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Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Dulwich Estate
What with the high cost of french s/h cars I'm minded to buy a RHD car in England, run it here for a while to make sure any bugs are sorted out and then drive it to the french holiday house where (with right-hand dipping headlights) it will live out it's natural life. It certainly won't have much retained local value as RHD!

I'd make sure I took a clutch cable too.

I would use it for airport trips, taking rubbish to the dump and towing a trailer for the bigger items of rubbish. I imagine it would be pressed into carrying building materials as well.

I am prepared to spend a couple of thousand pounds to get me a pretty reasonable run-about. But what to buy? I like the idea of a Citroen Xsara Picasso (horrible to look at, but it will do the job) and could maybe get a 80000 mile Y reg or 51 for just over £2k. A Berlingo or similar looks more pricey.

It would want to be french and a hatchback, estate or MPV for the dump trips. Diesel or petrol - it's all the same as I don't expect to do more than a couple of thousand miles a year if even that.

Any views?
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - stunorthants
The sort of reliablility you get on french cars isnt generally the same as with japanese cars, so its all relative.
Are you choosing a french car for a reason? Personally, if I was going to buy a car to do what your doing, id buy japanese as they tend to be more reliable as old cars than most european ones.
I reckon id choose a Toyota Picnic - plenty of space, dead easy to drive and most likely faultlessly reliable unless you buy an ex-minicab, plus pretty cheap because it was an unexceptional car in its day, but as a reliable used car, it makes alot of sense.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Dulwich Estate
At the moment I'm keen to buy french so that the local blacksmith (er, I mean garage) can get parts easily and fix any problems with a minimum of fuss.

I can just imagine the gallic shrug of lack of interest when I bring in a japanese car. I can't even bring myself to thinking about trying to get say, a new exhaust.

I also need right hand dipping headlights to get it registered and pass the french MOT - one thing France is not short of is s/h headlights for french cars.

I read somewhere they made a really basic Xsara with wind up windows - true?
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - jammods
406 estate?

HDI, should be able to pick one up relatively cheaply.

I had a 405 which was very reliable did well over 30k in a couple of years, for the price of new brakes/tyres and that was it.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - landmarked
My choice would be a really basic ZX / Xsara / 306 with the non-turbocharged XUD engine. Change the oil every year, coolant every couple of years and it should go on for ever, parts and expertise will be limitless and there's nothing really expensive to go wrong.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - barney100
Sounds a good idea. French cars in France are much cheaper to fix than over here. I would be inclined to have a look round for a L hand drive one. Ex. The old Renault Twingo which I believe didn't come out in RHD was quite popular over here and I bet there is a LHD example somewhere to suit of a model that you fancy.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Dulwich Estate
This site is just so good. Ideally of course a LHD is the best option, but it seems that nowadays (because of people like me, Channel 4 "House in the Sun" etc. ) they are in short supply and pricey.

The Twingo idea looks good.

Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Stuartli
>>The Twingo idea looks good>>

Might be of interest:




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What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Dulwich Estate
The safety issue is one I hadn't really thought about - maybe larger lump of metal like the 405 would be better.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - AN Other
I'm with Brommers on this one.

Anything with the normally aspirated XUD engine should serve your turn admirably. The "old 405 estate" suggestion would probably be my choice. Good idea - what you're planning, that is!
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - landmarked
Also think about corrosion - a lot of 405s (and other cars of that era) still aroundare rotting away, and if the car were to be left for long streches you might not be able to effectively coutner this. Models that have come out in the last 10-15 years seem to be better protected / galvanised.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - DP
The 306 is a great car if you buy it with the XUD or the 8 valve 1.6 TU series petrol engine.

Fabulous car to drive as well. Better riding, handling and steering than any Golf, Astra or Escort.

Early cars plentiful at under a grand now.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Dulwich Estate
Plenty to think about and lots of good advice - thanks.

Maybe it's anything with the XUD then??

I'll report back when I've narrowed down the choice.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - LeePower
The only time a 405 has a rust issue is after poor accident repairs.

ALL 405s where hot dip galvenised so rust isnt a problem on one thats been looked after.

As to the safety aspect go for a August 1994 onwards car when a drivers airbag, seatbelt pretensioners & side impact bars where fitted as standard ( except on the MI16 Le-Mans )

A GTX or Executive either in 2 litre petrol or 1.9 turbo diesel with ABS would be a good choice, Lots of car for little money.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Xileno {P}
For your intended low mileage I would stick to petrol.
I would also endorse the ZX/306 range, the 1.9i engine is a tough unit.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Dulwich Estate
Also, any advice on whether any type of car / engine is better to have when it's laid up for maybe two months between uses. I'd plan to use axle stands and one of those solar power trickle chargers for the battery too.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - local yokel
405 TD estate - ideal to leave as the exhaust won't rust. Mine's done 170k and still fresh. Get one with aircon, roof rails and single electrics tow bar. If dual electrics, then it's been caravanning, but caravanners might well manintain a car better.

Pay about £800 to £1,000 for a nice late one. They are still around.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Xileno {P}
If you are going to lay the car up f or two months at a time, then avoid aircon. Although on an old 405 it may not work by now anyway.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Victorbox
If it is being parked up for any length of time I suggest you invest in the French equivalent of a "smart" battery charger as here www.hamiltonclassic.co.uk/ProductInformation/Batte...m or the Airflow charger from the same people. No need to disconnect any battery leads before you start trickle charging and with the CTEK it can be left connected for months on end with no damage. The car will then start on the button when you need it.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Dulwich Estate
For the moment I've decided to concentrate on finding a Peugeot 306 non-turbo diesel. N,P & R reg, miles around 100k to 120k. Prices £800 - £1000. So far I've rejected one (130K) with an oil drip after a short run. Was I right to get bothered by a drip from a 130k engine?

I'm probably wrong but don't fancy one which looks OK but has 170k miles.

PS the reports I've read about no performance, i.e. 0 - 60 in a week or two, are certainly right.

Still looking.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - landmarked
If I were you I would stick to cars with less than 100K. The XUD is tough but is still likely to need more major work (oil seals etc) at close to 150K. Also make sure there is plenty of history - particularly of oil changes every 6K and coolant every couple of years - otherwise you are asking for head gasket trouble.

Don't suppose you would be interested in a ZX turbodiesel, FSH with 78K would you? ;-) Can send you some pics...
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Dulwich Estate
Thanks for the 100k advice. I looked at one today (69k, strong smell of dog and possible accident damage repair at the front) and it sounded younger - if you know what I mean. The exterior was scruffy but the interior sagged less than the 130k example - but at £1200 I though it a bit too much.

I don't know where all the ones with history are to be found - the first one I looked at had the service book in the car and only the first 6000 mile service stamped , the rest was blank - what happened to the other 20 oil changes? The second one's history stopped at 50k.

At the moment I'll decline your kind offer brommers as I'm sticking to non turbos for reliability and lower UK insurance ( for a 17 year old in the hols).
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - landmarked
It's the nature of the beast that there will be a lot of abused examples around - same as when I was looking for the ZX a year ago. You'll find something eventually - keep scanning autotrader and fish4cars - properly looked after examples are out there!
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - Dulwich Estate
It's taken a bit of effort, but I've gone and bought one.

1997, P reg., Peugeot 306, 1.9d.

It seems in very good order with one owner from new. Every single service has been at a Peugeot main dealer and I am swamped with paperwork. I collect it tomorrow when I'll get a better look at all the service records. But for the moment, I can't quite believe that I've seen both the booking-in sheet and service / job invoice for every single garage visit.

A random booking-in sheet says " makes a funny noise from the engine" and the invoice says "investigated noise and new PAS pump fitted".

The dealer has even fitted all it's wiper blades in the 9 years of its life.

Slight downside 102,000 miles - but the service history is just so good I couldn't say no.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - LeePower
Only 102K miles on a XUD lump.

If its looked after theres at least another 100 to 150K miles left in that engine.
Reliable, cheap French car - possible? - machika
Slight downside 102,000 miles - but the service history is just
so good I couldn't say no.

In nine years, that is only a little over 11K a year, which is only about average.

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