£1,500 buying decision - chakaping
Hello all, the time has come where it looks like I'm going to have to buy another car, and I'm finding myself torn between a few options. I always value the advice I find on here, so I've come back for more.

I don't drive much - really just a few long-distance trips a year and the supermarket once a fortnight - so I don't want to spend too much. Up to £1,500 or so.

There's only a year or so before I'm likely to become a family man, so I quite fancy a coupé - of which there's quite a choice in the 10-year-old plus category I'm looking at.

I'm currently considering the last shape Honda Prelude, the Fiat Coupe (non-turbo - but still scared by possible unreliability), the Audi Coupe (possibly early 20v or late V6) and maybe the Nissan 200sx (though they seem to be too much in demand among boy racers).

Another consideration is that my wife is likely to be driving when she passes her test, and she's only 5' 3" - so she needs to be able to reach the pedals.

Non-coupe options I've been looking at include the late old-shape Mondeo V6, the Mitsubishi Galant V6, Mazda Xedos and the top-end late old-shape Nissan Primeras.

Any thoughts on the above choices are most welcome - and of course any other suggestions.

Cheers in advance!
£1,500 buying decision - mattc
How about a Peugeot 406 Coupe? I've been running a 2.0 16v one for a coupe of years now with very few problems.
£1,500 buying decision - chakaping
406 Coupe - I think they look really lovely, but I'm a bit worried by the 406's reputation for unreliability.

QX - That was my last car before current stopgap Rover, the 2 litre V6 was a lovely engine and it was very comfy - but I want a change and something not quite so massive.

I usually change car every year or two anyway, so buying another car somewhere down the line isn't a concern.

I'm probably leaning toward the Audi or Prelude at the moment - I've found lots of info online about Audi but not so much on Honda - anyone got experience of owning one?

I had one as a test car for a few days when they came out and remember it seemed nice but bland, the styling has grown on me since though. I remember driving the first mile in second gear due to jumping in car late for an appointment and not being able to work out how the tiptronic gears were operated.

£1,500 buying decision - Gromit {P}
The non-coupe options have the advantage that, having found a good one, you won't have to change it if and when you do become a family man.

Do a forum search for Bangernomics: there's useful information on the Xedos in there.

Of the coupes, I'd expect the Audi would be most likely to sell easily and get most of your money back if you did have to change in due course.
£1,500 buying decision - Chris M
I'm probably thinking too practical here but...........

You spend £1,500 on something you enjoy, it costs you nothing other than petrol over the next year and you sell it for not much less than you paid.

or

You spend £1,500, plus another £xxx because something breaks in the coming year, along comes baby and you need to sell your now well sorted car.

I think I'd be going for something practical, like the Mondeo V6 options you state.
£1,500 buying decision - madf
Since you don't drive much.. but presumably want it to be reliable and fuel costs are not an issue, something out of favour as a model but well liked. A Nissan QX ?

Tou don't want anything clapped out/expensive/appeals to thieves.. so a one owner QX with 80-90K miles and fsh will be under £1500 and very comfortable...
madf
£1,500 buying decision - dxp55
Be very carefull of Mk1 and Mk2 V6 mondeo's - they have a habit of getting through head gaskets all due to plastic waterpump impellor - if you can find one owner low milage full FSH check with dealer if they have replaced pump if they have give car a good thrash and I mean a good thrash -get it hot then check expansion tank -if you see "any" bubbles rising up into tank or froth on top of water walk away - read this forum for more info www.fordmondeo.org/forum/index.php? - go forums V6 engines - Mazda Xedos - I have a 2.3 miller and it goes like pink fluffy dice off shovel but valve seals are leaking - a known problem that I didn't know about -- if you look at one supprise owner and turn up first thing in morning before they have started it - if it blows smoke walk away - usually happens on first cold start - dealer I got mine from started it first thing gave it a good rev to get rid of oil that had leaked over night and a few hours later it was fine on start up. - some very nice 2.5 Xedos's can be had for the money you have.

Dave
£1,500 buying decision - chakaping
Cheers for the advice, I was aware from the car-by-car breakdown on here that Mondeo V6s had issues as they got towards high mileages. Perhaps best to give them a miss, but they're so damned cheap!
£1,500 buying decision - Pugugly {P}
"but they're so damned cheap!"

And and engine noise to die for !
£1,500 buying decision - component part
dice off shovel but valve seals are leaking - a known
problem that I didn't know about --
Dave


Is that a known unknown? Or was that an unknown unknown that has become a known known?
£1,500 buying decision - Pugugly {P}
no it was an Unknown Known obviuosly :-)
£1,500 buying decision - SjB {P}
I'm currently considering ... the Fiat Coupe (non-turbo - but still scared by possible unreliability)


Very nice cars, daft looking painted metal band across the dashboard aside.
A forum search will reveal that I've commented positively on these cars before, and have a friend who (still, some time after I last posted about them) gets reliable service with a huge helping of fun from hers. She's had it for years already, and has no intention of parting with it. An independent specialist outlet in High Wycombe is used for the maintenance things her husband can't or won't touch. Like your wife, she's not tall, and within the "coupe" constraint has no problems finding a comfortable driving position with good visibility.

Good luck with whatever you choose, and the kid(s) when they arrive!
I get huge pleasure out of my motoring, but it doesn't come close to life since the latter arrived in October.
£1,500 buying decision - Pugugly {P}
If it was me the Primera simply on grounds of reliability plus the fact it's decent drive. Second choice would be the V6 Mondeo.
£1,500 buying decision - D2*
I've got a 5 a last shape Honda Prelude 2.2 Vtec, and it is a great drive which I would highly recommend. However for £1500 you would probably be looking at a 2.0Litre which although adequate performance wise isn?t really going to be much fun, also avoid the automatics which are prone to failure and very costly to rebuild.

If I were you I?d try and track down an older shape Honda Accord 2.3Litre coupe, you should be able to get a good one for about £1000 leaving plenty over if anything does need doing. Its also a lot more practical than the Prelude meaning you may not need to switch when starting a family.

Good luck, whatever your decision
£1,500 buying decision - D2*
meant to read '5th generation last shape Prelude'.
£1,500 buying decision - mike hannon
So have I. It won't disappoint - enjoy until you have to do something sensible...
£1,500 buying decision - Group B
I would go for an Audi coupe 20v, main attraction being the 5 cylinder noise. If it had to be a V6, I would go for the 2.8, I drove a 2.6 once and thought it was disappointingly sluggish. The 2.2 20v has the same power output as the 2.8 V6 doesn't it?
£1,500 buying decision - local yokel
2.2 20v puts out 170 bhp when new. Most will have been thrashed, IMHO, especially the Quattros.
£1,500 buying decision - boxsterboy
I've got a 5 a last shape Honda Prelude 2.2 Vtec,
and it is a great drive which I would highly recommend.
However for £1500 you would probably be looking at a 2.0Litre
which although adequate performance wise isn?t really going to be much
fun, also avoid the automatics which are prone to failure and
very costly to rebuild.


Shurely shome misteake? A Honda prone to failure?
£1,500 buying decision - Micky
You clearly need a good Probe.
£1,500 buying decision - stunorthants26
Think id go for the 20v Audi myself, really nice cars - V6 ones arent that much faster so save fuel and have a 20v. Will be a classic one day.
£1,500 buying decision - tintin01
Could you spend a bit more and get a Honda Accord coupe? They have 3 seats in the back, so might last you a bit longer when you start a family. Lovely shape and HJ's CBC breakdown rates them.
£1,500 buying decision - expat
Coupe and similar 3 doors are fun before you have kids but you won't want them afterwards. Too much hassle trying to get baby into and out of a back seat baby capsule. Not a problem if you change the car over before you start the family and at 1500 pounds you won't be losing a lot on depreciation.
£1,500 buying decision - local yokel
A4 Avant? P reg 2.6 with 120k on AT at £1495
£1,500 buying decision - chakaping
I've noticed that A4s are almost in banger territory now, and they are quite handsome cars - but the miser part of me wants to get a car that not many other people want - so I feel I'm getting a good deal.

The Accord Coupé is something that hadn't occured to me, and after a quick browse it seems there are some good deals to be had - they do seem to have great bangernomic potential - but I feel they lack the visual appeal of the other coupés I mentioned.

I like the idea of getting a 10-year-old car that I coveted when it was new (and which would have set me back £25-30k) for next to nothing.
£1,500 buying decision - chakaping
D2* - thanks for your advice. I was thinking of a 2.0 for £1.5k, yeah - but I'd stretch a few hundred quid if the right car came along. I'd probably just keep an eye out and buy the best I saw.

I'll certainly be wary regarding the automatics. Did you mean the tiptronic thing or is there also a standard auto? Though I note on the cbc breakdown it says the tiptronic paddles are set the 'wrong way', so pulling back changes down. That sounds a bit odd.
£1,500 buying decision - Micky
tinyurl.com/2dubr5

Merely posted as an example, don't go to Wales, particularly North Wales.. There must be an Alfa somewhere for you. Do you have a lockup? Then buy a 7. Or a Brit nearly-classic. Or both. And a motorbike, she'll never know .....
£1,500 buying decision - D2*
Chakaping, glad I could be of help. As far as I know all the auto's are tiptronic, I've personally never driven when but when researching buying my Prelude found quite a few reports outling very costly rebuilds being required for them at relitively low mileage. The Manuals command a bit of a premium as most seem to have been auto's but there are enough out there you should be able to find a good one.

Being a Honda, I wouldnt be too concerned by the Mileage as if the car has been looked after it should be good for a high mileage. Off the top of my head the Cambelt is due every 60,000 miles, but Honda will replace it for £200 including oil service if its due.

If you can streach to £2.0K you should be able to get an early 2.2Vtec manual with c100,000 miles, If you cant streach to £2.0K I would go for 2.0Litre manual as opposed to a 2.2 Vtec. If you do go for the 2.2Vtec make sure you check the 4 wheel steering light comes on and goes off on starting the ignition and the rear wheels turn.

Get a good one and you won't regret your choice, but anybody attempting to squeeze in the rear seats may be slightly less impressed, but the roar of the engine as Vtec kicks in at 5000rpm normally drowns them out nicely!

Good luck with your search, land make sure you let the backroom know how it goes. Also feel free to ask me any further questions you have about Preludes.
£1,500 buying decision - chakaping
Thanks, plenty of useful info there. Will definitely stick to manual.

One other question did occur to me: Did you notice a particular problem with wind noise?

I'll be doing most of my driving on the motorway and it's annoying not to be able to hear the stereo when I happen to stray over 70mph.
£1,500 buying decision - D2*
Can't say I've ever particularly noticed any wind noise being a problem at any speed, however normally I'm listening to music or enjoying the sound of the engine. I Will be going for a run in it later so will specifically listen for it and report back, but I definitely know it shouldn't be bad enough that you can't hear the stereo.
£1,500 buying decision - Mapmaker
I reckon £1500 is too much.

A £750 car is just as likely to require £500 of work as is a £1500 car. So buy the cheaper car, and have the money for backup. Audi 90 all the way... or a W123?
£1,500 buying decision - chakaping
I'm aware that any normal car that costs much over £1k is still going to be subject to depreciation in a way that older cars aren't.

I'm usually a diehard bangernomics man, but I've talked myself into spending a bit more this time to get a more modern and nice looking coupé with aircon, airbags and ABS.

My wife's also been looking up safety stats, which seem to be better on eight-year-old cars than 12-year-old ones.
£1,500 buying decision - DuncanSuperb
My response is bound to wind up a few regulars in that it would seem that I've completely ignored the original 'brief' however, just to put an idea into the pot - have you considered a Corrado VR6 ? I only really mention this because I empathise with your comment about getting " a 10-year-old car that I coveted when it was new " - indeed I really wanted one of these.

I honestly can't comment on the reliability, performance etc but a quick search reveals some nice looking expamples 'almost' within your price.

I hope this hasn't put the wind up too many people!
£1,500 buying decision - Group B
I was going to suggest a Corrado VR6, but I didn't think you'd get one for £1500. Or a G60, they don't sound as nice but they go well, a mate of mine used to have one.

Audi coupe 5cyl still preferable though IMO.

;o)
£1,500 buying decision - chakaping
I used to really like the Corrado, and as a two-time Scirocco owner it was something I used to aspire to.

However, it's got a bit too popular I feel - and good examples are now rather pricey. Plus I think the image has been eroded by the Revs readers who have been buying them.

Shame VW stopped making them though, if they'd carried on or brought out a replacement (I think there's been a concept for a new VW coupé at last) it would probably be more of an option - due to greater availability.
£1,500 buying decision - chakaping
And cheers for the Probe suggestion Micky. I did consider it - but it just looks a bit dated in a way that other 90s coupés don't, IMO.

And I can still remember that awful cheesy advert with the Brian May music.
£1,500 buying decision - local yokel
"I'm usually a diehard bangernomics man, but I've talked myself into spending a bit more this time to get a more modern and nice looking coupé with aircon, airbags and ABS."

Spending £1,500 isn't going to get you into that league. An ABS failure on a car you paid £1,500 is perhaps going to cost more to put right than the car is worth - and the same is true of the AC.

Either spend £750 on a Primera, or your next stop is £4,000. Anything in between is high risk, with the distinct chance of you having to pump in money to "protect" your £1.5 k "investment".
£1,500 buying decision - chakaping
"Either spend £750 on a Primera, or your next stop is £4,000. Anything in between is high risk, with the distinct chance of you having to pump in money to "protect" your £1.5 k "investment"."

Of course buying a second hand car is a risk, and it gets riskier the less you pay.

I really don't see the sense in spending £2.5k more than I need to on a car - just because I could end up forking £1k to fix a £1.5k car.

Especially since any car I buy is mainly going to sit on my drive depreciating. I only do 5,000 miles per year max.

I'm not a gambling man, but I'm happy to take my chances spending £1.5k on a car and using my judgment and the knowledge I can gain from sites such as this one to pick the right one.
£1,500 buying decision - local yokel
"Of course buying a second hand car is a risk, and it gets riskier the less you pay"

Correct, but the while the chance of the worst occurring may increase, your potential loss is reduced. Spend £500 on Grandad's Cavalier with FVSH, and the most you can lose if £500. Spend £2,000 on a much more expensive to fix car, and you could lose/spend £1,500 on getting it fixed.

You can only lose the £500 once, just as you can only lose the £1,500 once, but if you can't afford to lose/pay £1,500 to keep your car on the road, then you are stuffed.

So it makes sense to buy cheaper, and already be prepared to throw it away.
£1,500 buying decision - Mapmaker
Of course buying a second hand car is a risk, and
it gets riskier the less you pay.



Noooooooooooo!

It gets riskier the more you pay. Aprilia will give you examples of BMWs or MBs requiring 5k of repair... on a car worth less than that. Your risk is therefore in excess of 100% of your initial investment. Strangely, he drives a QX, not the Germanobiles he buys and sells.

£150 for a MK ii Polo, and it will probably do you 2 years. If it doesn't... scrap it.

£5k for an elderly-ish BMW. It too will probably do you 2 years... but if it doesn't, you might be faced with a 5k bill. At which point... scrap it.
 

Value my car