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Need to buy a family/commuter car for £4-5k

(25 Posts)
Swanlike Mon 17-Sep-12 14:19:38

Hello, we're moving shortly and will need to buy a car so that my partner can commute c80 miles a day 4 times a week. It will also be our family car - first baby is due January next year.

So far we've been looking at Polos, Peugeot 207's and Citroen c3's but not having much look. We'd like something with a 1.4 engine as the car will also be used for longer family trips. I've been reading around and have also seen the following recommendations for good cars in our budget;

Honda Jazz
Fiat Grande Punto
Audi A2 (would be c 10 years old)
Skoda Fabia

What would you suggest? Any other cars? We don't want anything huge due to the commute. We need to get something within the next 3 weeks if possible. Thanks.

lynniep Mon 17-Sep-12 14:20:47

Dont get a grande punto. They are Sh*t. Ok, ours is sh*t. But I wish I'd read the reviews before we got one.

Swanlike Mon 17-Sep-12 14:34:35

Thanks. The other car I've had recommended is a Seat Leon.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 17-Sep-12 14:38:42

Not a Peugeot 207. DD's boyfriend works in the car spares market and he reckons Peugeots a pile of poo. I recently hired a Seat Leon and it was a good car. We also had a Fabia for years and would definitely buy another one.

WidowWadman Mon 17-Sep-12 14:49:15

1.4 engine for longer trips and long commute sounds not ideal to me.

We had a Ford Mondeo ( 2 litres, turbo diesel), which was nice and spacious and used for a 70mile commute 5 days a week, and when it died we replaced it with a Ford Focus, which has a slightly smaller engine (1.6, petrol), which doesn't have as much woomf, and not as much space, but is still not a bad little car.

WMittens Mon 17-Sep-12 21:03:41

That gives 16640 miles per year just on commuting, not including your family trips, weekend journeys, etc. Assuming 40mpg for petrol and 45mpg for diesel (which is probably generous for a petrol car and harsh on the diesel) you will save over £200 a year with a diesel car. If that was 35mpg for the petrol and 50mpg for the diesel (again I'm guessing, it depends on the actual vehicles), the difference is £650. As I said, that's only based on 16640 miles.

Although modern diesels have a lot of complex systems that can go wrong, 40 miles each way on a commute should certainly avoid some of the issues that can come up.

Blu Mon 17-Sep-12 21:06:20

Skoda's are fab.

WMittens Mon 17-Sep-12 21:10:16

Meant to add before the damn thing posted itself on my behalf:

Out of your list I would go for a Fabia, or an Octavia if you're OK with a saloon and not desperate for a hatchback. Alternatively, although it's pretty ugly, have a look at the BMW 1 series. '05 118Ds are within your budget and are a pretty good drive (as much as a diesel can be; 116i is available if you really want petrol).
Seat Leon and Ford Focus are also good shouts.

bureni Wed 19-Sep-12 20:09:42

I would have a look at a V70/90 Volvo estate, very comfy, loads of space, reliable and durable with the diesel D5 engined model being one of the very best available.

DZH Wed 19-Sep-12 20:14:36

Another vote for the Fabia here

3rdnparty Fri 21-Sep-12 16:51:01

For me the engine sounds too small for that length of commute, Polos and Jazzs really are tiny as family cars though friends have a c3 and get quite a lot in it but all packed jigsaw style using footwells etc think Skoda or Seat out of that list have friends with both and highly recommend them, also diesel with that mileage we were advised if more than 12-13000 more diesel better cost wise...

salome2001 Thu 04-Oct-12 16:33:39

Honda Jazz. 1.4L engine, very fuel efficient and should take the length of commute easily and cheaply. We drove 14 hours to France fully laden including camping gear and it didn't blink. Has a MUCH bigger boot than the other cars of a similar class (fits my Stokke buggy, plus a week's shopping easily), is high roofed so that little bit easier to get baby/ toddler into the seat. Extra storage under the back "cinema style" seats if needed, back seats fold down to an amazing flat space (I fitted a larder fridge AND same size freezer in mine last month). And did I mention it is regularly one of the UK's most reliable cars?
(when I went to book my MOT this year I asked the mechanic how long the MOT and a service would take: his answer was "eight year old Jazz, nah, won't take long, it'll be fine"!)
The only thing it won't do is fit three kid car seats across the back, so it depends how big your family is really.
If I won the lottery I truly would get the 2012 hybrid Jazz. It really ticks all my boxes and I love it.

Gentleness Fri 05-Oct-12 19:41:37

We have a Skoda Fabia Estate and totally love it. It is amazing how much fits in that boot. The 1.4 diesel is an economical drive and they hold their value fairly well. The only reason we are selling is that dc3 is on the way and we can't get 3 car seats across the back. But it would give you a fair amount of time unless you have twins!

Gentleness Fri 05-Oct-12 19:43:33

We have a Skoda Fabia Estate and totally love it. It is amazing how much fits in that boot. The 1.4 diesel is an economical drive (in a hurry around town I get 40-45mpg but it is usually around 52-55 and dh can get 65mpg driving more carefully - and they hold their value fairly well. The only reason we are selling is that dc3 is on the way and we can't get 3 car seats across the back. But it would give you a fair amount of time unless you have twins!

FuntimeFelicity Tue 09-Oct-12 16:52:39

Blimey, where can I get a Skoda Fabia Estate without a stupidly high mileage and full service history for that price?!

Serious question, as I want to trade a pain in the arse Ford Focus (haven't the face to sell it privately and pretend that it's been fine) and the dealerships round me (north west) don't have anything anywhere near that price sad.

Gentleness Tue 09-Oct-12 22:23:21

I don't know! The dealership nearest us is independent which is a pest as we were hoping they could source something for us from further afield. If it is any use, we're hoping to get £7.5k for our fabia 2 estate, 59 reg, 29,000 on the clock and a nice few add-ons. My bro has a fabia hatch about 5 years older with 100k on the clock and it is running just fine. Maybe the high mileage isn't as bad news as it first appears?

WMittens Wed 10-Oct-12 20:44:03


What do you class as stupidly high mileage?

bureni Fri 12-Oct-12 23:51:38

I would not touch a Fabia with a bargepole, one of the worst steering racks and suspension set-ups I have ever seen, very expensive and a pain to repair. Frankly avoid a Fabia and buy a real car. Anything over 50k miles expect major problems and avoid the 1.4 eight valve engine , it is total rubbish giving only 34 mpg at best. Has to be one of the cheapest piles of junk on the road.

upinthehills Fri 12-Oct-12 23:58:35

We don't want anything huge due to the commute. seems a bit of a weird statement - surely an 80 mile daily trip and approx 20k a year mileage means you do want a larger more comfortable car? That is not a small commute and is approx twice the average mileage.

Have you considered a VW Passat? I wouldn't fancy that journey in a Polo to be honest. Passats are common and you could get a nice one in your price range. Very economical if you get a diesel - 50-60mpg if doing a lot of motorway miles.

FuntimeFelicity Sat 13-Oct-12 08:55:33

Anything over 70,000 Mittens, just too high a risk.

WMittens Sat 13-Oct-12 09:33:56

Anything over 70,000 Mittens, just too high a risk.

shock 70K is barely run in! With proper maintenance and a bit of care, modern cars can do 3 times that without headaches. Hell, there's a 1966 Volvo that is nearly at (or possibly past, by now) 3 million miles.

bureni Sun 14-Oct-12 20:52:55

WMitens, When I sold my old 89 Volvo it had 515k miles on the clock and ran perfectly, it was still going strong a couple of years later which was the last time I saw it.

fossil97 Sun 14-Oct-12 21:08:12

To be honest, our Passat estate has been so reliable from 50K to nearly 140K I wouldn't worry about buying one a bit older or in your price range. (Want it? grin) The Golf Estates are also good if less roomy. It's true you can average 50mpg with careful driving except when it's very cold.

I'm looking to downsize it now but then the DC are older, we have DH's vehicle for big outings and no pushchairs and big child seats to worry about. Sorry to hear about your Focus, I was recommended to look at Fiestas actually for about the £5000 price.

fossil97 Sun 14-Oct-12 21:09:48

Should have pointed out, definitely go for a diesel for fuel economy.

BlueChampagne Sun 10-Feb-13 00:00:23

Skoda Greenline have great fuel economy. Fabia and Octavia.

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