Considering a new car soon, Help! - StuW
I'm the proud owner of Vauxhall Nova 1.2 i Luxe Plus, which has done me well but i would to move onto something different and perhaps a size up like an small car sized car.
My current car has electric windows and central locking so i'm afraid really need these on my next car!! (i'm not gonna downgrade!) Another factor that i am very concerned about in my next car is reliability, say what you like about novas but mine has always started first time, and never refuses to start in the coldest winder. Also it has excellent fuel consumption and would like a reasonable mpg (ideally about about 40mpg on the motorways since most of my driving is on motorways now). As it my current car doesn't have power steering i would like this on my next one. I don't really want to get any older than k reg and ideally since i intend to keep it for a while i want a mileage of at most 90K. I would like a little more poke than my nova too, especially in the mid range. I am unsure whether to go for petrol or diesel, diesels seem more expensive when they go wrong etc and more service intervals which puts me off a bit.
I would be prepared to pay upto £1600 or am i being unrealistic?
I considering either an Astra 1.4 MPI or 1.7 TD or a Rover 200/400 1.4 16v or 1.8 TD.
An advice on these too bearing in mine my comments above or any other cars that fill my bill would be much appreciated.
Considering a new car soon, Help! - Ian (Cape Town)
As my current car doesn't have power steering i would like
this on my next one.

Can't help with the car models, sorry.
If you get P/S, make sure you understand the principles involved, and the different driving "style" required.
I've seen young "un-sensible" types chew a set on tyres up in 10000ks, overdoing it with P/S.
Considering a new car soon, Help! - StuW
Ian i'm sure what you mean regarding power steering i've driven cars with power steering before i don't know what principles you mean. I far as know power steering only really affects parking which if you have to do a lot of lock to lock can get quite heavy in a non power assisted car, i can't really see how i could wear the tyres out going onto a pas car.
>> As my current car doesn't have power steering i would
>> this on my next one.
Can't help with the car models, sorry.
If you get P/S, make sure you understand the principles involved,
and the different driving "style" required.
I've seen young "un-sensible" types chew a set on tyres up
in 10000ks, overdoing it with P/S.
Considering a new car soon, Help! - Rob the Bus
Hello YSD - welcome to The Back Room!

I wouldn't go for an Astra or Rover TD. If you've never driven a tractor before, then you'll have some idea of what it's like after trying one of the above!!

Personally, I'd recommend a Citroen ZX 1.9TD. Now there's probably been a sharp intake of breath out there, but I had one for a while and it was an excellent car. Cracking mpg, plenty of poke and a few toys inside. Make sure that you buy one with as full a service history as possible and change the cambelt as soon as you can after buying, even if the seller says that it's been done. It may cost a few quid, but at least you're sure it isn't going to snap, ruining the engine!

Take a look at where you can do a national search to get some idea of what these cars go for - I'd guess that you could get maybe an'M' or 'N' for your money.

Good luck!
Considering a new car soon, Help! - CM
Personally, I'd recommend a Citroen ZX 1.9TD. Now there's probably
been a sharp intake of breath out there

Agree with youon this one. I had a 306TD (but would think that this is over the budget) which had the same/similar engine. My mother in law had a ZX and I thought that it was great - quite a gutsy little motor.
Considering a new car soon, Help! - StuW
Thanks for the advice about the other diesels. But although i do quite like the Citreon my only cocern is build quality. my parents have a petrol version of the zx although it seems quite reliable it has had some minor problems nothing major doesn't seem like the damp either, the interior is quite cheap and seems to rattle a bit and i can't stand rattles in a car especially on a long journey!
Also concerning electrics i'm a bit worried about this area as well as i've hear that they are unreliable and citreon with a lot "toys" may be quite expensive to put right if they go wrong.
Some reassurance in these area would be helpful. i do like the citreon but i'm afraid reliability is a big concern for me and if the car did break and not work it could leave me stuck 70 odd miles from where i need to go with an expensive to bill get there! If one could reassure about this then i would be grateful as someone day was interested in buying my car in the near future!
Considering a new car soon, Help! - Roland Rat
YSD - I can only comment on the ZX I had, but I found it to be very well put together with few (if any rattles). It never failed to start (except when the alternator went and that was put right by the supplying Citroen main dealer within 2 hours) and all the gubbins worked as it should. It may just be that your parents were unfortunate enough to buy a 'Friday afternoon' car.

Put it this way, when I get round to changing my rusty, thirsty Granada, I'll only be considering one car....yup, a ZX 1.9TD!!!

BTW, click on 'Car-By-Car Breakdown' on the menu under HJ's gorgeous (!) face on the left. That gives the great man's honest opinion about loads of cars.

Happy hunting!
Considering a new car soon, Help! - StuW
Thanks for the help i wasn't really considering a zx to start with start with but this board seems to be slowy turning me!!
I'm not in a huge rush at the moment to get new car but this is ideal because i want to research very carefully in all the cars i'm considering and pick out the best one when i come start buying. I was just wandering ermmm Rat (if that is your real name!), if you could tell me how long did you own and how many miles did you do in it and what were those motorway or town etc, i would most grateful.

Considering a new car soon, Help! - Roland Rat
Yeeeeaaaaahhhh Ratfans! Of course it's my real name! Roland Rat here! Erm.....guess?! I'm afraid that I can't reveal my real name as I'm wanted by the Milk Marketing Board (inappropriate use of Gold Top) so it's all very hush-hush.

I had my ZX for about two years (had to give it back to the finance company due to a spectacular lack of cash). Can't really remember how may miles I did in it, but my daily commute was a 40-mile round trip, mainly on A-roads, but with some town driving as well. Twice a year, I used to go from my parts (Lancashire) to Dingwall in the Highlands, ten miles north of Inverness and cover roughly 1300 miles in a week. I used to brim the tank at home and get to Dingwall with a over a quarter of a tank to spare. The car performed fautlessly and I never had to worry about breakdowns in the middle of nowhere, not like with my Granada. With that damned thing I have to refuel by the time I've got to Pitlochry!

I've had a look on the Autotrader website as the chap above suggested and a national search produced a 1996 silver Volcane with 76K for £1395, but like our friend Rob The Bus I would *definitely* get the cambelt changed.

Hope I've been of some use.

Considering a new car soon, Help! - Roland Rat
BTW, I don't know if you're technically minded but once the 1-year warranty from the dealer ran out, I did all the servicing myself and it was a doddle. Service parts were cheap as chips and access to the engine bay was pretty good.

May I recommend that you ring your local motor factor and ask for prices of the more common items so that you've got some idea?
Considering a new car soon, Help! - StuW
Cheers Rat, you've a lot of help, i'm thinking more and more about a zx now as a replacement. I fairly good with cars as the nova is such an easy car to learn the basics on and my dad can do the hard stuff if need be.
I am reassured by the amount of trouble free journeys you had in yours i'm gonna look bit more into this car i think.

Considering a new car soon, Help! - Baskerville
The TD is a brilliant engine. I suspect your parents' problems with damp starting are petrol engine related--something in the ignition system isn't watertight--no such troubles with a diesel. Change that cambelt, change the coolant, keep an eye out for leaks of oil and water (1996 is getting on a bit now for any car) and you won't finish the ZX off with overwork. These things love to cover distances.

Considering a new car soon, Help! - Dynamic Dave
I wouldn't go for an Astra. If you've never driven a tractor
before, then you'll have some idea of what it's like after
trying one of the above!!

shakes head in disbelief I've previously owned a Mk1 Astra for 4 yrs and also have had the pleasure of driving every other model of Astra Vauxhall have ever made. Note, I said pleasure.
How can you compare one to a tractor? shakes head again
Considering a new car soon, Help! - bazza
I ran a 1.9 ZX diesel for 5 years and nothing significant ever went wrong with it, apart from an exhaust and a handbrake cable. It really was a great car and is still going well. I would certainly recommend one, but you do need to seek out the very best examples, as there are some rough old dogs out there now. It was fairly easy to work on, but not as easy as the 1.0 Nova I ran previously. The ZX, especially the non turbo is pretty simple, with no ECU or complex engine electronics to go wrong (bliss!). Suspension is also conventional. Tyres are cheap and the complete exhaust was about £120 I think.

Other suggestions are a Vauxhall Corsa, which you’d feel at home in, or possibly a Corolla, for reliability. Keep it as simple as possible to keep the costs down!

Considering a new car soon, Help! - Rob the Bus
Dave - don't get me wrong. I had a mark I Astra (well, Opel Kadett) for a while and it was fantastic. All I'm saying is that I used to hire from a company in Southport who hired out N and P-reg Astra 1.7TDs and they were *dogs* possibly because they were hire cars (not higher cars - they weren't on bricks BOOM BOOM!). You can only comment on your own experiences after all. I'd be quite happy to give the Astra 1.7TD the benefit of the doubt as I've got a soft spot for Vauxhalls. It's just all the ones I've ever driven have been as refined as Bernard Manning with none of the charm!
Considering a new car soon, Help! - StuW
Hi everyone thanks for the help on the ZX i must admit you've got quite interested in it especially the owners telling about the excellent reliability of the diesel model. But i would still like some more opinions on other possibles cars (e.g astra, rover 200/400 etc)to help broaden my options. What they were like to live with etc, not neccessarily diesel models.
Thanks for all the useful advice so far though!

Considering a new car soon, Help! - roscopervis
My first thoughts before reading any of the other replies was a ZX TD or a Nissan primera 1.6.
Within my family or close friends we have many of the cars that are probably within your shortlist including 2 ZX's, an Astra 1.4 and a Rover 214 GSi, a primera 1.6 and I have also previously owned a Nova 1.2!

My first choice at the money you are willing to pay is the ZX TD. You can get a very nice example for that. They have proven in my experience to be very reliable and the the XUD engines last forever.
Second choice would be the Rover 214/414. Also has been fairly reliable but not as well screwed together as the ZX surprisingly. Also the engines dont cover the miles as well as the ZX's. Be aware that the 1.4 K series engines can easily warp head gaskets.

The Primera is third but may be a bit much to insure. Its a better car than the Rover but insurance makes it third. However the petrol engines are gutsy and very long lived with cam chains rather than belts which usually never need replacing so are cheap to run.

The Astra is a very average car. Does everything ok but the ride and handling is poor comapred to the others mentioned and the rear wheel arches are rust magnets. Engines also aren't as responsive as the others equivelents mentioned.

Good luck in your search!
Considering a new car soon, Help! - Hairy Hat Man
What about a toyota 93/94 corolla? I had a 'liftback' 1.6 executive when it was new in '93 and it was a cracker of a car (despite wht everyone said about them at the time). The liftback has an longer body and actually makes it look quite different to the standard corolla. Ececutive comes with all the twidly bits. No idea what they're like as a 10 year old car, but toyota reliability ought to be good and the build quality seemd good when new. It'd be on my list if I were looking to spend that sort of money. Quick search on autotrader shows you can get a '93 with 70k on the clock for under £1,800.
Considering a new car soon, Help! - dave18
Engine of Uncle's Metro GTi (which is a 1.4k series) still going strong at 130k, but the gearbox went at 90k and he has had various other problems - alternator, gear linkage etc. I drove a 414Si, slightly heavier obviously, great to drive but third party advice put me off on grounds of reliability. Plus, insurance would have been high. This was my main concern: reliability being less of an issue if you get a good example.
Considering a new car soon, Help! - dave18
309, ZX and Astra. Pug 309's are very cheap now. Mine sold for just £600 and it was in great condition. This was a 93k reg with 87000 miles. The 1.4i - note the i - is the same 1.4 as is fitted to the base model 306's. It was great to drive, far better performance than my old 1.3 Polo and the handling really surprised me. Tyres lasted longer than expected, economy averaged at 40mpg, (35 driven hard, 45 on a run), reliability was good except for driveshaft problems - they tend to go at this mileage on these cars, so get them checked (easy enough to do.) Aside from this I had no real problems. Equipment wise it has an ok stereo fitted as standard, put a cheap CD player in and the sound quality from the standard 4 speakers is great. Also, it had electric windows and central locking. No PAS, but you can get this on the 1.9TD which ive heard is a great car for the money - was just a little over my budget when I bought my 1.4. They go up to L reg, and when looking for mine I saw some really high mileage examples advertised and based on how mine drove and 'felt' they do last.
I did look at a ZX with similar price/spec/mileage to the 309. Same 1.4 engine but felt really sluggish in comparison. Drove a ZX diesel - non turbo - pretty poor. However I think the 1.4 petrol one I tried had been abused - sludgy oil and so on. A higher power 1.4 Astra (there are 60bhp and 75bhp versions) I tried was nice to drive; we've had a couple of Vauxhalls in the family and theyve been decent enough.
Best thing is to try a few examples of say a 309, Astra and ZX. These formed my shortlist when I was upgrading the Polo. Ultimately I went for the 309 because it had full service history and had been a motorway car in early years and a second car in later years. I was getting GLX spec for £700, this from a dealer so I had a warranty too, which was helpful when the driveshaft went.
Sorry its a long post, hope it helps.
Considering a new car soon, Help! - StuW
Thanks for the help so far on the ZX which i'm quite tempted by now and the other suggestions. But i was just wandering if anyone has any more opinions on either the Astra 1.4 i (82bhp) and the 1.7 TD because i have been impressed with my current Vauxhall so far in terms of reliability and availabilty of cheap spares. Also i did quite like the look of the Rover 200/400 especially the 1.4 16 valve engines performance, but am a little concern with its reliability, not only minor problems but major ones such head gaskets. Also any opinion would be useful on the 200/400 with 1.8 TD engine which i believe is the same engine as fitted to the ZX diesel which nearly everyone here has highly recommended!
Thanks for the useful advice so far!
Considering a new car soon, Help! - roscopervis
Its not quite the same engine in the Rover, plus its heavier so performance suffers. Also it doesn't handle as well as the ZX.

I could go on about my mates 1.4 Astra but I would bore you, like it bores me!

OK then. Rust on rear wheel arches, understeers quite badly, jiggly ride. The 1.7 TD engine is an Izuzu sourced engine and is nowhere near as good as the XUD engine in the Citroens/Pugs.
Considering a new car soon, Help! - J500ANT
re Astras:
The 1.7 TD engine (low blow turbo) was a development of the 1.6 diesel engine, and at high mileages suffers from lack of compression leading to cold starting problems.
The cars with the 1.7 TDS engine have the Isuzu engine thats also in the Cavaliers and the old Vectras. The main problem with these is that people assume that it has hydraulic self adjusting tappets and dont check them. This leads to valve recession. Also the parts prices for any of the Isuzu parts (like the alternator) is prohibitive.

If you really are after an Astra, i would consider a 1.4i 82hp multi point injection unit. I used to use an Astramax 1.7D and occasionally used an Astra 1.4 82bhp estate and found they both did 43mpg. (Yeah i know, white van man) but the estate was far nicer to drive

Ive never driven a Citroen ZX, but ive had lots of experience of a 306 D and TD, very nice!

Value my car