What to buy? - nick
Ok folks, the perennial question, what should I buy? I'm having a lot of trouble deciding so any thoughts would be welcome.
Need to buy another car PDQ (don't ask why, it's a sore point, but if you put 'unsalted road' and 'my wife' in the same sentence, you might guess, but she walked away thankfully).
Budget £5-7k,annual mileage 25-30k, mainly motorway.My criteria are reliablity, fuel consumption, safety, and ease/cost of maintenance (I diy most things), in that order. Petrol or diesel, though prefer petrol.Image doesn't bother me.I'd like aircon too.I'm considering the following:
Toyota Avensis, Subaru Forester, Legacy or Impreza (not the boy racer one), Ford Focus or Mondeo, Nissan Primera, anything else?
I'm not interested in:
Any Vauxhall (don't like them), VW (ditto), anything French or Italian (I'm not too hot on auto electrics)
The Focus looks good, HJ gives it a good write up and then lists a long list of things that can go wrong, same for the Mondeo, so are they that good? But there are loads around and quite cheap.
I think I'd fall asleep in an Avensis but bullet-proof reliability does appeal. Ditto the Primera.
I'd like a Subaru, probably the most reliable of the lotI like the flat four engine, but fuel consumption is a bit high.
I've not driven any of these cars yet and I won't have time to test examples of them all. I have driven late 90's Vectras and Astras and hated them with a vengeance, so that gives you an idea of what I don't like.I'm also happy with the idea of a high-mile but newer car.So over to the Back Room... what can I expect for my money? I haven't the time or inclination for an auction, so it'll be private, car supermarket, or possiby a main dealer if I can find a good deal. I'll be paying cash with no p/x.
Any thoughts would be appreciated, especially from dealers or fleet managers out there.
What to buy? - peterb
You won't fall asleep *in* a Primera (although you might do looking at one). I've driven several and they've all had fantastic chassis. The 2.0 petrol is a great lump and even the 1.6 is lively (although I recall HJ disliking the 1.8).

All handle very well, although the best handling 96-99 models are the 2.0 SRi and the 1.6 Si. Most amusing is the 150BHP GT model - I had one for a while and it had far more grip than I had bottle.

What to buy? - Keith S
I was in a very similar position to you in Aug 2001.

I went for a 1999 S Mondeo 1.8LX. I have done 45,000 miles in it in 18 months (now up to 71,000 on clock). No serious problems, however small niggles are now appearing.

Found a very good Ford dealer in Hartlepool, even though I no longer live anywhere near, I still use them for servicing (arrange a family visit at the same time)

It does nothing badly and many things very well. The main niggles with my old company astra were noise, poor headlights, tiny washer bottle, vague steering and the Va**hall dealers who were appaling. I have no such problems now.

The Mondeo is suberb for motorway miles, handles well on country roads.

Cheap servicing with 80,000 mile cambelt intervals.

I think the long list of things that can go wrong is simply because HJ has had more feedback - he owns a mondeo.

Make sure the air-con works. mine didnt when I bought it at 2.5yrs & 26,000 miles. Failed condensor (prone to stones apparently) quite expensive - so I'm told.

Seems to have depreciated massively though:(

Why not buy a cheap one from an auction if you don't mind a few repairs and enjoy tiny depreciation. R&S reg's can't fall any more surely?

I think perhaps you will get more car for your money with a mondeo rather than a focus.
What to buy? - jud
I've had the mk1 and mk2 primera, the first primera had a ecu replaced when first bought but that was it, the second had a lcd radio repair after two years, in short very reliable, would cruse at 90mph and return 33mpg both were 2litre models, but not the quietest motorway car, actually quieter at 90 than say 75mph.
Its a chain cam engine and a real drivers car, its looks deceive.
I compared the primera to the 2l subaru before getting the mk2 but although the subaru whent well round islands with the 4wd traction t thought it dull compared to the nissan, for reliablity any of the jap cars from you list.
What to buy? - andymc {P}
If you aren't worried about badges, and can stretch your budget just a little further, you should be able to pick up a decent Rover 75. I've seen a middle-spec petrol version with 80k miles for £5995 on Autotrader, or a middle-spec V-reg diesel with full history for £7195.
What to buy? - M.M

I would buy a diesel Xantia but from your requirements you would like a petrol Mondeo.

The DIY and ease of maintenance is one main reason a say that. You can get most bits for them in the local town on a Sunday morning and every mechanic understands them.

Just look at the post where the chap needs to spend £360 a side for hubs on a Lexus because a bush isn't available on its own. This sort of situation is far more rare with a very popular car like the Mondeo because someone enterprising just starts to supply the bush because of demand.

I find the Focus ride too harsh for high mileages.

What to buy? - Andy P
Don't foget cars like the Mazda 626 and Honda Accord. Both will be supremely reliable. 7K will get you a 99V 5-door with around 30K, ABS, aircon, central locking, 4 airbags, power steering and so on. Servicing isn't the cheapest, but then nothing ever goes wrong.

What to buy? - nick
Thanks for the ideas so far guys. Lots of food for thought, so much choice out there.
I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.....
What to buy? - nick
For anyone who's interested (probably only me) I finally bought a 2000 W plate Subaru Legacy 2litre saloon, 55k, full SSH, £6250 from a car supermarket. I looked at Mondeos but too boring (yes I know, probably the sensible choice); tried an Avensis, not bad, lots of toys and seemed well built; primera 1.8, found it very noisy, small inside and the steering was so light. So the lure of a flat four and 4wd won, not to mention the reliability (hopefully!).
What to buy? - Burnout2
Excellent choice IMO - very safe, well-built and a really good drive too. Not exactly beautiful, but a lot more interesting than the usual rep-box candidates, especially if you value high-class engineering.

Undoubtedly, a good diesel would have been the most rational decision given the car's intended use, but I couldn't bring myself to do it either...
What to buy? - caz
hi im new here,

seen youre talking about buying cars and that the subject i need help on.
ive got my eye on a renault clio 1.4rt as my first car, its advertised on the net and the guy who owns it lives near me. Im 19 and a student at uni with little cash but enough to wanna have a car. The owner has put alloys on it and coded bumpers and wants £1,395.
questions, is that a bad price, whats the lowest i can negotiate with him and is this a fairly decent/reliable car as i need to go backwards and forwards from hertfordshire to bournemouth occassionally?

cheers caz
What to buy? - DavidHM
Hi Caz. I'm going to paste this as another topic. We do this all the time, we can sort you out.
What to buy? - A Dent{P}
Re "tried an Avensis, not bad, lots of toys and seemed well built; primera 1.8, found it very noisy, small inside and the steering was so light"
I'll be looking at these in the summer in auto form.
My concern with anything more than 3 doors in this size is that it will have been a minicab, did you have any idea's on avoiding them? and a 'clocking' search has convinced me to ignore milage altogether now.
I will assume it's done 15k to 20k per year, if the mileage turns out genuine (now would I know, really!) then I might have a bargain, if not I'll have paid the right price.
What to buy? - nick
I was looking at 2-3 years old with full service history and clean HPI. Hopefully I'd be able to spot a car that had been massively clocked unless someone had tried really hard to hide it. But the bottom line is to trust your own senses rather than any paperwork which can be fiddled. There was the 'right' amount of wear, stone chips etc on the ones I looked at and most Jap cars will do starship mileage reliably if you keep changing the oil so I wouldn't lose much sleep over it. Just remember that if the deal looks too good to be true then it probably is, especially from a dealer who will know the true value, so if he's off-loading cheap, why? The dealer I got the Legacy from had two, both reps cars from the same company with virtually the same reg numbers. He'd had them for ages as Legacy saloons seem to have a very limited market. Mondeo man doesn't want them 'cos they're different (flat 4, 4wd), the green wellies want estates and they don't have much of an image, unlike Imprezas. So they are a good used buy if you can find one. Bit thirsty though, compared to a Mondeo 1.8. If you are going to put lots of miles on I'd recommend buying a new as possible but with high miles already so it'll be cheap and probably not clocked. If the service history is good and genuine then it'll be nicely run in.
For a cab, I'd have an Avensis rather than a Primera, it's feels much bigger inside. I've never driven an auto one though but I don't suppose performance is your main criterion for cab work. There's a new Avensis due soon and the run-out models are being discounted so used values should fall soon making them a good used buy.
Good luck!
What to buy? - A Dent{P}
For a cab, I'd have an Avensis rather than a Primera, it's feels much bigger inside. I've never driven an auto one though but I don't suppose performance is your main criterion for cab work.

Just trying to avoid ex-minicabs...
And I have not owned an auto before, but clutch work in todays traffic, i've had enough.
Thanks for the advice though.
I'm now tempted by the earlier idea of a rover 75. Ho Hum so much choice.
For anyone else about to buy something or other, I would add, dont buy a car with a tow bar fitted, unless you like diff whine, suspension probs etc. It would be cheaper to buy an unknacked one and have one fitted if you need to.


Value my car