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SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - concrete

This is where I need some help. SLO is normally into this sort of thing. Anyway, her indoors has decided she wants a small car as a runabout. Now of all times when used cars are overpriced. So my budget is about £7K. I want something reliable so am thinking Japanese or maybe Korean but I am open to suggestions. Colour, spec etc is fairly irrelevant, (as long as it's not a bright pink base model). Mileage is not an issue if the service record is complete and up to date. Petrol, manual or auto(TC box) either considered. Haven't bought a used car for donkeys years and am way out of touch with current procedures so any helpful suggestions will be welcome. Maybe SLO will come out of retirement to assist.

Cheers Concrete

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - badbusdriver

Civic 1.8 petrol, auto or manual.

Done!

Seriously though, in addition to the above, Mazda 3 petrol (auto or manual), Toyota Auris petrol (auto or manual). Kia Ceed/Hyundai i30 (manual, I think the auto at this budget would be DCT)

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - catsdad

How about something fun as well as practical as a runabout. Suzuki Swift Sport or Fiesta ST for example?

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - skidpan

Almost 2 years ago when the wifes uncle needed a new motor we found him a pre-reg Suzuki Celerio for just under your budget, base spec but in a nice colour. Its no ball of fire but so far its been fault free and sips petrol. Surprising amount of space for such a small car.

No PPF to cause issues if the car only does a small mileage.

The best in the country should be under your budget.

I also drove a Picanto for him and that too was surprisingly good but more expensive. That one had a PPF.

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - nellyjak

How small.?...Aygo/Yaris.?

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - bathtub tom

How many miles does she expect to be doing annually? I only ask because a close relly spent £800 getting their ancient car through the MOT this year, that does less than 1K/year. Add that to the tax and insurance?

I found out they drove it a mile to the local Tesco a couple of times a week, around a mile away. I suggested they walk there and call a taxi to take them home. Alternatively, buy a mobility scooter....................................................They're not talking to me now!

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - John F

How many miles does she expect to be doing annually? I only ask because a close relly spent £800 getting their ancient car through the MOT this year, that does less than 1K/year. Add that to the tax and insurance?

I found out they drove it a mile to the local Tesco a couple of times a week, around a mile away. I suggested they walk there and call a taxi to take them home. Alternatively, buy a mobility scooter....................................................They're not talking to me now!

Perhaps there will soon be a sea change in car ownership for low mileage drivers. As a rough estimate, my forty years of tax, Mot (37yrs), insurance, repairs and initial cost for my TR7 works out at around 40p for each of the fewer than 65,000 miles I have driven it. Plus fuel -another 20p at today's price. Soon, an electric 'uber' or, in future, a self-driving car might appear within minutes of a request.

But if you suggest I sell it, I might not talk to you either!

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - SLO76
Hi Concrete.

Happy to offer an opinion. £7k is a good budget for a nice low mileage petrol supermini and here’s what I’d shortlist.

2016/17 Mazda 2 1.5 SE - Simple chain driven engine, good on fuel and great fun to drive yet cheap to run. Hard to beat really. The 90PS version with nav is the best option but the 75PS version has a perfectly acceptable for most people.

2016/17 Ford Fiesta 1.25 Zetec 5dr - A hoot to drive but cheap to run and if you stick to the Yamaha designed 4cyl 1.25/1.4 petrols they’re utterly reliable too. Loads about so be picky. Leave the 1.0 Ecoboom and the fragile Powershift gearbox.

2018 Suzuki Swift 1.0 Boosterjet - Fun to drive and robust but space is limited in the back and in the boot.

2016/18 Toyota Yaris 1.33 5dr - A bit dull to drive but it’ll still be running in 20yrs time.

2019 Hyundai i10 - Pleasant little cars that offer pain free motoring for buttons. Get one with a full dealer history and preserve it then you’ll have a warranty until 2024. Not as good as the larger cars above at motorway speeds.
SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - badbusdriver

2018 Suzuki Swift 1.0 Boosterjet - Fun to drive and robust but space is limited in the back and in the boot.

Out of curiosity SLO, have you actually been in the back of a current Swift?.

I have, just last year. Went from the local Ford dealer where I sat in a new Fiesta. Had the drivers seat set for me (5'9"), then sat in the back. I was OK, I fitted and all, but I felt a bit hemmed in and there wasn't an awful lot of space for my feet. Then I went to the local Suzuki dealer and did the same in a new Swift. Believe me, the Swift felt noticeably more roomy in the back, with a taller set rear seat allowing your lower legs a more vertical angle and a huge well under the front seat for your feet. Given the size of the Swift (20cm shorter than a Fiesta) I thought it had a remarkably spacious rear seat area and was much better designed (for rear passengers) than a Fiesta, with a much better utilisation of space. Given the choice between doing a long run in the back of either, it would be the Swift all day long I'd choose. In fact, out of that list of 5, the only car which would equal or better the rear space of the Swift is the Yaris. In addition, while the boot is smaller than the Fiesta's, it is bigger than the Mazda's and the Hyundai's.

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - SLO76
“ Out of curiosity SLO, have you actually been in the back of a current Swift?.”

Yes, very recently too when I viewed a 1.0 Boosterjet on behalf of an old customer, the one I bought the old 2011 Swift 1.3 I mentioned a few weeks back from. It’s a great little car and noticeably bigger than the older model but I still found it tighter in the back than the Fiesta, Yaris or Mazda 2. Wouldn’t be hugely uncomfortable for anyone sat behind me and my wee short legs but anyone taller might struggle on longer runs.
SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - daveyjp

By 2017 you will be into the 1.5 Yaris. Ours is four years old, we've done 15,000 in that time, mostly school run, commuting etc and its averaged 40mpg.

Only money spent over and above servicing MOT etc are two tyres thanks to punctures and new wiper blades.

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - SLO76

By 2017 you will be into the 1.5 Yaris. Ours is four years old, we've done 15,000 in that time, mostly school run, commuting etc and its averaged 40mpg.

Only money spent over and above servicing MOT etc are two tyres thanks to punctures and new wiper blades.

The 1.5 may just slip into budget but the 1.33 is perfectly adequate and I’d favour condition, history and mileage over the added performance.
SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - FiestaOwner

How about a Ford Ka+ (or Ka+ Active)? The Active model having a slightly raised ride height and an off road look.

Go for the larger output 84BHP 1.2 petrol (not the 69BHP). Should give reasonable performance.

Shares the same platform as the Fiesta and is meant to drive well.

Have found some on Autotrader (Haven't checked MOT histories):

www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202105112496674?o...3

www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202105202852025?p...1

www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202102118957150?m...2

www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202101087771959?m...2

Edited by FiestaOwner on 13/06/2021 at 08:28

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - concrete

Thank you all for sharing your experiences. Mileage I expect to be in the low thousands. Any make or model was considered but the models mentioned here all seem to offer reliability. Room in the back is not a deal breaker, 99% of the time it will one or two people in it. Just as a matter of interest would I be better going to the dealerships or looking privately. At least the dealers offer some sort of security in case of problems.

Cheers Concrete

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - SLO76
Private sales should offer savings and greater room to negotiate but often they’re priced wrong so be careful. There’s also less choice but if a good Swift or similar did appear with history and better yet a bit of warranty left it could be a good option. There are risks though so make sure you thoroughly inspect it and HPI it to verify there’s no outstanding finance and make sure the V5 matches the viewing address unless there’s a very plausible reason such as bereavement and even at that you’ll be down to basic trust. A dealer bought approved used car is safer but doesn’t always produce a better car so watch for poor paint repairs and check service records. You should get a decent year long warranty though.

Edited by SLO76 on 13/06/2021 at 14:00

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - sammy1

Buy private for this budget. I would spend less than this and keep money in reserve. Cars around 5 to 6 year are good value and a lot are only £20 or £30 road tax I would not discount any thing cat N as these are often lower mileage and largely ignored by a lot of buyers. I would consider Ka fiesta 206 My favourite is the Mini there are lots to choose from and they have been around for some 20years

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - badbusdriver

As we are talking about small cars (sorry, didn't notice that little nugget with my first answer), I'd like to throw a couple of other contenders into the ring.

First is the Suzuki Ignis. Ignore the entry level SZ3 model, which does without many safety features and has a fixed three person (not realistically, it has a very narrow cabin) rear bench. The other two models (SZ5 and SZT) in the range have 4 seats, with the rear two being individually adjustable. Even with the seats slid back, the boot is of an acceptable size for such a short car, but in this configuration, there is an astonishing amount of space for the rear two passengers (especially given the size of the car). It has nice high seats if that appeals, the n/a 1.2 offers plenty of performance due to how little the Ignis weighs. But I would avoid the 'auto' version (AGS) a £7k budget would get you into, it is a single clutch automated manual and is dim witted and cumbersome. Facelifted 2020 on Ignis auto's use a much, much better CVT, but that won't be available with your budget.

My other suggestion may well be frowned upon, as I often see it being described as the worst car you can buy(!), the Mitsubishi Mirage. Now if you ignore what the motoring press say and look at owners reviews (including USA), on the whole, they absolutely love them!. Just to be clear, I'm talking about the post 2016 facelift version, where in addition to the appearance changes, improvements were made to the interior trim quality and ride/handling (which apparently wasn't great on pre facelift cars). It isn't a car to hoon about country lanes in, but if you accept this, it seems to offer a lot. Compact dimensions, decent interior space, very tight turning circle, incredible reliability (this is going by the reviews of US owners, many of which are doing considerably more miles than would be typical of small cars in this country) and if going for the higher of the two trim levels (either 'Juro' or '4' depending on age), incredibly well equipped. Climate control, heated seats, power fold mirrors, cruise control, four electric windows, dab radio and, on some of the Juro cars, leather trim!. The auto version is a CVT, so is absolutely fit for purpose.

Had I had a longer experience of the Ignis AGS (which we currently have), especially in low speed manoeuvring, we would have gone for the Mirage CVT instead!.

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - Engineer Andy

This is where I need some help. SLO is normally into this sort of thing. Anyway, her indoors has decided she wants a small car as a runabout. Now of all times when used cars are overpriced. So my budget is about £7K. I want something reliable so am thinking Japanese or maybe Korean but I am open to suggestions. Colour, spec etc is fairly irrelevant, (as long as it's not a bright pink base model). Mileage is not an issue if the service record is complete and up to date. Petrol, manual or auto(TC box) either considered. Haven't bought a used car for donkeys years and am way out of touch with current procedures so any helpful suggestions will be welcome. Maybe SLO will come out of retirement to assist.

Cheers Concrete

If I'm reading the thread subject line correctly, then the Mrs hasn't driven for some time? If that's the case (i.e. not just driving your car), then I'd strongly suggest that she get some refresher driving lessons before taking the plunge on a 'new' car.

After I passed my driving test in Sixth form, I didn't driving again until after college at 23, and to say I was rusty was an understatement. I was terrible on my first go (just to take a company pool Fiesta van round to the local dealership for a service), and equally when test-driving the car (Micra) I then bought.

I went out for practice drives (not to work, but on quieter roads outside the rush hour) for a couple of weeks after buying it to gain some confidence. Just be careful who is in the car with them, as I found the experience rather trying with my dad, fine with my mum.

If she hasn't driven either a manual or auto for a long time (or at all since the driving test), the switchover may be problematic (pardon the pun), perhaps even impossible.

I'd go for a car that is simple to drive/use, not too quick (not good to have a really quick car partnered with a rusty driver), comfortable and good on the ergonomics, as well as reliable/hardy. But only start looking after getting used to being behind the wheel again.

Something like a Yaris, i10/20 (or Kia equivalent), Mazda2 Petrol, lower to mid spec and shod on sensible wheels/tyres. The mid spec ones often have better seat and steering wheel adjustment, plus A/C.

Best of luck mate.

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - Xileno

I know a couple of people who have run Fiestas and liked them a lot - but as SLO says, only the Yamaha engines. The 1.0 seems less durable. I think the 1.25 comes in two power outputs so make sure you get the one that meets your usage best. With so many Fiestas around you can afford to be fussy, only do a deal on the best.

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - concrete

Thanks again chaps. More ideas to consider. SWMBO is having a couple of refreshers with an instructor from the village. Mates rates.

Cheers Concrete

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - sammy1

""SWMBO is having a couple of refreshers with an instructor from the village. Mates rates.""

I don't know the duration since the wife last drove but may be you should wait until the refreshers are over, she might change her mind!

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - blindspot

honda jazz ctv would suit you both very well

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - focussed

When I was an instructor in the UK I had few returner pupils as they were known.

Returning from driving LHD overseas, or not having access to a vehicle in the UK for some years, or having given up driving after an accident - (the worst thing you can do is give up driving after an accident) [If you fall off the horse, get straight back on it]

The majority of them were female, with lack of confidence issues, most of which seemed to originate from partner/husband/parents.

It's not really instructing, it's coaching.

It's mainly highlighting observational skills - IE always know what is going on around you 360 degrees at all times, how to achieve this, and how to deal with or react to what you see.

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - Engineer Andy

When I was an instructor in the UK I had few returner pupils as they were known.

Returning from driving LHD overseas, or not having access to a vehicle in the UK for some years, or having given up driving after an accident - (the worst thing you can do is give up driving after an accident) [If you fall off the horse, get straight back on it]

The majority of them were female, with lack of confidence issues, most of which seemed to originate from partner/husband/parents.

It's not really instructing, it's coaching.

It's mainly highlighting observational skills - IE always know what is going on around you 360 degrees at all times, how to achieve this, and how to deal with or react to what you see.

Indeed - my mum in late 70s now barely drives (my dad does practically all the driving of their car), and will not drive on dual carriageways/motorways any more. I know of other people of a similar age who won't even drive outside of their twon due to a lack of car use plus decreasing confidence in driving.

It's one of the reasons why I kept up with driving (plus keeping the battery topped up as best I could and to keep the brakes from binding/warping) since giving up my career and not working (for the time being anyway) and during the pandemic.

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - expat

My wife hates driving in the city, refuses to drive on motorways or anywhere that you have to merge. She was subjected to a road rage incident from a truck driver about 6 months ago and that has really dented her confidence.

SWMBO decides to start driving again!!! - SLO76
My mother has never used 5th gear in any car she’s owned, says it confuses her. She’s still confident enough to charge down dual carriageways at 60mph with the wee motor in her Honda Jazz screaming merrily away in 4th gear. The 25000 miles it’s done in the last 12yrs are more akin to 50,000 driven normally.
 

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