A good car for mileage? - tack
About to start work on a three year contract. I need to use a car to get to/from work and to use it at work around Essex (for which I'll be paid at local authority rate per mile)

I will be driving about 40 mile round trip to get to the office, against traffic both ways (thankfully) 90% of it on dual carriageway (A12)

I have a new Golf Mk6 and don't want to put all that mileage on it, so am looking for suggestions for cheap & comfortable and economical. Tall order? Happy to pay up to £5k....oh and prefer auto!

Suggestions welcome, thanks
A good car for mileage? - cjehuk
Would you not be better off value wise using the Golf to put the miles on? It will be reliable, comfortable and you already like the car. It will be easy motoring from your description so it's not like adding 150k to the clock over 3 years is going to hurt it, certainly the tyre wear etc will be cheaper than running a second car?

Just my thought but there we go. If you want something second hand, what about another Golf TDI auto?
A good car for mileage? - ForumNeedsModerating
Probably not the answer you're looking, but....

What's the logic in paying ~£5K for another car when the 'extra' mileage you'll do probably won't dent the value of your Golf as much the £5K + extra insurance/road tax/maintanance/depreciation you'll pay for the extrta car?

You're also depriving yourself (one assumes) of the pleasure for 3 years of driving a car you presumably like - the Golf. Also, 80-odd miles a day on mostly A-roads is probably the best, least wearing use of a car - the Golf then gets (assuming again..) the odd drive at weekends or shopping duties etc. - not car life enhancing exactly.

Unless there's an over-riding reason not to use the Golf (a partner requires it, it's not a 'safe' environment/usage pattern for a sparkly new car etc.) I'd shelve the rather uneconomic plan.

A good car for mileage? - legacylad
I would use the Golf and forget all the costs associated with running another car. Even if you put 40k pa onto the mileage it will still have a decent residual value...my friends '06 GT Tdi with 153k on the clock was recently sold for £6k.
Spend the £5k elsewhere.....motoring holidays in my case!
Sorry if this is not the answer you expected.
A good car for mileage? - Nsar
Good advice from the replies above. The difference in residual value due to higher mileage will barely touch four figures.
A good car for mileage? - Brian Tryzers
I think the others are right that the cheapest car is the one you have, and that the comfort and reliability of a car you've chosen from new are also valuable.

That said, I do a longer commute three days a week in a 52 Volvo S60, which you could probably have for £3,000 or less if I had any intention of parting with it. But that was the car I happened to have when I started the job, and I've had it from new so I'm confident of its history and reliability.
I'm putting about 18,000 miles a year on the S60; your mileage over a year of five-day weeks will be about the same. 54,000 miles in three years wouldn't put me off buying a well cared-for Golf, and won't dent the value by anything like the cost of running a second car. Enjoy the new job, and appreciate the Golf looking after you on the way there and back.
A good car for mileage? - stunorthants26
To actually answer the question the OP asked, I would say Mondeo, its the default choice for many and Im sure thats for good reason.
Your not going to loose the whole 5 grand on it as you can sell it on and it is your decision whether or not you want to use your Golf, I for one, understand your thinking and if you can afford it, why not.
A good car for mileage? - DP
Although it makes sense to keep the Golf, if you decide to change, I can second WillDeBeest's recommendation for the Volvo S60. I have a 51 plate 2.0T petrol S60 which I do a 50-70 mile round trip in every day (depending on where I'm working). I've had it 18 months, and it will click over 150,000 miles this week. Still drives faultlessly, doesn't need oil between services, everything works, and cruises in near silence. Fabulous seats, loads of toys, and a feeling of solid engineering throughout.
In its entire life, it's had a clutch, an alternator, an engine mount, and routine servicing. Oh and a set of front wishbones around the 80k mark. Everything else bar consumables is what left the factory including the exhaust and battery.
Does 33 mpg average too which isn't bad for a big petrol car with 180 bhp. The D5 would make more sense for the mileage I do, but this was a car I knew the history of from a very old friend at a very good price.
It's probably worth 1500 quid tops.

Edited by DP on 12/09/2009 at 10:27

A good car for mileage? - mike hannon
I am trying to keep this simple, so I can understand what the OP is getting at.
What is the point of buying an ordinary, everyday car, ie a Golf, if you then think you need another car to do ordinary, everyday things?
A good car for mileage? - Avant
I agree. If you want to have a second car 'for best', get a fun car, such as an MX-5, for £5k and use the Gold for the job it's designed to do.

50,000 miles in a £5k car could mean lots of repairs if you're unlucky. But if you're sure this is the right thing to do, then get a good car with a known history, as DP has done.
A good car for mileage? - NowWheels
50 000 miles in a £5k car could mean lots of repairs if you're unlucky.
But if you're sure this is the right thing to do then get a good
car with a known history as DP has done.

Or alternatively buy a much cheaper car which can you can scrap if the repairs get too expensive. £2K will easily get you an 02 or 03 Citroen Xsara HDI with under 80K miles, and should have a lot of miles left in it whilst doing good MPG
A good car for mileage? - Spospe
Being pedantic, the phrase, "I will be driving about 40 mile round trip" to me means that the mileage per day is, 40, not the 80 that many seems to be basing their advice on.

In my use of words, a 40 miles round trip means 20 there and 20 back.

On the basis of this halving of the expected mileage, it makes even less sense to buy another car.

The distances involved are really quite small, no matter how you interpret the phrase "round trip" and in my humble opinion do not warrent any consideration at all.
A good car for mileage? - oldnotbold
A £2k car will be worth £500 after three years, tops. It'll cost £500 pa to tax and insure, and another £500 to keep serviced and in tyres, so a bare min of £1500 pa.

Will your Golf lose £4500 over and above its normal depreciation if you put an additional 30k on?

Edited by oldnotbold on 12/09/2009 at 18:43

A good car for mileage? - tack
I appreciate the wise comments regarding the economics of the situation. However, the 40 mile round trip is only part of the story. As mentioned, it will be used for work too......all over a quite large county. The nature of the work means I will have to park up in some of the less salubrious parts of the county dealing with not so nice people. When I got the Golf, I was retired. However, the job offer was too good to refuse. So, I have a nice car I want to keep nice. Hell, I might just buy a carpy old white Escort van just to blend in rather than something for £5k.

As always, I appreciate the wisdom one receives in the backroom.
A good car for mileage? - Brian Tryzers
I still think the Golf is your best bet. If you're going to be in it a lot you'll want something comfortable and reliable, and I wouldn't fancy coming back to a Xsara in a rough neighbourhood and wondering whether it would start. A Golf is hardly a pretentious car or the sort that rubs others up the wrong way (see the recent Classless Car thread for thoughts on that) so it strikes me as pretty well the sort of thing you could park anywhere. You know it's a Mk 6 but to most eyes it's just a Golf or even just a car.

I can understand that you probably don't want to tell us here what sort of 'not so nice people' you'll be dealing with, but is there the possibility of getting a pool car from your employer for visiting those places? If not - and admitting that I don't know exactly where you'll be parking it - I'd still rather take the Golf and, in the worst case, trust my insurer to sort it out if any harm came to it.
As a footnote, you don't have to visit unsalubrious places for your shiny new car car to come to harm; when our three-month-old Verso required a bumper respray to fix the damage caused by an anonymous careless parker, it was parked on a metered and CCTVed street in oh-so-salubrious Leamington Spa. Irksome but, assuming the car is viewed as a tool and not as an ornament, worth the risk.
A good car for mileage? - wazza
Get a banger. Had a 2 year old mondeo when i got a contract working 65 miles away from home. Was not that keen putting that much mileage on the car (650 miles per week). A guy at work was selling his wife's 12 year old pug 205. I bought it for £80 mainly for my wife to learn to drive in. She preferred the mondeo. Anyway ended up using it for going to work in it. It was comfortable and cheap to run and lasted 3 years when the clutch started to slip. It was uneconomical to repair so scrapped it. Missed that car. It would do 70+ on the motorway easily.
A good car for mileage? - Brian Tryzers
So you buy / have a car that's nice to drive, quiet, comfortable, economical, has a decent audio system and promises to deliver you to work or home in relaxed condition or, at worst, protect you in an accident. Then, when the occasion arises to actually drive the thing, you leave it at home and buy a heap of incipient scrap instead because you 'don't want to put miles on' the proper car. Can someone please explain how this is anything but utterly perverse?
I can understand that people run 'station cars', which live a life of short runs and spend their lives parked in places where they'd rather not attract attention, but such cars spend a minimal amount of time actually being driven. Wazza bought, and Tack is thinking of buying, a banger to get a lot more use than the car chosen on its own merits.

I intend to cause no offence, so my apologies if I seem to be pointing fingers, but this sounds as if a newish car is a treasured possession, to be put on the drive to impress the neighbours, and be polished on Sundays but kept for best rather than used, for fear of spoiling it. I could understand if it was a Ferrari or a 1971 Alfa Spyder, but a Mondeo or a Golf is the epitome of the sensible-shoes car, designed and built to get you where you need to go with the minimum of fuss and bother. Please help me out, because I really, really, really don't get this.
A good car for mileage? - SpamCan61 {P}
A grand will but you a perfectly good Vectra /Mondeo / Primera with plenty of toys - certainly not 'incipient scrap'. Having run 100K+ Vauxhalls for 8 years on my 100+mile round trip commute, I think I've had 3 non starting situations in all that time. It's a perfectly reasonable solution if you don't want to leave the golf in dodgy areas.
A good car for mileage? - bristolmotorspeedway {P}
snip>> 8 years.....3 non starting situations in all that time....

I'm afraid if my car as parked in a less than salubrious area, and I was dealing with not-so-nice characters, then even one non-starting situation would be one too many.

Tack - use the Golf, you have the perfect car for the job - something modern, reliable, crash-worthy and comfortable. A Golf blends into the background everywhere, although if it's a bright red GTI you might want to de-badge and fit some less eye-catching alloys ;-)
A good car for mileage? - SpamCan61 {P}
>> snip>> 8 years.....3 non starting situations in all that time....
I'm afraid if my car as parked in a less than salubrious area and I
was dealing with not-so-nice characters then even one non-starting situation would be one too many.

A newer car is no absolute guarantee of reliability, plenty of postings over in technical to prove that!

Edited by SpamCan61 {P} on 13/09/2009 at 19:14

A good car for mileage? - Brian Tryzers
That would be a good argument if you were trying to talk someone with an older car out of buying a new one. But that's not what we're discussing here.
A good car for mileage? - bell boy
I understand totally why tack doesnt want his pride and joy in dodgy places.
Theres nothing worse than having a pride and joy and seeing a mark or scratch on the bodywork as its all you see everytime you go to it.
Theres no way i use my car to work either and mines old.
Spending £5000 is the hard bit as it encompasses so many cars that will do the job.
Personally i find the idea of a comfortable vehicle like a berlingo van appealing, as parked anywhere with clear glass back doors for the scroats to look into will blend in lovely and it will still have a value with a few scrapes when the time comes to sell it.
A good car for mileage? - tack
My apologies to you WillDeBeest if I am causing you sleepless nights worrying about my vehicular "economics" As a matter of fact, I have enjoyed every one of the 4000 miles driven since I took delivery at the end of July!. I don't care a jot what my neighbours think of my car.

Without wishing to appear "vulgar" or "arriviste", the economics issue is not a problem. My wife works, I have a pension and now I also have a job. The analogy I use is this; I wear my BHS suit, shirt and tie for work until they fall to bits or fray or go shiny at the backside. I'd save my M&S gear for nights out, weddings and other special times. I make no apologies, but it is what I can afford to do. The car is my M&S gear. It's my choice as to whether I use it for work or not.

So, as previously said in this thread, I am happy to receive wise advice re economics of the equation, best car for the job etc. A lot of posters here (politely) talk a great deal of sense. I didn't really expect someone to froth at the mouth over my choice of mode of travel to work.
A good car for mileage? - rtj70
Tack. You are being a little sensitive.

Like many on this forum I think using the new Golf makes sense for the miles you need it to cover. You asked for advice on got some you did not perhaps expect. We were meant to tell you to get a Mondeo TDCi or similar and then you'd complain when it blew up or something ;-)
A good car for mileage? - Dave_TD
I can see Tack's point perfectly clearly.

Tack, my choices would be either something unassuming such as a 7-year-old Almera or Mazda 323F for reliability and ubiquity, a Skoda Octavia in mould green or doom blue for the same reasons, or as mentioned above a Berlingo-type van. Good running costs, quite reasonable comfort (remember these things are built to be driven all day every day), and your "customers" will think you've come equipped to start carting stuff away...

Dave TD
A good car for mileage? - wazza
WillDeBeest... The reason why i advice on a banger because

1. it does not matter what happens to it bodywise

2. cheaper to repair. All i did was to pop down to the scrappers to get bits that was faulty. The only thing that went was the throttle cable. Picked one up for a couple of quid from scrappers. The only reason i got rid of it was because of the clutch slip, it was an engine out to replace engine which i could not do

3. leave the good car for family outing etc
A good car for mileage? - rtj70
I can see Tack's point perfectly clearly.

Tack has a nice car in the Golf. Factor in two insurance policies and everything else and it will be cheaper and better to drive the new Golf.

Edited by rtj70 on 14/09/2009 at 09:25

A good car for mileage? - Avant
Fair enough, Tack! Let's now try to answer your original question.....

The obvious choice would be a Golf, given that you like them, but I think you'd get a newer Ford for £5k, as they depreciate faster. There are lots of them about - Ka, Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo depending on what size you want. There are lots of equivalent Vauxhalls around too, but Fords are more rewarding to drive. Also consider Nissan Almera and Toyota Corolla. Octavia - great cars but I'm not sure when they first made them with automatic.

All the above are suitably anonymous for any forays into the insalubrious areas (Frinton?!)

Good luck and tell us how you get on.
A good car for mileage? - mike hannon
>A grand will but you a perfectly good Vectra /Mondeo / Primera with plenty of toys - certainly not 'incipient scrap'.<

Because of the economics of the madhouse which prevail at the moment, it would, in fact, be two grands' worth of 'incipient scrap'.
A good car for mileage? - ifithelps
..My wife works, I have a pension and now I also have a job...


I'm sure you will be onto this, but a man in your position needs to keep a close eye on the old beeswax.

A retired senior copper I know got into a 'misunderstanding' with the Inland Revenue after he took a consultancy job.

Mind, our sympathy was somewhat limited when we worked out he was pulling in about a grand a week - not bad 'in retirement'.

As regards getting to work, I'm not going to say much because I'll only be repeating what others have said.

Apart from anything else, a second car is another which has to be kept clean.

I suggest you use the Golf and use the nominal £5k budget and/or some of your wages to change it earlier than you planned.

A good car for mileage? - NowWheels
I suggest you use the Golf and use the nominal £5k budget and/or some of
your wages to change it earlier than you planned.

Has anyone done an estimate of the relative costs wrt the Golf?

Compared with the costs of keeping the Golf for leisure purposes, what would be the extra costs of using it for work? Presumably these would be:

* increased insurance costs (more mileage, need business cover as well as the usual social, domestic and pleasure)
* increased servicing costs (Golf will be serviced at a main dealer)
* cost of repairs to bodywork (higher on the Golf, 'cos scratches on the banger wouldn't matter)
* reduced resale value of the Golf. How much less will it be worth with a few tens of thousands of extra miles on it?

Add up all those costs, and then see whether those are more or less than running a banger for work purposes.
A good car for mileage? - BobbyG
Exactly my thoughts, use the Golf, bank the mileage and expenses you get for it and when your job finishes, use the money to treat yourself to a nice new shiny Golf!!!!

I was in a similar, but different position once before. I had a shiny new Scenic and missus used a diesel Saxo. My job changed and involved travelling for work at 35p or something per mile.

Although I was doing a lot of miles, maybe 100 per day, although common sense said do it in the new, safe, reliable, comfortable Scenic, I actually used the Saxo, got over 60mpg, and banked a lot of mileage claims.

However, both cars were already in my possession.

And so I left the Scenic with my missus, and twice she pranged it against wheelie bins causing me two repair bills!

A good car for mileage? - tack
"keep a close eye on the old beeswax"

The taxman gets the whole of my left arm for the pension and part of my right arm for salary (i.e. 40% tax on pension, then allowances against salary at basic rate)

Having been in the USA for 8 days I drove the Golf today for the 1st time since. Fell in love with it all over again and apologised for leaving it in a dark garage the whole time I was away.

I may trial it for work to see how it pans out.

My wife has a car which rarely gets used. It is a Mitsy Colt 1.0L 3 cylinder manual jobby. She has offered it up, but I am not too keen as it is manual (I prefer auto 'cos of Parkinson tremor in left hand) I may try to convince her to allow me to upgrade it for something with more guts and auto. We need to have the 2 cars now as we will have competing needs (I'll often be working late and at weekends, whilst she goes off and visits daughter, son, does yoga and pilates etc) It might be the solution. If I ask her what car she could live with, she says "dunno, a silver one or a black one".

A good car for mileage? - NowWheels
If I ask her what car she could live with she says "dunno a silver
one or a black one".

Like this, perhaps: tinyurl.com/pw8m3t ?