Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - M.M
About a year ago I posted a few times about changing our second car... a 1998 Citroen TD. After three weeks of looking and not finding anything we re-MOT'd the Citroen at a cost of £350 and it has happily done another year with just the cost of oil and a filter. Now this year it definately has to go. It has no ABS, only one airbag, suspension is now worn at 150K... it's had its time and owes us nothing. Intend to Ebay the old car and have funds to hand for replacement.

Been looking for a few weeks now and what to get is driving us mad. Thinking of a 2005-on Focus/Astra or a C4.... got to be diesel.

Could get an auction/private higher mileage bargain for around £3500 but many seem more tatty and less well equipped than the old Citroen.

Next thought was to spend £6000 at a dealer on 2006/7 with around 50K mls. But a bit shocked at the level of dings and scuffs in this price range. So we then looked at main dealers with good warranties (Citroen/Network Q etc) in the £8500 range.

Cars looked loads better with mileages nearer 25K but....

The inevitable step has to be considered.... a new car with £3000 scrappage on the old Citroen, 3yrs warranty and a 3yr service package levered into the deal plus 0% finance which would allow savings to be left in the bank for a bit longer.

Now quite confused. Any thoughts on car choice in the Focus/Astra class and best price level to buy at much appreciated.

Edited by M.M on 11/11/2009 at 09:50

Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - pmh3
Knowing of your love affair with old citroens if you want maximum value for money why not look at the (old model) Xsara picasso? At one time you could find them from about £9k new , but what scrappage deals could be done at this price I am not sure.
Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - M.M
Ha... good lateral thinking. There are some amazing scappage deals on the 1.6 petrol... £6900 off! The diesel however is only £2000 scrappage. Problem is we don't want one.... one of those irrational thoughts but sister-in-law has a early grubby & tatty one with bits falling off... this comes to mind every time I think of them.

In general we have grown to like the more squared off design of modern cars like Focus/Astra etc.

If we don't get a C4 this swap it will be the first time in 30yrs there hasn't been a Citroen on the drive.
Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - gordonbennet
Got to be worth seeing what Vx would do for you on a soon outgoing 1.9 diesel Astra, probably better price on a 1.7 but you can really feel those extra cc's...rather nice proper auto box too if you feel so inclined. can have good sensible tyre sizes too with steel wheels and trims that most people think are alloys, a very clever design methinks.

Edited by gordonbennet on 11/11/2009 at 10:34

Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - Paul Robinson
Most questions on here are 'what should I buy'? This seems to be - how much should I spend?

I think the three options are:

1) Only £3k or so, difficult and time consuming to source a good clean car, but if you are lucky you could find something that will give you several years good low cost service. You could be unlucky though and that would be a pain.

2) Spend £5/6K ish on a three year old ex-fleet car - one owner full service history. Sold because the contract has come to an end rather than other less good reasons. Easier and quicker to source, more likely to give you many years of good economical service - the compromise option.

3) New or supermarket/ex-rental - As you qualify for scrappage, if you are confident that you expect to keep the car for many years spreading the depreciation accordingly, then new may not be as expensive as many people think.

Assuming that thinking long term is not a problem, I'd go for new!
Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - M.M
gb we will be looking at Astras in detail... however so far we've been considering the 1.3 diesel. This car will mostly be a commute to work vehicle on flat Fen roads with just the driver. Two teenagers will be added for a few journeys a week but it will never be used for family outings 4-up with luggage... so the cost savings of the 1.3 seemed worthwhile. Also if buying nearly new there are a huge amount of this engine size on the market at good prices.

Thanks Paul. It's odd that for years I've advised others in the *buy a used bargain and run with DIY repairs* way of motoring but the bias of life has changed and we now just need trouble free motoring leaving us free for other things. I now longer do any more than an interim oil/filter change myself.

I would like to hear more opinions on cars in this class but yes getting my head round the different expenditure levels is a major factor. We can think long term on this one... well 5yrs min. The appeal of the first 3 of those with repairs covered by warranty, no MOTs and servicing paid for suddenly has great appeal.
Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - Derfel
Hyundai offer a full five year warranty and the i20 has a couple of diesel options if you are considering new with scrappage.
Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - M.M
Thanks... I would never have thought of a Hyundai. The i20 is too small but the i30 looks interesting. £7,995 on the road after scrappage for a 1.4 petrol with 5yr warranty and an amazing spec. What Car car of the year in its class their website says..... Got to look into this.

Edited by M.M on 11/11/2009 at 15:06

Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - gordonbennet
Don't forget the Kia Ceed too while you're perusing.

7 years 100K miles warranty, not to be sniffed at.
Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - RichardW

No Citroens on the drive....what ever next!!! My Dad nearly ended up with a Fiat motorhome, but it is coming on a Relay chassis now (which is I suppose a Fiat anyway, but it's got Chevrons on the front) - phew nearly the end of 35 year unbroken Double Chevron streak (OK, there was a short spell with an All-Aggro, but that was an emergency, and we did have a Dyane too, so we gloss over that!). My parents have also got a C4 Hatch 1.6 HDi 90 Cool which they have been very pleased with. There's enough go in the 90 BHP engine, and it returns 55 - 60 mpg, and is more refined than the 2.0 predecessor. Ride is OK, although the rear can thump through big bumps. Hardly a family car, as the boot is small, but I (all 6' and 15st of me) can get in the back no problems. My friends have got a Focus, and the ride is HARD (maybe that's OK on your nice flat fen roads!). The Astra gets criticised for lack of rear view at the age you are looking at - and my B-I-L had one and the front seats were terrible. Citroen usually have some pretty handy deals going on new motors - my Dad's last 2 have been new - there was no point buying 2 year old, nearly the same price!

We've got a Xsara Picasso now - it might be roly poly, ugly, and have a big blind spot on the A pillars, and awful dash reflection in the screen - but SWMBO likes the sit up and beg driving position, and it is an absolute boon for putting the baby in the back (putting him in the Xantia by comparison is a right pain in the back!) and chucking baby clobber in the boot. Very glad we bought that instead of another 'car' when the venerable ZX had to meet its maker last summer. Could do with a few more horses (it's a 90 HDi) - perhaps will trade it up for a 110 version in a couple of years.
Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - barneybear
Don't rule out the Megan. I have 57 plate estate 1.9 returning almost 60mpg and SWMBO finds it esay to park etc. Loads of toys (such as handsfree etc) and a good compromise between good steering and absorbing the potholes. Only a blown headlight bulb in 45,000 miles over 27 months plus the usual servicing - but at 18,000 intervals longer than most.
Oh by the way - its for I've seen a 59 plate C5 that I fancy.....
Astra/Focus/C4? £3.5K used... or brand new? - M.M
Sadly bb I've had bad personal experiences with several Renaults and I don't like the local dealer so they are off the list.

Interesting to hear what you are up to Richard. I must admit a new Xsara Picasso is an amazing deal in terms of room/flexability/comfort per £. We really don't need the extra family space in the second car though so as long as a hatch will take three medium size teens in the back for local runs that's good enough.

Actually the fen roads are a problem for comfort.... straight and free from incline but the unstable ground means they shift and subside on a monthly basis giving some shocking lurching. Several times a year my regular school run across open rural roads will produce a dip that eventually bottoms out the suspension at 50mph... at which point the highways folks will fill it in with another few tons of tarmac... which in turn sinks even quicker into the peat soil... and so it goes on.