My feed

to access all these features

Join the discussion and meet other Mumsnetters on our free online chat forum.


Need to buy a small used car, for daughter. No idea where to start.

23 replies

aswellascanbeexpected · 08/07/2023 20:42

So, apologies if this sounds a bit pathetic, but I was unexpectedly widowed last year, and this is the sort of thing my Dh would have relished.
My DD is learning to drive and will hopefully pass her test in the autumn. She’s a student but she’s going to need a car to get to interesting placements, and for any future job.
I sold my late husband’s car for about £1300 and have put that aside, but could add to it if necessary.
I need a small, reliable automatic that will also be ULEZ free, but where do I start? I genuinely know nothing about cars, aside from being able to drive and sort out tax, service and insurance!

OP posts:
aswellascanbeexpected · 08/07/2023 21:19

Hopeful bump

OP posts:
Dotcheck · 08/07/2023 21:23

I’d go to a dealership as often they can offer a guarantee, which may give you some peace of mind.
You may want to think about domestic cars which can be easily fixed- ie Corsas

Work2live · 08/07/2023 21:24

What would your max budget be, OP? Sadly I think the days of buying a reliable runaround for less than £2k are gone.

Definitely worth looking at car brands that are generally very reliable as you will be looking for an older car e.g. Honda, Toyota, Hyundai.

Jk987 · 08/07/2023 21:27

Sorry you lost your husband, very sad.

I would start by downloading the AutoTrader app. There are thousands of cars for every budget. I would go for a trusted, cheap to run model like a Ford Fiesta. Does your daughter have a preference? Always offer a lower price than is advertised and come to a compromise with the seller. Good luck!

Sugarflowers · 08/07/2023 21:30

Car prices are really high at the moment. A ten year old Fiesta at a dealership is ~£7k.

As you've nothing to trade in you may be better with a private sale.

You can go online to dvla and see the car's mot's and any fails or advisories (still passed but might need fixed some time).

Also there are companies that will check a car for you for a fee. The AA does this

You will need to spend more than £2k i imagine.

Vehicle inspection - check a used car | AA

Buying a used car, van or SUV? Book an AA vehicle inspection to check its health. Choose a basic or comprehensive check with up to 206 points tested.

gogomoto · 08/07/2023 21:31

I second a ford, cheaper to fix than many brands. There are cheap cars sometimes from dealers who have taken in part exchanges of other companies vehicles

Stickstickstickstickstick · 08/07/2023 21:32

I still have my first Citroen c1 from when I was a new driver. It’s 12 years old now. There’s basically nothing that can break - it doesn’t even have a cam belt. Considering replacing it with a newer one so that we still have a runaround. 100% recommend.

Wibbleswombats · 08/07/2023 21:34

Most people get cars on lease these days (like 90%). There are advantages to this as the car will be newer and under warranty, plus it spreads the cost and as she's young, it might help if it includes insurance, which will be high.

The used car market is bonkers atm.

With great respect, if it's her car and she needs it for work, then she is best sorting it out with you. My dad died when I was a student and you have to grow up faster, it's sad but you end up more capable if you learn stuff younger.

Look at websites like moneysavingexpert for guides to leasing and buying.

SlightlygrumpyBettyswaitress · 08/07/2023 21:58

The very first thing you need to do is identify which cars generate the lowest insurance premiums.

Verymodestmouse · 08/07/2023 22:02

We bought a new car recently. This is what we did:

  • look on which? For the most reliable second hand car model (Japanese models all the way!)
  • look on auto trader to see what age car our budget could buy e.g. 15 year old fancy car, 10 year old less fancy car and ones that are more likely to have automatic versions available
  • identify a couple of options
  • send AA to do an assessment (so glad we did it as the first was a complete no and the second was a resounding yes!)
  • bought car!

good luck.
Abouttimemum · 08/07/2023 22:03

We just paid £3.5k for an 8 year old Suzuki Alto so you’ll not get much for under 2k that’s half decent with decent mileage. I agree a low level finance might be better.

But anyway I’d recommended the Hyundai i10 which is an excellent motor. Anything small with a low mileage will most likely be reliable enough.

helpsexdrought · 08/07/2023 22:04

Watching as my 17 yo sons car has just gone kaput 😩😩

hecktoe · 08/07/2023 22:07

So sorry about your loss.
We've just been through this for DS. Advice we were given was to stick with fiesta, corsa or polo. All very reliable as older cars. Try auto trader and filter by make, age, distance.
Without wanting to get a MN bashing for being sexist..... do you have a family friend, brother or someone who could support you in looking? I often think (sadly) in this day and age car garages still give a man a better deal.

aswellascanbeexpected · 08/07/2023 22:18

Thank you all so very much, lots of excellent advice and ideas to follow up, which I will take on board.

OP posts:
Xelda · 08/07/2023 22:23

We bought a Hyundai i10 recently for Dd that we found through Lots of filters - price, age, location etc., which made it much easier.

PossiblyNotOne · 08/07/2023 22:33

Definitely second a Hyundai i10. Fabulous small cars that are like a tardis inside.

tomatotonic · 08/07/2023 22:34

As others have said first step is - you can select distance you are prepared to travel, fuel type, gearbox type and maximum price. Its worth then drawing up a shortlist of four or five cars that potentially are suitable.

It may be worth then looking at insurance costs - go to gocompare or similar site and enter details including if possible enter the details of the actual cars that are advertised (reg number) and then you can work out what is cheapest to insure. Look too at the road tax costs - some can be had for £20/30 a year, others can be as much as £200 a year.

As others have said best to go for well known/ popular cars as there will be lots available and they are cheaper. Its may also be worth going for less 'trendy' cars which may not have been as well looked after - so Fiat Panda rather than 500, no minis/Beetle etc. Some brands are considered more reliable and attract a premium - VW, Toyota, Honda etc. Cars like Citroens, Renaults, Fords Vauxhalls etc are generally cheaper and should be reliable.

When you get to the garage ask to test drive and check that the car has been regularly serviced/ tyres are in good condition and check radio/heating/aircon when driving. Good garages should offer a pre-sale service and new MOT before pick up.

Patchworksack · 08/07/2023 22:35

We are on the lookout for a car for my DS to learn in and used car prices are ridiculous. 5k for a little 1l hatchback at 6-7yrs old and 50k miles. Madness.
Someone was trying to sell a category B write off for 4K !

croft89 · 08/07/2023 22:36

We have a 2006 (56) Honda Ciivc. It's a 1.8 auto and ULEZ compliant

Every single time I go out in it I see other Civic's on the road. They are very reliable, that's why for an old car they're still everywhere

The Honda Jazz is also meant to be a very good reliable auto

SiblingFights · 08/07/2023 22:42

I third a Hyundai i10. Really reliable, cheap parts and insurance.

Between our 4 DC they have had an i10 a Corsa, a Micra and a Ka. The i10 was the cheapest and not considered a "fashionable" make amongst their friends but has never missed a beat, despite several trips from the south coast to the NW of Scotland.

HurricanesHardlyEverHappen · 09/07/2023 10:50

We've been looking for an automatic for our dd. We are looking at Fiats. They seem to be plentiful.

We are only looking at dealerships with a bit of a warranty.

crumpet · 09/07/2023 10:57

When you’re looking, check for any references to these categories, which will show if the car has previously been in an accident and to what degree. Many suspiciously good bargains will be because they walk into eg a category S etc. Also for a couple of pounds you can get the AA to run a car just check which will again sHow if it’s been in any accidents.

otherwise get onto the websites, set your search parameters and good luck. I am about to do the same with ds.

crumpet · 09/07/2023 10:57

Sorry forgot the pic

Need to buy a  small used car, for daughter. No idea where to start.
Need to buy a  small used car, for daughter. No idea where to start.
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.