small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - jojo
I have 5K to spend on a used car which has to be:

low tax and insurance
good build quality, cheap servicing
5 door hatch preferably
not French unless a damn good reason to buy!

so I have been looking at:

Seat Ibiza 1.4 (V, W Reg)
Ford Fiesta 1.25 or Ford Ka
Vauxhall Astra 1.4
VW Polo

I am tempted by the Seat as it has a good sporty look and as a VW Polo clone has the build quality I am looking for. I plan to test drive all of these apart from the Ka which I have driven before and quite liked. I also like the Clio but it's French and have had so many problems with reliability with my past French cars. As for Japanese I know the quality is great but parts seem very expensive

Your opinions on these and the pros and cons would be great. I have read HJ's breakdown on all these cars but some owners views of these would really help.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - andymc {P}
Obviously the Astra is a bigger car than your other alternatives, so will have better interior space. The Ibiza will handle better than the VW and be as well/better built than the other alternatives. Best all-rounder of your list IMHO. Not owned one but been a passenger in a previous shape version a few times, and I do have a Leon which is fantastic. One thing to consider is whether a 110 bhp TDi Ibiza would suit you - very responsive engines. Really zippy car. Probably group 7 insurance for that one, but great savings on fuel economy could offset that. Autotrader has some TDi Ibiza's inside your price range in S trim, but I'm not sure whether those are 110 bhp or not.

I had a 2001 1.5 dci 65bhp Clio for a while & it was a great little car, nippy, handled very well, very economical, looked well, it just ended up that I found it too difficult to get a comfortable driving position over longer journeys because I'm a bit broad across the shoulders & also never manage to get enough headroom in a car with a sunroof, which every current-shape Clio has. Build quality might have become a concern - a few rattles were starting to make themselves heard by the time I moved it on. Nothing the dealer wouldn't have fixed under warranty, but possibly not a good long-term option. Mine was a Dynamique version & would probably be available used for around £6500 or even less at a dealer now. The Expression trim should be well within your price range, check dealer prices on Autotrader. Ibiza would be better though.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - TrevP
Distinct shortage of japanese cars on the shortlist.

You know - the reliable brands.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - jojo
Japanese...ummm, don't like the Nissan Micra looks-wise, although I know it's ultra-reliable.

Toyota?

Mazda?

What have they got that I should know about?

Should also mention I want something small but that's good 'n' gutsy for motorway / open roads and not just nipping out to do the shopping!!!

Still like Seat - can anyone recommend a good approved used dealer in S West (I live near Bath)
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - KB.
How about a 1.3 Yaris - Not the 1 litre as you did say........"Should also mention I want something small but that's good 'n' gutsy for motorway / open roads and not just nipping out to do the shopping!!!"

They came out in '99 so there must be a few about. I've had the 1.0. the 1.3 and currently have the diesel and the latter is best, but not for £5k.

It's a Toyota so won't go wrong and is quite roomy inside but has a small boot. Avoid the base if poss. and look at GS as minimum spec.

KB.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - SteveH42
You've just touched on something I was wondering, KB. How do you actually tell from the outside what engine a Yaris has? Even the trim marking is very discrete, but I've never knowingly seen a 1.3 Yaris Hatchback. I've seen a 1.5, and a 1.3 in a Verso, but I have no idea how to tell the 1.3. I don't think I've even seen one advertised second hand.

Having put about 5k on my 1.0 GLS in the last 6 months, I'd say that it will easily match most on the original list. It's absolutely fine on the motorway and only struggles a little on hills, but so will anything Jojo mentions TBH. I'd add it to the list without hesitation, and there are plenty coming in at under £5k these days - I've even seen a 51 plate 'S' at well under that mark.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - KB.
SteveH42, The answer is - you can't! The diesel is marked "D4D" on the rear RH side under the lamp cluster, the hatches I've had and the ones I've noticed just say "VVTi"

My observations regarding 1.0 versus 1.3 are based on the ones I had and essentially I felt that the bigger engine was quieter at speeds over 60mph. I travelled as a passenger from Ostend to Brussels in one and the driver wasn't hanging about and I kept thinking there must be another gear in there - but there wasn't. The 1.3 was definitely more relaxed and higher geared in 5th gear. The diesel is probably better still and, I reckon, is the one to have (latest mpg - 59 round town).

That said - I do know that early one litres didn't have the under bonnet insulation that 1.3 ones had, so maybe later ones are quieter at speed than my one. They all have it now.

Do you think they should have made the car 6" longer (same as the Honda Jazz) and made the boot a bit more usable?

Haven't seen the facelifted ones yet, but don't expect to change just yet (especially with the weak pound/euro at the moment).

You do see them in Autotrader. Have a look at the website.

Regards,

KB.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - Flat in Fifth
"Do you think they should have made the car 6" longer (same as the Honda Jazz) and made the boot a bit more usable?"

Yes Kevin they should have done exactly that.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - SteveH42
The 1.3 was definitely more relaxed and
higher geared in 5th gear.


The 1.0 does buzz a bit at speed I'll admit, but it's not short of power even up at 80+ and is still quieter than my old Tipo.
The diesel is probably better still
and, I reckon, is the one to have


I think it I was buying new I would probably go for the D4D myself. The only concern I'd have is that I've heard that diesels don't give much benefit over small journeys. My running is either short hops (under 3 miles, many only a mile or so) with the odd much longer run mixed in.
That said - I do know that early one litres didn't
have the under bonnet insulation that 1.3 ones had, so maybe
later ones are quieter at speed than my one. They all
have it now.


Must have only been the very early ones - my W reg has it.
Do you think they should have made the car 6" longer


We had this one a while back, and we had the same difference of opinion. I'll say now what I said then - if you want a bigger car, buy something other than a Yaris. (Not meant nastily, but the Yaris is just right as it stands)
Haven't seen the facelifted ones yet,


I can't really tell the difference from the magazine. They only really seem to have rationalised the trim levels. One thing I did notice is that aircon isn't mentioned on any of the trim levels (not sure about the T-Sport though) - has it been dropped? The website also doesn't show the new range so it's hard to tell just what the various ones have... I wonder if they'll be shifting the old models cheap or if there is enough demand that they don't need to?
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - KB.
Steve, My first one was V Reg - They fitted the insulation after that obviously enough and guess it was worthwhile.

Incidentally there has been an very minor issue re, gearboxes producing a whine around 50mph. A couple of mine had it - very minor but audible nonetheless. No trace of it with the D4D. Also some have mentioned a little difficulty selecting reverse on petrol models - I noticed it myself a bit, but could just have been newness.

Had completely forgotten our exchange re. boot space. We'll agree to differ on that one.

Re...... "The only concern I'd have is that I've heard that diesels don't give much benefit over small journeys. My running is either short hops (under 3 miles, many only a mile or so) with the odd much longer run mixed in"...............I had always thought the opposite and that diesels came in to their own round town as opposed to motorways, hence delivery vans etc. being diesels - and our 59mpg round town is encouraging.

Don't know how readily the old ones will get discounted. Would need a ring round to confirm that one.

Rgds

KB.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - SteveH42
Incidentally there has been an very minor issue re, gearboxes
producing a whine around 50mph.


Mine get this to a varying degree in all gears, but worst in 5th. Oddly enough, it's worst when you back almost but not quite totally off the throttle - once you back off completely, it stops completely. It can be very noticable at times, but I've got used to it, and the dealer assures me it's just to do with the harmonics of the engine and gearbox. Doesn't seem to be a problem.
Also some have mentioned a little difficulty selecting
reverse on petrol models


Doesn't seem any worse than any other car I've driven, and better than the Nova I learned in that simply wouldn't go in to reverse for the 3 point turn during my test...
I had always thought the opposite and that diesels came in to
their own round town as opposed to motorways, hence delivery
vans etc. being diesels


Don't forget that delivery vans will be running fairly warm all the time, while my short journeys are usually well spaced out so the engine has cooled down between runs. However, I don't actually know, just something I've heard. I'm also not sure if the premium I'd pay for a diseasel would be worth the fuel saving on typically 10k PA.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - KB.
Steve, Re.......... "Mine get this to a varying degree in all gears, but worst in 5th. Oddly enough, it's worst when you back almost but not quite totally off the throttle - once you back off completely, it stops completely"

I Promise not to pursue this to the point of boredom, but you describe *exactly* the situation I referred to. However it did irritate me a bit. The Automatic 1.3 Yaris I had for a year didn't do it at all and, as I say, neither does the Diesel.

Type 'Yaris gearbox whine'into Google and see Toyota Owners Club (Forum) for this mention ........."Hi TS owners
I am a very happy Yaris owner.
In my car I hear a ?whine? from the gear in about 50 to 60 mph when in 5th gear, any one notice the same?"

And the reply was..........."get it back to the dealership, there is a known problem across the yaris range! sorry! vehical should be away for a day for a gearbox rebuild!!! sorry"

Can't comment any further on this one and didn't pursue the (fairly minor, but nevertheless present) whine on the ones I had.

Regards,



KB.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - SteveH42
Thanks for pointing that out, KB, I'll try again with the dealer to see if they have heard of this. The dealer I bought it from was the one who gave me the explanation of harmonics, but I'm now using a more local branch of the same chain for servicing etc, so they might tell me a different story. Have you seen anything saying this is an actual problem, or just a minor issue?

I must admit the Yaris seems to suffer from more niggles than I expected from a Toyota. Whether it's any worse than any other model I don't know.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - KB.
No, Steve, I am not aware of this being anything other than a mechanically insignificant annoyance - my local deler *said*, at the time (not recently) that they were unaware of an issue - whether that has moved on since, I can't say. And it was just one or two snippets I heard to indicate I was not the only one to notice the (slight) noise. Maybe give Head Office (Customer Service) a quick call. What are/were the other niggles?

Can't recall any other niggles - did have to have a new multi-function display unit fitted due to a faulty batch , but quickly done without fuss under warranty, of course. I had the previous (Auto.) one for a year and this (D4D) one eight months and haven't had a squeak out of them. Hope I'm not tempting fate here :-)

Rgds,
KB.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - SteveH42
The main niggles have been rattling trim, a door seal that had bent out of shape and supposed worn antiroll bar bushes. The first two were fixed without question. The bushes were reported by National Tyres as needing replacing. The dealer couldn't see anything wrong with them but replaced them and a front shock absorber (under warranty) for my piece of mind, so I can't complain about the dealer service.

The only other problems were more like second-hand car troubles - a few things were missing like the manual and aerial. All were replaced FOC by the dealer.

Depending on the full spec and final price point, the new range sound like it could be a good bet. The T3 sound like a good compromise between the existing GS and GLS models, but the T-Spirit is almost too high-spec for the next level up, but again if the price is right this shouldn't be a factor. I can't find the prices at the moment, but I spotted the D4D T2 for about £7400 which sounds like quite a reasonable price. (MRP was about £8k)

What does sound *very* interesting is the new T-Sport Turbo - 160bhp in a car the size of a Yaris will be a lot of fun!
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - KB.
Good to see it's sorted now - trust it remains so. Maybe see you report in with a new one in due course? Better call a halt to this exchange or risk a stern glance or two for veering off topic. Maybe it could/should have been tacked on to the Japanese reliability thread currently running?

Rgds,
KB.
small car decision - seat, ford, vw?? - mlj
I live in the south west and have a Seat. The Seat dealer I use is helpful and efficient. A distinct change from all my VW experiences with local dealership. Although I am about 90 miles further west than Bath.
How about a Corolla?
Had one once and never had a problem.
 

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