New Girlfriend: new car? - Sparrow
This is not off topic!
I've recently fallen for someone who lives in the north of England, something like 230 miles and 4 hrs 15 minutes (according to the AA website) from my home in the south of England.
I am going to be spending quite a bit of time on the M6 (and the new road bypassing part of it) going to see her at weekends.

Now the decision point: My car is needing replacement soon so what should I choose? Something reasonably comfortable and quiet, economical (diesel comes to mind but not of the rattly sort). I could spend up to £15K on this but not something new, and something older would be fine provided its reliable. With this sort of mileage (and I do quite a lot of miles anyway without these extra ones), anything reasonably new will lose value quickly.
I like the BMW 320 diesel, meets most of the requirements except the last one. Would a secondhand one be a good choice? Or something comfy and cheap like a C5? How old?

Other factor is that I like driving on roads other than motorways and so something that handles well is a preferred choice.

Any thoughts?

New Girlfriend: new car? - Cardew
"Any thoughts?"

You move North or she moves South!
New Girlfriend: new car? - Borafeck
Personally speaking, I would'nt touch the C5 as residuals are terrible. I'm looking at a VW Passat, you could pull one out of the bag for about £15000, give or take a couple of hundred quid.
New Girlfriend: new car? - nick
Above all else, doing that mileage you need reliablity. That means japanese, plenty of choice for that money. Have a troll throught the excellent car-by-car guide thoughtfully provided by HJ.
New Girlfriend: new car? - mark
Yes the Passat is worth a look, I have had one for 21/2 yrs now from new and have put 60k on it without a problem except for the cigar lighter packing up. It's a great motorway mile muncher and returns just under 50mpg at around 80 mph. Its a 1.9 TDI PD just like the one shown on the site offers.

The only downside with it has been the VW dealers I have tried several and only one did not make me feel they were doing me a favour by dealing with me.

I did think about a C5 at one time, the Telegraph motoring supplement has dealers advertising nearly new top of the range at low low prices from time to time, but always remember its a Citroen underneath it all.

Still if you bought from the site offers you could largely avoid the pain of dealing with VW dealers.

as ever

New Girlfriend: new car? - Borafeck
Mark, had to take in my Bora to get break pads replaced and guess what my cig lighter had to be replaced.
Totally agree with you about VW dealers, always find that if you are looking for a new vehicle, they are not very forthcoming with giving deals.
New Girlfriend: new car? - DavidHM
£15k will buy you a good spec Passat brand new.

If you don't need anything that big, why not a Skoda Fabia vRS with the 130 bhp diesel engine from the Passat in a smaller, sharper and faster package? Okay, your girlfriend may not have fallen for a Skoda driver but it's only about £11k brand new. The Seat Ibiza is slightly more expensive, looks a little different, has less doors but is basically the same car.

Otherwise £15k should squeeze you a two year old, facelifted 320d or a higher mileage, one year older 330d. Otherwise it's the usual suspects - Audi A4 with the 130 bhp engine, Volvo S60 with the D5D engine (avoid the S40 like it's on fire) but probably not a C-Class.

You should also be able to find a 135ish bhp MG ZT, which has the BMW's engine with a little less power, on an 03 or newer, and I don't think you can get a Saab 9-3 2.2 diesel for this money, but the 9-5 is probably worth a look, perhaps with the 3.0 engine.
New Girlfriend: new car? - Welliesorter
>>... why not a Skoda
Fabia vRS with the 130 bhp diesel engine from the Passat
in a smaller, sharper and faster package? Okay, your girlfriend
may not have fallen for a Skoda driver but it's only
about £11k brand new.

I've read of dealers quoting delivery times for these well into March! I've never seen one in the flesh but I can vouch for the Fabia being a good car, even in bog standard form.
New Girlfriend: new car? - eMBe {P}
Ditch the GF oopnorth.
Much cheaper, less-stressful, and more quality-time if you get a newer model doonsouth. You may be able to buy a brand-new BMW 320 diesel with the money you save on fuel.
Also, AFAIK, all 3 & 5 series diesels currently come with free servicing for 5 years.
New Girlfriend: new car? - borasport20
Bad News..
you want something recent, reliable, cheap to run, not too noisy, good for a couple of years yet.

Unfortunately, girlfriends are only rarely available to this specification ;-)

Bora - what Bora ?
New Girlfriend: new car? - No Do$h
Good News: I found one!

Bad News: Unfortunately she was married to someone else

Good News: She left him and married me!

Buy yourself an Alfa 147 1.9JTD M-Jet. That way if the relationship fails you can still have some serious fun on your own......
New Girlfriend: new car? - Cardew
"Buy yourself an Alfa 147 1.9JTD M-Jet. That way if the relationship fails you can still have some serious fun on your own......"

The relationship with the girlfriend COULD break down, but you can be absolutely certain that the Alfa WILL break down!!
New Girlfriend: new car? - No Do$h
With the exception of a stone through the rad (it punched a hole in the protective grill) I can state with a clear conscience that my JTD is a fine engine without any of the little, er, quirks of its petrol brethren.

So my 156 was a little under-braked, but then I've got one of the earliest diesel estates. Within 4 months the brakes were upgraded.
New Girlfriend: new car? - Ben79
I'd get a C5 HDI SX, 50mpg easily on the journeys you will be doing. The C5 is extremely comfortable and competent on the motorways. My recent trip up the M6 was fantastic, no stress at all (it was a Sunday).

Forget the residuals, If you are putting a huge amount of miles onto it, any car will have poor residuals.

Spend £10-11k on a 1 year old car, keep the rest for diesel, meals out, flowers and a bit for servicing and unexpected bills when out of warranty.

New Girlfriend: new car? - THe Growler
GRowlette is getting a good LOL out of this thread. She says it marries (no pun) a number of converging truths.

1. To a man his car is as important as his girlfriend;
2. To a woman his car tells her something about her man, big and flashy wheels good on the street but maybe not in bed, small and economical means Cheap Charlie like accountant; big, comfortable and solid means reliable and OK for marriage and babies.

...and here's the bit only a woman would dream up: why not buy the g/f her own car so she could come and visit......
New Girlfriend: new car? - Andrew-T
ND - is this little story the reason for your title?
New Girlfriend: new car? - No Do$h
No, the preceding transport (Rover 416SLi) has a lot more to do with it, but nowhere near as much as my ex-wife has!

I hasten to add that she was ex before new Mrs ND was on the scene.
New Girlfriend: new car? - Sparrow
What a wonderful set or responses. I had no idea this could be such an interesting thread.
I loved Growlette's observations. All I'll say to them is that we both did the marriage/babies thing ages ago so that's not a consideration. I had more than once wondered what a man's car says to a potential GF. From that point of view however great a Skoda Fabia is (and it is) I would not get one.
Maybe an Octavia though (a friend has the TDI version and gets 55 mpg on a run). Still not quite my scene.
Will look at Passats, 320 d, and my sensible side has allowed me to book a test drive in a C5.
New Girlfriend: new car? - owen
On the subject of using cars to attract girls, my dad used to tell me "doesn't matter what car it is son, most birds won't know one end from the other anyway. As long as it goes and there's a back seat, it'll be fine..."
New Girlfriend: new car? - paulb {P}
Had you thought of a Seat Leon TDI (best in SE trim with the 110 bhp engine)? I had one of those a couple of years ago (wish I'd never got rid of it, in some ways) - unrivalled mile-devouring ability, very nicely put together and absolutely bombproof mechanically, despite best efforts of supplying dealer. There is an awful lot of old-model Audi A3 in the Leon's interior.
New Girlfriend: new car? - andymc {P}
Have agree with paulb - can't see me replacing my Leon TDI SE for at least another 2-3 years, maybe longer. 32000 miles from new over 2 years (drove another car for a few months to keep the Leon's mileage down and spent the whole time itching to get it back off the wife) and handling/responsiveness still entertain, but also a great long-distance cruiser*. Was in a friend's petrol-engined Laguna recently and the row from his engine when cruising would drive me insane - 70 mph needs 3400 revs in his car, 2400 in mine. Seems to be getting a bit quicker as the engine loosens, so still undecided whether chipping is worth it. Pick-up from low speeds is superb, overtaking never a problem. Minor cabin creaks sorted with a silicone spray on dashboard mounting points (FOC under warranty). Handling got even better when original Continentals were replaced by Vredesteins - improved grip at the cost of about 3 mpg, so now averaging "only" 52 mpg. No service has cost more than £130 so far, all at local main dealer who (lucky me) is very good.

New Girlfriend: new car? - andymc {P}
"handling/responsiveness still entertain, but also a great long-distance cruiser"

* given Growlette's contribution, I should point out that I am still referring to the car ...

New Girlfriend: new car? - PhilW
When choosing a car to impress the girlfriend don't forget the all important factor - colour! For some strange reason my wife always recognises (and likes!) Citroens but whenever she comments on other cars (that's a nice car, that's a horrible car) and I ask her which one she always replies along the lines of "that blue one" or "that green one". I swear that if I came home with a yellow Ferrari she would hate it! If I came back with a Skoda 100LS (?) in a nice shade of blue she would love it!
And if it was a Citroen in a nice "Brittany" blue I'd even get my tea cooked for me (I think that is known as "euphemism!!) (Hope she doesn't read this 'cos she'll swear I'm exaggerating and the dog will get my dinner again)
New Girlfriend: new car? - Graham

Argh caps lock!
New Girlfriend: new car? - HF
No! Not pink! Anything but pink, please.

Value my car