Which sensible diesel? - Felix
Hi BRers,

The time's finally come to change my trusty Megane so I'm on the test drive trail. Rather dull set of criteria but, hey, that's life...

1. Diesel - I like the economy and the way they drive
2. Good ride and quiet on the motorway
3. Good toy count
4. Comfy
5. Not too slow
6. Doesn't really have to be bigger than the Megane but need the flexibility of a hatchback (so my original favourite of a Skoda Superb's out)
7. 1-2 years old, 12k-ish budget

I'd narrowed down to a shopping list of...

1. Skoda Octavia 2.0PD
2. Citroen C5 2.0HDI (new shape)
3. Citroen C4 2.0HDI
4. Vauxhall Vectra 1.9CDTI (probably 120)
5. Toyota Avensis 2.0 D-4D

Of course it's my choice in the end but always intersted in your opinions as to which might best fit the bill.

Had a go in the Octavia and C5 yesterday. I so wanted to like the Octavia, it seemed superb (no pun intended) in every way, but I took it onto the motorway and was really disappointed with the level of road noise, which would have got very tiring after a while. I took the Megane back down the same stretch to check my ears weren't decieving me. So sadly I think it's struck off. Great attitude by the dealer by the way, no bull, just handed me the keys - had this before at Skoda dealers.

The C5 I rather liked - very smooth indeed, even if it didn't have the quality feel of the Skoda, and the steering felt a bit remote so that's my current favourite. I've always had a soft spot for Citroens anyway. However I fear I'll struggle to get a decently spec'd one (Exclusive) within my budget - the guides suggest otherwise but they seem to start in reality around 13k which I'd rather not stretch to if possible.

More goes today.....
Which sensible diesel? - BobbyG
Shame about the Skoda. I have a Fabia vrS and sometimes the road noise is very loud, depending mostly on the road surface. However I think that comes as part and parcel of having a "performance" car with low profile tyres etc etc.
Not sure if your Octavia falls under the same bracket and ths has maybe lower profile tyres etc whereas I doubt if the C5 or your current Megane would?

Do you like your Megane? What about the new Laguna? These seem to be taking a big hit depreciation wise, have seen some 55 plates for £12k.
Which sensible diesel? - harryhammer
What about a Megane Sport Tourer 1.9dci.
Extremely quiet on the motorway, good turn of pace and more load space than a Laguna equivalent......
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
The Octavia didn't have particularly low profile tyres so that doesn't seem to explain it, I guess it comes down to insulation, unless the make of tyre can make that much difference.

I have quite liked my Megane (though looking for another one seems a bit of a cop-out). I thought about the Laguna, it seemed tempting in a lot of ways, but I've been put off by the horrendous reliability reputation it seems to have. I know C5's aren't paragons of virtue in this regard, but I've heard a lot of horror stories about Lagunas. Don't know if I should ignore them - perhaps it's been around so long now imost of the issues have been sorted?
Which sensible diesel? - Statistical outlier
I think it comes down to branding actually. It's the equal or better of the Passat / Golf in most other ways, so they put in less sound insulation to make sure that there is still something 'worth' paying extra for in the VW and Audi brands.
Which sensible diesel? - George Porge
A different set of tyres would make all the difference, try to test another car with a different make fitted. Renault diesels have a tarnished reputation due to there earlier engines blowing up at an alarming rate.

Altea / Leon?
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
Read some reviews suggesting that they were very unrefined. I think the Leon's very good looking (used to have a Cupra when I was younger and irresponsible), and Seats are pretty good value but it's definitely made to be "sporting" with all the baggage that entails.
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
I think it comes down to branding actually. It's the equal
or better of the Passat / Golf in most other ways,
so they put in less sound insulation to make sure that
there is still something 'worth' paying extra for in the VW
and Audi brands.

You might well be right. I think you have to be paying for something more than just the badge getting a VW over a Skoda since the stigma attached to the Skoda badge only remains with very stupid people IMHO. Unfortunately I think a decent Passat / Golf with sufficiently low miles will be over my budget.
Which sensible diesel? - Dynamic Dave
4. Vauxhall Vectra 1.9CDTI (probably 120)


May I ask why not the 150?
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
I wouldn't rule it out but it pushes the price up and I don't really think I need all that performance. Ditto looking at the 2.0 rather than 2.2 Avensis - the extra performance would be nice but do I really need it. Would you particularly recommend it over the 120, is the latter all that sluggish? I find the 120 dci in my Megane more than adequate.
Which sensible diesel? - George Porge
If thats the case why not try the Octavia with the 1.9 engine, I'd bet that would have a smaller wheel and higher aspect ratio tyre to give the same overall diameter, more compliance, less road noise.
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
Nice idea, however the wheel diameters don't seem to differ between 1.9 & 2.0 engines (I just looked). To get smaller wheels I'd have to get a lower spec car which does without all the other gizmos I wanted. Not that the Elegance is exactly, er, sporty. Unfortunate catch-22. And I'd also wondered if the 105 bhp engine really would be too slow.
Which sensible diesel? - Chad.R
Nice idea, however the wheel diameters don't seem to differ between
1.9 & 2.0 engines (I just looked). To get smaller
wheels I'd have to get a lower spec car which does
without all the other gizmos I wanted. Not that the
Elegance is exactly, er, sporty. Unfortunate catch-22. And I'd
also wondered if the 105 bhp engine really would be too
slow.


The later 1.9TDi (PD) engines would be 130bhp IIRC
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
The later 1.9TDi (PD) engines would be 130bhp IIRC

Not in the Octavia it aint. See HJ's own road test.
Which sensible diesel? - y2k+4
I know it's an almost defunct car now, really, but in refinement terms I'd imagine it to be among the best of the named crop: Skoda Superb?
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
I had a go in a Superb about 6 months ago and thought it was absolutely, ahem, superb. Unfortunately I decided I had to be herd-nosed about practicalities and really need a hatch. Real shame otherwise I wouldn't be having this debate with myself and everyone else on the interweb-thingy
Which sensible diesel? - johnsnc
My sensible diesel is a Focus 2.0tdci Ghia .... been very very pleased with it . It's probably more Megane sized than some of the others you list . Not everyones cup of tea of course . I would expect there is a decent choice of nearly new cars (not necessarily Ghia's) at many outlets for the money you are talking .
Which sensible diesel? - machika
With regard to the C5, you should be able to find a 1 year old 2.0 HDI VTR for less than £12k, any more than this and they are really overcharging, as a new one can be had for under £14k. I find a few on Auto Trader. The combination of the ride quality and the smooth, quiet engine really does take some beating, if you are looking for a motorway car. The seats are very good too.

I am surprised nobody has come in with a Mondeo as a candidate. This must be a first, me mentioning a Mondeo as a recommendation before anyone else!
Which sensible diesel? - Xileno {P}
Most of the problems with the Laguna were on the earlier MK2's. 01/02/03 models best avoided.

Later 1.9dCi engines have modifed oil feeder pipes to the turbo. Also reduced oil change intervals. They must also have the correct oil used, they do not tolerate the wrong grade.

Buy as late as possible with a warranty and you should be OK.

You may be able to source a Laguna with the 2.0dCi engine for this money. This has the latest Renault/Nissan designed engine with chain cams. Really great engine to drive, up to 175bhp in standard form.

Check everything electrical works, some models come with a lot of toys.

Great looking car despite its advancing years. One of the few french cars that still has that lovely french ride comfort, providing you get the right wheel combination fitted.
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
Hmmmmm... maybe one more for my list then. I did check before and it seems I can get a lot of Laguna for my budget, and I do like them. Must admit I've bought cars with supposedly dodgy reliability records before and they've not been the ones to let me down, guess I've just been lucky.
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
Most of the problems with the Laguna were on the earlier
MK2's. 01/02/03 models best avoided.
Later 1.9dCi engines have modifed oil feeder pipes to the turbo.
Also reduced oil change intervals. They must also have the correct
oil used, they do not tolerate the wrong grade.
Buy as late as possible with a warranty and you should
be OK.
You may be able to source a Laguna with the 2.0dCi
engine for this money. This has the latest Renault/Nissan designed engine
with chain cams. Really great engine to drive, up to 175bhp
in standard form.


Well, I've finally whittled down my original list to the Citroen C5 which just edges it over the C4. Ever so comfy, super engine and lots of toys. But I still haven't quite discounted the Laguna. Question for Xileno (or anyone else that knows!) - you mention the later 1.9dCi engines, is that the 130 hp engine? I've seen the post 2005 laguna with both 120 and 130 variants - I'm guessing the former is exactly the same as I've got in my 52 reg Megane (which has been pretty good to me), but I assume you'd recommend the 130?
Which sensible diesel? - Xileno {P}
My recommendation would be the 2.0 dCi. The 1.9 engine has been around in various formats since the early 1990's. Euro IV emission requirements meant a FAP was needed. The 2.0 dCi is a brand new design and it meets the Euro IV standard without a FAP. The other advantage of the 2.0dCi is that service is every 12000 miles, compared to 9000 for the 1.9.

However, my advise is - and always has been - to change the oil at 9000 using a top quality fully synthetic oil. 18000 is/was far too long IMO unless that mileage is clocked up quite quickly. Renault seem to have listened to me :-)
Which sensible diesel? - Waino
I am surprised nobody has come in with a Mondeo as a candidate. This must be a first, me mentioning a Mondeo as a recommendation before anyone else!


There's been so much negative stuff about TDCI engines (bent con rods, fuel leaks, dodgy injectors etc) that Mondeo fans are keeping quiet. I was going to replace my Mondeo 2.0 petrol with a TDCI - but I ain't now!!! It'll be another petrol Mondeo, or a diesel of a different marque.
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
I often have to hire cars at work and almost always end up with Focuses. Have to say they don't approach the refinement of my Megane though they (obviously) handle nicely, they seem to suffer worse road noise than the Octavia. Mondeo's similar too, though not quite so bad. So it won't be a Ford for me.
Which sensible diesel? - borasport20
Well I have now had a Megane Sport Tourer 1.5 dci (106) for just over a fortnight, and prior to that I had an Octavia 1.9 TDi for 50,000 miles

The Megane is more refined, quieter in terms of both engine and road noise than the Octavia was. It is also faster, and appearing to be at least as economical, and the interior is (marginally !) better equipped and less drab than the Skoda - if the Megane proves as reliable, then it beats the Skoda on just about all aspects.


--
Go on, get out of the car...
www.mikes-walks.co.uk
Which sensible diesel? - bristolmotorspeedway {P}
My list of criteria was similar to yours and I went for a new 2.2 D-4D Avensis. 4000 miles in, I am very happy with the choice so far. Would imagine a 2nd hand 2.0 D-4D will do a better job of holding onto its value than the others in your list (Skoda apart perhaps?).

Here's my Avensis vs some of your criteria:

1. Diesel - I like the economy and the way they drive
Best 57mpg, worst 46mpg, avg 51.4mpg (properly calculated, sad I know, not relying on the trip computer)

2. Good ride and quiet on the motorway
Ride is pretty good, it's very quiet at all times and virtually silent on a 60-70mph trundle

3. Good toy count
Yep, don't think you would get cruise control on a pre facelift model though, T-Spirit apart

4. Comfy
No aches and pains, spend 1 1/2 - 2 hrs a day in it

5. Not too slow
2.2 is pretty brisk, the (old) 2.0 is probably reasonable

I don't think your £12k budget would quite stretch to a facelift 2.0 D-4D (July 06 on), so you'd be missing out on the more powerful, chain-driven 2.0 diesel that supercedes the previous one.

Which sensible diesel? - bazza
We run an Octavia tdi elegance 110 and a Focus 1.6 new shape. The Octavia is a far more refined package than the Focus, which suffers unacceptably high road noise levels IMO. Before the Focus I ran a 1.6 Megane for 8 years and 100K, virtually trouble-free. Even the old Megane kicks the Focus into touch for refinement! Would highly recommend the Octavia though as an all round package, averaging about 54mpg in mixed driving, more on a run. Not sure what the newer PD 105 unit is like though I have read only good reports.
Cheers Baz
Which sensible diesel? - type's'
Environmental concerns are not hot on your criteria but if it were and you look further than CO2 levels - the Toyota diesels are very clean - if you can afford a D-CAT version that is.
Which sensible diesel? - MGspannerman
Met an old friend today who has a new shape Civic diesel, about which he is ecstatic. Plenty of oomph and 56mpg apparently. I have no idea what they cost. Very angualr styling that may not appeal to everyone though.

MGs
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
Met an old friend today who has a new shape Civic
diesel, about which he is ecstatic. Plenty of oomph and 56mpg
apparently. I have no idea what they cost. Very angualr styling
that may not appeal to everyone though.
MGs

I like the external looks. I guess it's a subjective thing, but I had a look at the Civic when it came out and I really didn't like the interior, the dash looked like something out of Flash Gordon if you get my drift - didn't ever feel I'd like it.
Which sensible diesel? - happytorque
Felix,
Just buy the C5!...ive had a 2.0 HDI for 4 years and its a brilliant car. I have driven all the other cars mentioned above, except for the latest model Laguna. If smoth quiet comfort is a priority for you, get the C5; it beats the others by a country mile. Its not missed a beat in 47,000 miles.
Trev
Which sensible diesel? - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}
I've got a 100hp Passat estate. Slow it is not. So I do not think the similar Octavia 105hp will be a sluggard.
C5 does not show up well in the HJ car by car breakdown.
--
I wasna fu but just had plenty.
Which sensible diesel? - happytorque
Youre right ....HJ paints a gloomy picture. I think most of these problems relate to the very early cars. Those produced after about May 2002 are much improved. Trev
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
Yep I've settled on the C5 for sure. I don't believe I'll find the Laguna any better and I can't find one with the updated engine and a good enough spec for my budget. Just got to find the right car...!
Which sensible diesel? - PW
Hi Felix. If it's any help Citroen have a regular spot at Blackbush auctions (every Friday) and you should be able to get a car through there.

If worried about buying through auction try Joe Dowd (www.auctioncarbuyer.co.uk). I've bought 4 cars through him now and all been perfect (last 2 from the Citroen lot).

The two Citroens I've had have also been faultless. Did 11,000 miles in the Picasso in six months without it missing a beat. Only had the Xsara a couple of weeks but already done well over 1000 miles in it and really like the car a lot.
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
Thanks for the suggestion, I might yet bear that in mind though it means I'd have to flog my Megane separately which would be a bit of a pain. However, touch wood I may have found something already - an 11000 mile 06 reg Exclusive HDI ex-demo at a main dealer, on the face of it exactly what I wanted. Only two downsides - the car's about 300 miles away so I haven't seen it with my own eyes, and the price is eerily low, 400 pounds below book. So I am wondering what's wrong with it as usually if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. I think it's been on sale for more than 2 months as the HPI check showed up that it had outstanding "unit stocking" finance taken up by the dealer back in Sept (which HPI tell me is normal practice). So why has nobody bought it.....? Hopefully becuase they're just deeply unfashionable cars, which isn't something that worries me too much.

Anyway I've taken the rash step of sticking a holding deposit on it. I'm getting it RAC inspected tomorrow to try and give myself some reassurance that I've not got a lemon and if that checks out OK then I'm going for a long drive to the other end of the country to do the deal. Slightly tedious but I think (hope) I've got a good deal as I've got reasonable part-ex on the Megane too.

Praying I've not done something really stupid - but if it's an ex-demo AND I'm getting it professionally inspected (and I won't actually part with my money until I actually go and see it) can I go far wrong?

Not too worried about Citroens in general. SWMBO's C3 hasn't missed a beat in 3 years and my Dad has always sworn by them - he's still running a BX (1993 I think) that lugs his caravan round the country. And my first ever car was a Dyane (getting all misty eyed at the thought!).
Which sensible diesel? - PhilW
"he's still running a BX (1993 I think)"

Must have been one of the last produced of a great car (IMHO) - saw a beauty the other day - and a very good towcar despite its lightness. Our 2 BXs lugged our caravan all over Europe (as far as Greece) with no probs.
--
Phil
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
Praying I've not done something really stupid - but if it's
an ex-demo AND I'm getting it professionally inspected (and I won't
actually part with my money until I actually go and see
it) can I go far wrong?

A bit sad replying to my own message but, hey...

I was obviously tempting providence. Just had a call from the RAC guy that carried out the inspection and, alarmingly, the ABS warning light came on in the middle of his test drive and an "ABS Defect" reported on its digital display. He stopped, turned off the ignition and turned it on again and it disappeared never to return. When he returned the car to the dealer apparently the service manager made a flippant comment along the lines of "well it's a Citroen" before being stopped in his tracks by the sales manager.

So I'm in a real quandary. If I were ultra cautious I would walk away but then I'm £200 worse off thanks to the inspection without a new car to show for it. However I've heard (on this forum and elsewhere) about C5's electronic glitches and spurious warnings - though admittedly I thought they were supposed to have improved. So I'm wondering if this is a lemon or whether he's just been "unlucky" (or perhaps might be better to say lucky!), after all I could have bought it from new and this might have happened a few months down the line. I am inclined to think that, so long as I insist on a proper investigation of the fault accompanied by a written report from the service dept, then I should be OK. And if it ever happens again I'm covered by the new car warranty for another 2 and a bit years.

Apart from this, and a couple of things that they can easily attend to, it sounds like a good car.

Does anybody think I'm being a fool? I can cope with the abuse!
Which sensible diesel? - Hamsafar
To be honest many cars have spurious warnings but keep them to themselves.
If I drive my car for 6 months, then do a scan I have things like..
Instruments CAN BUS cannot communicate with injection pump controller - intermittent.
Rear right door control module - short to +12 intermittent
Kickdown switch - implausible signal intermittent
Alarm Horn H12 - no communication intermittent

I don't experience any problems, and reset the codes and the next time different codes may be set or nn at all. Could all just be bad programming (unhandled exceptions and unimplemented traps) or microwave intererence? Who knows?
Which sensible diesel? - machika
Does anybody think I'm being a fool? I can cope
with the abuse!


First of all, you have to decide if you want a C5, rather than something else. There isn't really anything that matches the ride of C5 and, if that is not important to you, look elsewhere.

You will be likely to find that Citroen dealers aren't that good. As my brother said to me the other day, the difference between the Citroen and Volvo dealers he deals with, is that the Volvo dealer is pro-active and the Citroen dealer is not. Most Citroen dealers I have dealt with have, at times, actively resisted doing anything to help, until I pushed the issue, although I have not always met with success. However, I really like the car, so I am (currently) prepared to put up with this scenario, where I know I am going to have a hard time, if I go the main dealer for assistance.

I have one of the earliest C5s and it has not been the nightmare I was warned it would be. There have been things wrong with it and I nearly lost my patience with it when a recent fault proved beyond the garage that services it. I had no option but to approach the main dealer for help and they did (eventually) sort it out, but not before I had paid for something that was totally unnecessary.
Which sensible diesel? - Felix
I do want a C5 - it ticks all my boxes, although my previous slight hesitancy about it's reliability reputation has now been thrown into greater relief. I guess if I wanted peace of mind I'd go for an Avensis, but I just didn't like it as much. I'm more specifically worried as to whether I should get this particular car, when to all intents and purposes I'm planning to buy it on the basis of an RAC inspection which will be less than glowing because of this problem (well put it this way, I don't want 600 mile round trip on a wild goose chase).

I have found our local Citroen dealer to be fairly good with the servicing of SWMBO's C3 (even though I bought it elsewhere) so maybe I've been lucky - they've done little fixes for little problems for free on a couple of occasions.

My feeling is that this is a fault that could have happened to any car at any time, and so long as I get some evidence that they have properly investigated it (though I expect them to say "no fault found"!) I should hold my nerve. But it has made me more than a little anxious.
Which sensible diesel? - machika
I have some odd behaviour being exhibited by the auto box on our C5, which I don't recall happening before it had an uncalled for software update. I have been told there is no fault with the gearbox but I am not convinced.

I would have another C5, without any doubt at all. I find it such a relaxing car to drive, the big improvement over the Xantia being the superb seats and the driver's legroom. I think the HDI engines are lovely too. However, the difficulty that was experienced in diagnosing the engine management fault it had, does concern me a little for the future of the car.
 

Value my car