Car suggestions - alex823
Currently looking for something to replace my current car with. Use it mainly for work on a 50 mile round commute a day (mainly motorways).

Needs to be fun to drive, reliable, preferably petrol (I know a diesel will probably work out cheaper but I didnt find the last one I tried - a 2.0 TDI Leon - much fun. Also worry about the reliability of the diesels, though that does not mean I have discounted one altogether).

Price wise looking to pay £8-9K though could go a bit higher if needed. I'm a male 25 btw.

My current thoughts are:

BMW - 3 series coupe 330ci (though would be looking at one round 02/03 with 60k for the sort of money above). Advantages - looks the part, I assume will drive well though I am yet to try one. Disadvantages - older so perhaps reliability problems, running costs.

Skoda Octavia VRS (fast, reliable, based on golf but cheaper to buy). Disadvantages - not as nice to look at as the other suggestions, interior a bit dull, badge.

Golf GT 1.4 170 or GTI (realise I may have to increase my budget a bit for one though)
Audi A3 (again probably over budget and overpriced so will probably discount)

Obviously prefer the golf or audi over the Skoda but then is it worth the extra for a nicer interior / image? I assume the ride and handling will be similar on all 3?

Ford Focus (good handling but ST version is probably a bit thirsty)
Mondeo ST

Any other suggestions. I have yet to try any of the above but looking for some suggestions so I can narrow down a shortlist of 3 or 4 to go and test drive.
Car suggestions - runboy
Out of interest, why is it "obvious" that you prefer the Golf/A3 over the Octavia? Each to their own but from my experience Audi are unreliable, overpriced cars with dealerships who are not 100% sure what the term "customer" means and the when I sat in the Golf the seats were too small and some plastic arch/fancy effect thing dug into the side of my knee.

So I bought an Octavia.
Car suggestions - Bagpuss
Of the 3 VAG cars, my personal preference is the Golf. It's a handy size and drives very well, offering an excellent ride/ handling compromise. I find the Octavia doesn't handle as well, and the extra length mainly seems to result in a bigger boot rather than additional useful passenger room so you're essentially just hauling additional weight with you. I don't like the Audi A3 as Audi seem to fit them with square wheels and the interior borders on claustrophobic.

However, this is all irrelevant, because once you've test driven a BMW 330Ci you will not be able to persuade yourself to buy anything else.
Car suggestions - Happy Blue!
If you can afford the running costs, the BMW is only way to go, unless you fancy something off the wall like a Japanese sports car? Subaru Imprezza or Forester Turbo? Honda Civic Type R?
Car suggestions - alex823
"Out of interest, why is it "obvious" that you prefer the Golf/A3 over the Octavia?"

Guess I am thinking about image. Plus I think the Golf has a slightly better interior. Whether or not either of those are worth the extra money not sure.

Think the BMW will definately be on my shortlist to drive.
Car suggestions - Alby Back
Oh the image thing. I remember, just about, when I would have cared about that. I still buy things because I like them of course. Haven't lost my ability to make choices for aesthetic reasons. See Alfa thread for evidence....But as for what anyone else might think, ie what image a car portrays to others, I couldn't really care less. Not my problem.
Car suggestions - mlj
Indeed. Image seems to be the priority here: a 50 mile daily motorway commute doesn't really shout BMW 330ci. Each to his own.
Car suggestions - alex823
Not too worried what others think. I will buy the car based on whatever drives well / best suits my needs for a reasonable price. Just really trying to get some suggestions of cars to try. Am definately not looking at any particular brand because of a badge. Though I do think the badge / image does have a big impact when it comes to resale time.

Doing a lot of motorway driving I can't see the advantage of going for a smaller engine as I don't think there is a massive difference in economy once you get on the motorway unless of course I go down the diesel route.

Edited by alex823 on 22/03/2009 at 20:14