money would be on a three year old Audi A3 of some description.
Best secondhand motor for £10k? - r_welfare
Well, the local VW/Audi/Volvo/Porsche dealer had no A3s under £10k, but had a 1997 A4 1.8 auto for £5995. My mate was not impressed by the colour (a kind of aqua green metallic).

The car I think he will go for was at the same dealer - a late 1996 BMW 318i auto cabriolet with 21500 miles in bright red with alloys and the electric roof. It drove perfectly and was generally pristine. Up at £8995, they quoted finance at 4%. Anything to look for particularly on an E36 cabrio? Roof operation seems fine, no wind noise and the plastic back window isn't scratched or ripped (roof itself looks mint), autobox did it's business well.

My preferred car was a 2000 Honda Civic VTI-S at the local Honda dealer with just 2500 miles on the clock for £9,750. Mind you, they are also doing brand new Civic 1.4 3-door "Imagines" with air and a CD player for just 9 grand.

We were both tempted by a 1988 Merc 560SEL with 108k at the same dealer for £5k, no warranty but what a car!
Best secondhand motor for £10k? - Andy P
You could get a 2000(X) Honda Accord Exec 5-door with 2000 miles on the clock. Comes with ABS, electric everything, alloys, aircon, leather and cruise control for £9995. Hondas are one of the best cars in terms of reliability and build quality is better that most. Residuals are strong (all Hondas bar the Insight retain over 50% of their value after 3 years). It's one problem (which may be of some use to you) is that most people seem to ignore it. It's styling isn't "different", so you'll probably find it's unlikely to be nicked.

End of sale pitch.


(P.S. I don't work for or have any affiliation with Honda)
Best secondhand motor for £10k? - r_welfare
I agree Andy - only problem is there just aren't that many cars on Guernsey (24,000 for a population of 65,000), so specific models are hard to find if you're time pressured. I still think the Civic VTI-S I found would be better in the long run than the 318i cabrio my friend favours, but ultimately it's his money and his choice (318i does look a minter though)!
Best secondhand motor for £10k? - DavidHM
I have to say, £9k is cheap for a low mileage, lateish E36 cabrio and, unless he needs something to do big mileages in day in, day out, hard to argue with.
Best secondhand motor for £10k? - Cheeky
Forget Civic 1.4s etc etc. If your mate wants something special & 'prestiege' as you say, I'd go for a '98 Audi A6. They are brilliant - cheaper to cuy and run than a 5 series BMW, and personally I think better looking. All models good - get an SE spec or above if poss. I picked up a 2.4 Tiptronic 'S' reg. for bang on £10k 6 months ago.

Best secondhand motor for £10k? - r_welfare
The A6 is a nice car for sure but, unfortunately, the Audi dealer didn't have any secondhand. It's very hard to get specific models secondhand here in Guernsey - there are probably 10 franchised dealers who carry an average of 15-20 secondhand cars each! The nearest equivalent was an A4 1.8, nice car but truly horrible colour (aqua green metallic). If we had found an A6, I would still have expected insurance to have been a bit high for my friend, plus the size of the car would have counted against him at the moment with parking in the street (it's a bit like trying to park in London round here...)

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