Which affordable diesel family car? - top turkey
I'm thinking of replacing my 1.6 P Reg Astra (petrol) with a nearly new Mondeo sized car (diesel) to take into account a) 1 small son and all that comes with it! b) 25k miles private miles per year c) comfy driving position and d) with air con, ABS and cruise control.

I'm not in the luxury car market, so any BWM/Merc/Saab/Volvo recommendations are (sadly) not an option - are they? I guess I'd be looking around the 10k mark (including part-ex) and would need some kind of finance (e.g. personal loan at around 6%).

The HDci Mondeo (130bhp) seems the best option so far, but any other cars I should be considering? I like the idea of the Golf TDi (150 bhp), but not sure that a) it will be big enough for the family and b) cruise control is an option on this car. Also, I know the Vectra (old and new) takes some stick, but for getting me to work and back via motorways (84 miles) and carting the family around on holidays and shopping trips, is it such a bad buy?

As always, thanks for any responses. This is such a helpful and entertaining site.



PS Don't tell the Mrs I'm thinking about a replacement car.
Which affordable diesel family car? - blank
Mondeo is a top car, HJ's review a while back sums it up for me, but the TDCI seems to have questions over it!

If you fancy a Vectra, they are offering 48 hr test drives at the moment but, in thier brilliance, will not let you have one over a weekend. It's more than 48 hrs from Friday evening to Monday morning they told me. Very helpful.

I was willing to give the new offering an unbiased trial to see if it was, in my own opinion a more competitive beast than the rubbish previous model, but I fear they may have blown it already!

Which affordable diesel family car? - RB
You may think these a bit "small" compared to Vectra/Mondeo, but how about SEAT Leon TDi with the hatch or the Toledo with a massive boot - and the extra few inches makes the car about the same length as a Veccy etc. These SEATs are basically Golfs underneath the rather attractive bodies.

My Toledo TDi SE comes with all the goodies - climate and cruise control, 6 disc CD, computer and goes well giving me over 50mpg as an average. It's nice and comfy although admitedly a fully grown person might find rear legroom a bit tight on long journeys.

You don't see so many of them around so there is a bit of "exclusivity" about them.
Which affordable diesel family car? - Altea Ego
How about a citroen piccaso? or a scenic? both ideally suited to family type use. Both very affordable nearly new
Which affordable diesel family car? - mlj
I have been in a similar situation very recently. Last two cars have been a Golf and a Leon, both TDI. We have two children and neither car was big enough on those frequent family occasions. The Toledo has a large boot but is no bigger inside than a Golf.
I looked at a C5 and was very tempted. An even bigger temptation was the new Multispace they had in the showroom. The only argument against this car is a largely irrational one: image.
I have noticed nearly new Vectras with the 2.2 diesel at 9995, but haven't tried one.
What did I buy? One of the last old model Avensis. Petrol, but 40mpg so far. I have to say that it is a jump up in quality from either the golf or Leon. I also know from experience that Toyota dealers are in a whole different league when it comes to servicing.
Hope you find something nice.
Which affordable diesel family car? - Mike M
I've had my ex-lease 406 HDi for a year now and it has given my 15k fault-free miles. Fuel consumption is always over 50mpg, but it is group 11 for insurance. It's quiet, comfortable and nothing's fallen off.
Which affordable diesel family car? - Mondaywoe
My (2001 build) C5 is just coming up to 17,000 miles. The engine has been absolutely faultless - extremely quiet, quick - but economical. I get around 43mpg in 'real life' mixed driving. The smaller 2.0 litre engine is considerably more economical - though less powerful.

The C5 is very comfortable and surprisingly roomy. I like the hatchback configuration - that's what put me off Skoda and Rover 75.

The early C5s did have a few teething troubles - most of which are now completely eradicated. The 2003 models are said to be streets ahead. All this, plus the great deals and oodles of equipment make it well worth a look. (No, I don't work for Citroen!)

The Mondeo maybe is slightly better dynamically, but if you look at all the moans about problems with the TDCI you wonder if Ford have really cracked it with diesels.

How many problems with C5s do you see in the technical section of HJ's forum? Um......

Which affordable diesel family car? - Ben79
Graeme and myself will sing praises of the C5 HDI. However, todays Autoexpress suggests that the Mondeo is having a facelift in the near future.... The TDCI engine is being modified. I don't remember what they said, but it sounds like there is a problem with it.

On my 3rd Citroen. Saxo, Xsara, C5.
Which affordable diesel family car? - Monaro
I would put another vote for the Toledo. My father had one for a week as a hire car and was very impressed with it - and he was coming from a 3 series and he was considering a Toledo for his next car. Small boot opening though if I remember rightly (but not as bad as the 3 series). Otherwise how about a new Corolla?

Paul C
Which affordable diesel family car? - top turkey
I have taken a look at the Seat web site and used diesel Toledos seem to be like hens teeth! They only listed one (6k miles for about £13.5k) and that did not appear to have cruise control.

Oh well....

Which affordable diesel family car? - andymc {P}
Sounds a bit steep to me. Have a browse through the Autotrader, you should be able to find a used trader price for a lot less than that. They've been around since 1999, so I've seen the diesels advertised as low as £8k.
Which affordable diesel family car? - mlj
My local SEAT dealer seems to get two or three 6 to 9 month old Toledos from SEAT every two or three months and they are priced around 10995. There is a TDI S which was introduced last year with a lower spec. The SE is the one you want.
Which affordable diesel family car? - tunacat
Graeme C5 owner; did you mean the Skoda Superb or the Octavia?
Cos the Octavia IS a hatchback!
Which affordable diesel family car? - TrevP
My suggestion is Skoda Fabia TDI Estate - £10470 new from


Plenty of rear kneeroom, boot space, good buld quality and punchy PD engine.
Which affordable diesel family car? - RB
Not sure whereabouts in the country you are, TT, but my local SEAT dealer in Notts regularly buys in ex-SEAT HQ "management cars" and often feature Toledo's in teh choice. This is where I got mine from - it was about 4 months old with 4,000 miles. I agree that the extra amount between the S and SE is worth paying for the goodies. RB
Which affordable diesel family car? - top turkey
Do you have the dealer URL at all?

I actually work at Nottingham University and commute from Birmingham - hence the need for a reliable, comfortable diesel.

What are the servicing costs like? How much confidence do you have in the dealerships when it comes to routine stuff?

Thanks again RB.

Which affordable diesel family car? - Mondaywoe
Graeme C5 owner; did you mean the Skoda Superb or the Octavia?
Cos the Octavia IS a hatchback!

Sorry - I stand corrected! I was thinking Superb.

Which affordable diesel family car? - RB
TT - well it couldn't be nearer to your work! It's Willoughby Garage in Chilwell and the URL is www.seat-car.co.uk.

I first tried them last summer when I was considering a SEAT/diesel/Toledo for the first time and they let me borrow one for a couple of hours on my own. There was no "pressure" from them and I found them helpful and professional (heck, people will think I work for them and am on a bonus!)
They also came up with a reasonable offer for my PX Vectra.

My Toledo just went in for its 10,000 service and I think servicing charges are pretty much on a par with most nowadays. They also changed the radio unit as the little clip that removes the control panel had a bit missing.

So... good luck! I assure you and all that I am just a punter and nothing to do with their business etc. RB
Which affordable diesel family car? - mlj
I'll second the favourable report on SEAT dealers. My experience was excellent. I had problems with water ingress and they sorted it efficiently and provided a courtesy car. Servicing costs were £140/180 for annual 10K and 20K work. A bonus was having a Multi CD changer fitted. List was £349 but I was charged £235- which was what they were invoiced. I can think of at least one other dealer who would have charged the full amount.


Value my car