Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
Hi all.

I'm looking to replace our 1997 1.4CL Polo.

The Polo has done is 52,000 miles - mainly used for lots of short journeys around town.

The Polo is our 2nd car and only does c. 3,000 miles a year.

We're looking for a youngish car that is ok for these journeys but can cope with the odd motorwar trip. Needs to be ultra-reliable and safe. Doesn't have to be sexy.

Cash budget is £4,500 plus whatever we get for the Polo (say £500).

I'd like to keep the new car for as long as possible - we hope to move house in 2010 (likely big mortgage)

Hyundai Getz jumps out as a likely candidate; preferably 1.4 in CDX trim. Any views? And any suggestions for an alternative?

thanks.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Pendlebury
I think Yaris would be my suggestion.
Especially if want reliability and safety.
Or an older Jazz.
Both these will be more durable than the Getz IMO and it looks like you are looking long term.
Both cars will be a breath of fresh air in comparison to the Polo - again IMO.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - VR6
I sometimes drive a 54 plate Toyota Yaris 1.0. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending one to anyone for the sort of short journeys you do. The one I drive is used for short journeys too and averages 41mpg I also think its fine on the motorway (for a 1.0.)

Also recently driven a VW Polo Bluemotion Diesel, and was very impressed with the quality of the interior and the solid ride.

BiL has a Citroen C3 - again fine for town, but feels a bit cheap to me inside. But it was cheap to buy in the first place.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - oldnotbold
Polo should be worth a nudge more than £500 in a private sales with 12 months MoT and SH. £850 I'd say. That said, it's not depreciating now, so if it's reliable then it's the kind of car that some in your shoes would hang onto until it dies.

Edited by oldnotbold on 10/12/2008 at 18:02

Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
The box on the Polo is on its way out (jumps out of 5th), the central locking doesn't work and the passenger side window won't wind down (problem of guides). I'd be reluctant to sell privately - the buyer might not spot the fact the Polo is turning into a small yellow citrus fruit.

So Polo either goes as a trade-in or auction...


I should also say that we want a car with 5 doors. And the moon on a stick.

Edited by LondonBus on 10/12/2008 at 18:06

Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
Any views on higher-mileage older vehicles?

I'm getting 2004 Yaris/Jazz (53, 04 plate) coming up in the price range - but only if I'm willing to accept mileages of at least 50k.

I'm afraid I'm picky; want a youngish vehicle but don't want to pay big money.

Also - I want a vehicle with aircon! Makes a big difference in the winter with damp!
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Rattle
Stick it on ebay you will get more than £500 if it has a 12 months MOT. The gear problem might be a simple linkage fix, the window can be fixed easily with scrapyard parts.

What ever you do though don't sell the car and not mention the faults unless its a trader. Also if this is mainly for towns is 5th gear a major deal? I've only used it once on mine. My car spends as much time in 3rd than 4th around the city.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Rattle
It depends on your milleage. If you do say 3000 like me then it makes sense to buy a newer higher milleage car as age tends to kill cars more than milleage. If you do a lot of milleage then get an older lower milleage car, as it will be killed before the corrosion issues start to become a problem anyway.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - FocusDriver
Agree with Rattle. Short journeys under 5 miles kill engines. It's possible to buy a small '54 car with 6000 miles at a small premium but I wouldn't touch it. From what I've read over the years, I'd prefer a '54 plate car to have at least 30 or 40k - which is still less than average.

You can never be sure of course but I also have sympathy for the poster who points out that you might be persuaded to run it into the ground and save yourself some money as I'm doing with my '99 T Focus. It won't die, I know it's been serviced, I know what needs doing in the future - as you probably do about your Polo. A big advantage I think.

Save your money for your bigger house!
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Rattle
Or a lovely romantic holiday in Paris! You see I am famous for buying crappy old bangers and then moaning when it goes wrong, but I do save a lot of money this way, which means I have a good quality of life, I could buy a brand new car, but I would kiss good buy to beer and holidays.

I have a bit of a habit now of driving the long way round, just so warm the engine up a little bit.

My dad always pays around £1k for his cars, he does 12k a year, and usualy gets four years out of them, it is usual unusual circumstances that kils them. If you do a lot of motorway milleage then do I entirely see the point of a nice modern rust free car with ABS and the rest of it, but for city driving as longs as the car is safe if it did break down its not usualy the end of the world, and that is a big if.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
Would love to *not* spend money - however car is likely to have some big work needing doing to it. And I live in dread of the damn thing breaking down (VW quality is a myth) for my wife when she's using the car for work.

I don't have facilities to fix the Polo myself.

The Polo might only have 50,000 miles on it- but as these have all been around town (car was bought by my then girlfriend - now wife when as a nearly new 3 months after first registration) not only is the engine worn, but so is the transmission.

Experience of buying a 3 year old vehicle was 36k miles has been good; Our other car is a Nissan Almera Tino 1.8SE (52 plate) bought from a supermarket for 6k in early 2006; we do 7k miles per annum in that (living in London we don't do big mileages) - the only significant cost on the Tino apart from the service was 4 new tyres (supermarket took the urine - they passed it on a MoT but the tyres were pretty much fully worn).

Its noticeable that the residuals on small cars are holding up while the big ones have plummeted. You can get some quite nice Toyota Avensises for £5k...
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Rattle
Why not get an Avensis or Mondeo or something? For 3k does it matter about fuel? You can probably get a 50-60k 3 year old one well in your budget. The only reason i drive an old small car is due to insurance. How do you know the engine is worn? As for tyres I know the feeling, when I bought my car I first thought I won't have to touch the tyres for a long time.

I then inspected the front tyre closely and found it was cracking on the sidewall, even though it had 5mm thread, because the car had done 2k a year it had been on since 2000! My spare had a 1996 build date and was bold, yes it was probably original which had been swapped. So I got two new tyres and put a slightly warn tyre from the back on my spare.

So it is something to be aware of when you get your 3k a year car, replace the rubber every 6 years which seems premature but its better safe than sorry. I think what I ma saying is that cars wear out pretty much the same at 3k a year or at 13k a year so get a higher milleage example which is in very good condition as it won't die any quicker than a lower milleage one in your circumstances, its not wortht he premium at all.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
Would love to get a *bigger* car.

However, wife is a GP (salaried - not a partner - and working 2 days a week so she's not earning £100k a year - and if she is I'm not seeing it) and

i) She has to park in a tight undercroft at the surgery - lots of pillars
ii) Visits to patients in and around Kilburn London with tricky on-street parking.

I don't know the engine is worn but consider this:

3 days a week I make a 2 mile trip to the tube station.

2 days a week other half does 15 miles for work.


- The water barely heats up when I use the car; the oil filler cap permanently has mayo stuck to it - not because the head gasket leaks but because of condensation from the short journeys!

Very happy to buy a 3 yr old car with 40k miles. However, when I see vehicles with 50k+ (including some with 80k) I 'm not so sure....
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - stunorthants26
If you like the Getz then yes buy one, its a fine small car that doesnt set the world alight but is very reliable and well put together. Ive driven the 1.4 and it is fast enough although the diesel is a cracker. Just check interior condition as it is made for durability rather than appearnce, tho the Yaris is much the same.

It will be cheaper for its year/miles than a Yaris if a little less sophisticated. There is also a 1.3 engine one the older ones which falls around the budget you mention as 4500 is the cut off point between the disc 1.3 and new 1.4. I would actually seek out a 1.6 version in the high spec so long as the running costs are ok for you as it is usefully fast over smaller engines.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Mapmaker
>>And I live in dread of the damn thing breaking down (VW quality is a myth) for my
>>wife when she's using the car for work

There is absolutely nothing that says that a new car will be more reliable than the current one. Dropping out of fifth isn't going to cause the car to fail. A window that won't wind isn't going to cause the car to fail. Modern cars are so reliable that provided the cambelt is dealt with, an older car is no more likely to die than a new one. Once you reach 12-15-20 years, then yes, older cars do fail more.

I quite see that you don't want your GP wife driving a car that has no 5th gear.

I'd budget to spend 1-1.5k on a 6-7-year old Almera that's done the best part of 100k miles - it can't be any bigger than the Polo, can it? A car living on the streets of Kilburn can't have much of a life... Best to be disposable.

And I'd agree, with getting rid of the old one, put it on eBay, honestly written up, and somebody will give you good money for it.


Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
Thanks for this; As you will note we're getting to 12 years on this car (March next year). The jumping out of 5th links with noises from the box which from stuff posted on the Club Polo forums indicate the box is on its way out (Mk IV Polos tend to have box problems - one to add to HJ's breakdown?). We _could_ keep the car going (cam belt was replaced last year) - but the various bits are wearing out - and I have visions of either the car failing or a series of bills hitting us.

I also think having got 11 years out of this vehicle we're coming out of the sweet spot where the car has stopped depreciating and no major repairs are required to the area where we're going to start getting bills for stuff that's going with age....
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
Any views on the Corsa C?

I have a personal aversion to Vauxhalls, but HJ's car-by-car breakdown implies its pretty reliable. I also like the idea of a chain-cam engine....
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Rattle
Do you also like the idea of snapping camshafts? It might be very unfair but there has been quite a few reports of cambshafts snapping on those engines. I would not be happy with a Corsa C with one of them engines in it. What about a chain driven Micra?
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
The Micra is a possibility. Am happy with our Tino.


Aren't there problems with the electrics on many Micras now ? Renault quality strikes again?
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Alby Back
I guess you have thought of this already but it would cost a lot less than £4.5k to have the Polo put right.

Alternatively, a new or nearly new Panda seems to be a favourite choice as a city car.

Edited by Humph Backbridge on 10/12/2008 at 19:16

Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
We have thought about this - but spending much money on a 11 year old car doesn't seem like a good move. The danger always is - you fix the problems. And then more things go - because of age.

I'll look at the Panda but tend to be prejudiced against Fiat - I'd assumet they have relability problems and/or rust. I don't know if this is fair though.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Alby Back
Another medic may well be along in a minute re Pandas. Chris ?
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - FocusDriver
Sorry London Bus, I stupidly missed your post about your Polo needing so much work. I agree it's not worth it at 11 years old. I assumed it was in very good nick.

Plenty of brilliant advice already so I won't add any more save to say that the Yaris has SO many fans (in the dependability bracket, not the sexy one) that you should ask why. If reliability is your priority...
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - seasiders rock
fix it again tomorrow is not an issue with the panda. polish built it is well screwed together and reliable. check out the eleganza with auto climate, the larger tyres and alloys improve the handling over the base 1.2.
excellent fuel consumption, cheap spares, and insurance is in the how much division.
example, i have the 100 hp, which is a total hoot to drive and pay £236 fully comp.
the other thing that should swing it is the girly button, lightens up the steering to such an extent that 1 finger is all you need. tight spaces are no problems at all. plus the box like construction means it,s easy to place when parking.
i ran my eleganza in kentish town for a couple of months before moving up north, it,s a great little town car which does not feel out of place sitting on the motorway at 70/80 mph.
16000 miles in just under 2 years and no warranty issues at all, i replaced the drivers side wiper and that was it... for servicing continental in tufnel park are fine.
highly recommended, fiat have moved on, they had to.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Alanovich
Well said. Isn't the Panda galvanised too? Puts paid to any rust worries.

People who think Fiats are unreliable rustbuckets are living in the past.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - stunorthants26
I think the issue with Fiat isnt so much the cars, but the dealers and their attitudes when you do have issues. That is what put me off a Panda. If They had Lexus style dealers, id have bought one no question.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - NowWheels
the other thing that should swing it is the girly button lightens up the steering
to such an extent that 1 finger is all you need. tight spaces are no
problems at all.


I have only tried that feature in a Punto, but I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Makes parking really easy.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Alanovich
It's called "City" mode, and I have it in my Stilo. Never think to use it though, the power steering is quite light enough for me anyway.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - madf
I would go for a low mileage 2001-3 Citroen Saxo.

Cheap? under £2500 will get an immaculate one under 30k miles.

Ideal for round town and 40mpg +.

Run for 5 years and save the remaining £2k.




Replacing Ye Olde Polo - oldnotbold
£1500 on an Almera - solid enough, boring to look at, and probably very good for the job.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Avant
It's fashionable to knock VWs but 11 years of the toughest possible use for a car (short journeys in London) is a lot to ask - and it's done well to last that long.

If you don't want another Polo I'd suggest Toyota - an Aygo or a Yaris. I'd normally go for the 1.3 Yaris but if it doesn't go out of town then the 1.0 would do. I do agree that as your wife is a GP she must have something she can rely on, and an 11-y-o anything probably won't be.

That said, there will be a bigger choice of Polos or Fiesta or Corsas than Toyotas - you just have a beter chance of getting a good one nowadays if you go for something Japanese or (in my opinion, not shared by everyone) VW.

If she wants something bigger - try a Skoda Fabia or Toyota Corolla. But with the awkward car park she probably doesn't.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - NowWheels
£3,500 will get you a 3yo Almera 1.8SE automatic. NCAP ratings up there with a Focus, and although it's not as good to drive as a Focus it's not bad. Very reliable, and cheap parts if you are unlucky enough to have something to wrong.

It's a little bigger than the Polo, but with bleepers at the back and an auto gearbox, it's not hard to park, and automatic is nice in city traffic. Highly untrendy, so not interesting to car thieves.

You'll probably pay quite a bit more to get a similar-aged supermini in decent nick.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Avant
I'd second that, NW, and should have added it to the Fabia and Corolla above. Almeras were deeply unfashionable when new - which of course doesn't make them bad cars.

Slightly paradoxically, an unfashionable car is likely to be an excellent second-hand buy, as my hunch is (I've no statistics to prove this) that the sort of person who buys an unfashionable car is probably a gentle driver who looks after - even cherishes - the car and changes it after a few years for another of the same make.

People like that kept Rover going for years, and may well buy Nissans now in the patriotic knowledge that they were built in Britain.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - NowWheels
I'd second that NW and should have added it to the Fabia and Corolla above.
Almeras were deeply unfashionable when new - which of course doesn't make them bad cars.


Fabia and Corolla are both v good cars, but a lot more expensive than an Almera. For someone doing low mileage in city streets, I doubt that the handling qualities make much difference, and I can't see any point in paying the premium.

But it really depends on whether LondonBus and spouse can cope with a bigger car than they are used to. If a compact size is critical, then it may be worth paying the extra for the very compact Yaris Mk 1(the new ones are bigger).
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
The size is more for her - than for me. (oo-er).

thanks for the tips guys 'n' gals.

£5k would yield a good Almera (oxymoron?) from Car Giant; however on the principle I want the moon on a stick (for free) I note that that Almera isn't as good as the Tino on the Euro-NCap rating.

I'd be very happy with the Almera as a run-around; need to test this with Dr Plymouth-Kingston (kept her maiden name - or she'd be Dr LondonBus) if it would work.

Anyone want to buy a mechanically dodgy Polo? Only two slightly nutty owners?!
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Rattle
As longs as it has a working clutch yes! :D I am a little bit too far away from the good old home of Routmasters though. Your Polo might not be as bad as you think it is, stuck it on ebay you would be surprised what you get for it.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - NowWheels
£5k would yield a good Almera (oxymoron?) from Car Giant;


You'll get change out of £5k, but don't get a 1.5. Not such a good engine at the 1.8 is what I was told.

That'll get you one in good condition, with long life left in it. Whether good is an oxymoron wrt an Almera depends on how much you fancy soft plastics in the interior, or the finer points of handling; try one and see what you think.
however on the principle I
want the moon on a stick (for free) I note that that Almera isn't as
good as the Tino on the Euro-NCap rating.


Looks nearly the same to me: 4-star passengers, 2-star for pedestrians, but the hatch scores slightly lower for front impacts.
See www.euroncap.com/tests/nissan_almera_tino_2001/82....x and www.euroncap.com/tests/nissan_almera_2001/86.aspx

Still much better than your old Polo, and probably as good as a higher-rated smaller car
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
I appreciate the plain vanilla Almera probably isn't too good with handling; reviews incl HJ's indicate the Tino is much better.

Our 2nd car sadly is an appliance much like a washing machine. If I had the cash I'd buy an MX-5 Roadster Coupe.

Interestingly most the 1.8 Almeras in the price range seem to have auto transmission. I've driven automatics. Well - I've driven buses with auto tranmission - rather than cars.

Presumably the usual apply with autos - weaker fuel consumption, higher CO2 ratings? And a requirement to make sure that the ATF is changed regularly?
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - oldnotbold
"a requirement to make sure that the ATF is changed regularly? "

Not that often. Quite possibly not for as long as you own the car, in fact.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - NowWheels
Presumably the usual apply with autos - weaker fuel consumption higher CO2 ratings?


Not significantly. 36.2mpg for the auto against 37.2 for the manual, and only an extra 4g/km of CO2 (see www.honestjohn.co.uk/road_tests/index.htm?id=62&se...e )

However, I see that you have ruled out an Almera-sized car in any case, so not really relevant.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
Avant - would like to strongly endorse your point re secondhand v new.


Best value MPV on the market? Almera Tino. Depreciates like stink. Best bought @3 years.

(hint hint HJ!)
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - stevekay
Buy a Getz! I bought an 11month old one with 3k on the clock this summer - 1.4GSi 5 door - for £5995 and the dealer threw in 6 months tax and a free service. It still has 4 years warranty left and drives like a new one. With the i20 - Getz replacement - on its way you should get a better deal than that. Lots of older Hyundais knocking about so longevity should'nt be an issue.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
Dr Plymouth-Kingston says "no" to an Almera. She wants a Polo sized vehicle. Getz back on the agenda. Also what are peoples' views on a Fiesta?

I'm well aware with the launch of the i20 the residuals on the Getz should be even more awful - making them better for me (buy a 3 year old one and run it until gets expensive...)
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - NowWheels
Dr Plymouth-Kingston says "no" to an Almera. She wants a Polo sized vehicle.


Fair enough. She might find it informative to try an Almera and a Fiesta; recent Fiestas aren't that much smaller.
Also what are peoples' views on a Fiesta?


If you are going for one of the 2002-onwards models, you'll find that they are bigger than her dying Polo. I reckon that used Fiestas tend to be overpriced (too popular), so I'd be reluctant to buy one.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - M.M
Interesting thread as we are looking in the same price band at the moment to replace a £500 car... albeit with no size restriction. As has been mentioned above it seems the economic climate has just about leveled out the prices such that broadly speaking we could buy a similar year/spec Citroen C3, Focus, Mondeo or even X-Type Jaguar for about the same money.

I know we all have our own favourites but I've always been happy with Citroens and like the C3 in the size you want. One of the online car supermarkets has a Oct'05 1.4 SX model with just 19k recorded for £3800. Almost a years MOT and all the kit like ABS, Aircon, CD, 4 airbags etc. It is immaculate inside/out and has that later interior trim in a more sensible darker colour (the early ones were mostly a most impractical very light grey).

David
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - oldnotbold
"Dr Plymouth-Kingston says "no" to an Almera. She wants a Polo sized vehicle."

The difference is 20 cm in length and 5 cm in width. That length difference could improve the ride and passenger comfort for a longer journey, but it's hard to see how it makes a big difference on the streets of N London?
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
I did point this out, but she's not budging....
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - stunorthants26
One thing I learnt on my recent car buying trips with my misses is dont question their logic on car size! The actual dimensions dont matter so much as the perception of them.

With the Picanto versus i10, there was no difference in width but my misses was much happier in tight situations in the i10 because it had higher seating pos and better visability. Even more strange, the wider Sirion she has now, she still feels that this is narrower than the Picanto, one would presume down to better visability and high seat position again.

Might be worth trying your misses in a slightly larger car with higher seat position - just a thought.

Replacing Ye Olde Polo - NowWheels
With the Picanto versus i10 there was no difference in width but my misses was
much happier in tight situations in the i10 because it had higher seating pos and
better visability.


She's probably onto something there. Women are, on average, a few inches shorter than men, and that has a bad effect on visibility when parking, which makes a car harder to park because the uncertainty over where the corners are makes it feel bigger.

That's probably relevant in Mrs Londonbus's case, because the Almera has poor visibility -- although not much worse than the 1990s Polo, which I found hard to position because like the Almera it has huge pillars at the back and a rear window the size of a postage stamp.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
To be sexist, I have to admit I *park like a girl*.


(hides from the women reading this....)
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
My perception on Citreons is that they have poor reliability. Am I mistaken?
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - M.M
Yes some will maintain that perception but in reality cars have evened out a lot over the makes since the old days.

Look in the car-by-car breakdown on this site and you will find grim reading on many makes that have historically been "reliable motors" when talked of down the pub. I would not expect a C3 to be any worse than your Polo and it comes out quite well on HJs guide.

My uncle has run a C3 Hdi from new for the past 6yrs with nothing other than a couple of free dealer recalls on top of routine services. He's just bought a new one after that excellent record.

David
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
I get particulalry interested in the faults appearing for cars aged 3 - 11 years (makes them sound like kids, doesn't it?).

Problems with the Polo's box would have shown earlier had we done more miles.

The C3 seems a horror story on the car-by-car breakdown and discussion. Probably very unfair?
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - stunorthants26
Not unfair if its true. Obviously it has happened on some cars, whether it would on a car you buy, theres a chance, but it may not and you may great a great service from one.
You have to weigh up whether you feel the risks are worth it.

My dad had Citroen XMs which were apparently unreliable yet he did big miles in two different models and had no issues whatsoever. He took his round europe.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - M.M
>>>The C3 seems a horror story on the car-by-car breakdown and discussion. Probably very unfair?

You need to read the CBC breakdows carefully and read between the lines plus consider the source of info.

If you thought everything in there would happen to your own car you'd never buy a Toyota Yaris because of problems with suspension bushes, rust, diesel head gaskets, petrol engine oil consumption etc tec... likewise Honda Jazz owners are threatened with high service costs, transmission failure, aircon failure, steering problem, egr failure and water leaks.

As it happens 8 of the 9 comments on the C3 in "what to look out for" refer to the diesel and the 9th are anecdotal comments from one owner. The car I mentioned was a 1.4 petrol so actually it seems they are virtually fault free according to HJ, more so than the above Japanese cars. And to be honest I wouldn't worry about the diesels either if they were otherwise what you needed.

However if you have niggling doubts over the reliability of any make I would not buy that car because you'll only be waiting for the day you'll say " I shouldn't have been persuaded to buy this lemon.

There are cars I would risk buying against advice and other very popular cars I wouldn't have on the drive... it's a very personal thing this car buying business.

David
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
There is an element of stuff going with age. Our Polo has most of the faults on the CBC during its life; whats killing it now is the transmission fault that is too expensive to fix.

My views on French cars are based on anecdotes. However, as I'm looking to run vehicle of 3-11 years reliability is a big issue for me; I don't have the luxury of a brand new car with manufacturers warranty.

Car buying is personal; compare this with buying a washing machine. I mean look at the washer help site - its a very different experience!
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Another John H
what a delightful and informative thread.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
The latest development...

So I said to my wife (this could turn into a Les Dawson routine) that I'd posted my question on a "motoring bulletin board" and got two suggestions apart from the Getz. The C3 and um.

She asked me what the other suggestion was - I said the Almera (and ducked for cover).

Pointed out that the very small cars are the same price as slightly bigger ones (not much difference between say a Fiesta and a Focus - and you get more choice of 5 door Focuses).

Other half wants to pay hardly any money - so I pointed out that you get a perfectly good Almera for say £3.7k - £4k (3 years old. FSH. 1.8SE or SVE, auto box).

She's now agreed to go and test drive an Almera. We'll do this for the New Year.

The Polo meanwhile isn't making noises, but I've just had a frustrating half hour trying to top up the gear oil. I need a big wrench to get the box 'filler off. My set of Laser drain plug keys won't get me far because of the torque required. And preferably ramps. I don't normally do maintenance beyond checking fluid levels. So am not equipped to do the box

I doubt if the gear oil levels have ever been checked.

Looking underneath there's a quite a lot oil on the box - not surprising for age but I do wonder what the box levels are... So want the box topped up - I have visions of it seizing in the next few weeks...

The car is going to have go up the road to the local indy to top the gear oil. It needs someone with the right tools for the job - which I don't have. I hate modern cars. In 1991-93 I had a 1972 Renault 5 with a dash gearchange. The box was really easy to get to. The Polo has the box under the engine and is packaged in a way which is a total nightmare to get to...

Edited by LondonBus on 14/12/2008 at 16:02

Replacing Ye Olde Polo - NowWheels
She's now agreed to go and test drive an Almera. We'll do this for the
New Year.


It'll be interesting to hear what she makes of it. Apart from the poor visibility I have found it a very woman-friendly car, once you get your head around the electronic control system (which is actually very good and very simple to use once you understand that you need to push the radio knob to put it in radio mode and the heater/ventilator button to put it in heater/ventilator mode)
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - LondonBus
The fun will be comparing an Almera with the Tino. The Tino/Almera range had a mid-life face lift in 2003 and our Tino is pre-facelift. An Almera would be post-facelift.


The other fun thing will be auto transmission. I'm going to push for us to have a 1.8 as per discussions here (the 1.5 apparently has problems with its chain cam - oil starvation). Most 1.8s are auto. Bearing in mind the around-town use of the car, auto makes sense.

My other half has never driven an auto car before...

At this range we could become a two-Almera (Tino) household. The world's least loved cars...
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - NowWheels
My other half has never driven an auto car before...


It's very easy to adapt to an auto.

The only tricky bit is that it's best to follow HJ's advice and learn how to left-foot brake whilst manoeuvring in parking spaces etc: see www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/faq.htm?id=15

Feels weird at first, but after a few tries it becomes second-nature
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - Avant
Left-foot braking is fine for people who drive only automatics and get used to it. But if your Tino is a manual, and you are going to drive each other's cars, best to get her to use the right foot only.

It's also worth checking that the car is designed so that if you put your left foot sharply down, thinking you're in a manual, there's nothing there, rather than the brake pedal.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - rtj70
In the autos I have driven (I had one for 18 months as a company car) I would never think of left foot braking... why? Yes an auto "creeps" but very slowly.. Never had an issue using one foot.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - NowWheels
In the autos I have driven (I had one for 18 months as a company
car) I would never think of left foot braking... why? Yes an auto "creeps" but
very slowly.. Never had an issue using one foot.


Why? Well, HJ's FAQ puts it very well: "Because in the absence of a clutch to separate the driven wheels from the engine it's the only way to remain in full control of an automatic, especially when manouvering." www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/faq.htm?id=15

You're right of course, an auto creeps slowly ... but only on smooth ground and if everything is working smoothly and the driver doesn't make a mistake. HJ's FAQ covers the things going wrong, but I think that the unsmooth ground issue is also very important.

One situation that I frequently encounter is manoeuvring into a tight space on broken ground, whether in a rough-surfaced car park or a potholed street. You give the gas an extra shove to get over the hump or out of the pothole, and if you aren't ready to stop it promptly afterwards the car shoots on once it has cleared the obstacle. In a manual, this is much less of a problem, because you have your left foot on the clutch which allows you to disengage power instantly, but without a clutch you can't disengage power; the only device available is the brake, and using it requires moving your right foot from one pedal to the other. That may take too long to avoid an expensive crunch, which is why I use my left foot to brake instantly.

LFB is an easy skill to learn, and I although I now rarely drive manuals, I have no problem adapting when I do.
Replacing Ye Olde Polo - stunorthants26
I have owned many autos over the years and not once have I ever had a situation where LFB was of any use. Its not rocket science to adapt to the way power is delievered at low speeds in autos. If you have any finesse with a car, it just isnt required.

The only autos ive thought are arkward in low speed situations are the DSG type boxes and Smart, which arent proper autos anyway. The Smart I know was always arkward reversing up to things on a slope, such as my driveway. I had a custoemr was a DSG Golf as a loan car and inching it into his garage was comically hard as it had a lip that meant he needed to blip the throttle and then brake before hitting the wall.

Ive never had an auto that doesnt have a strong enough creep that it can make it up most slopes and even if you have to give it some throttle, power delivery is usually soft initially allowing for precise inputs.
 

Ask Honest John

Value my car