small economical car at around £5k
One of my daughters is about to need a car. She is a nurse who isnt overly wealthy. She is moving to live with her BF, so will now have a 70ish mile return trip to work 4 or 5 times per week.
This is about 15k miles per year plus whatever leisure miles she does. She will be travelling on northern motorways at all times of day as she works shifts. so, it has to be economical to run, safe, reliable, and a low insurance group as she has been a named driver since she passed her test.
She also wanted ‘cool’ but realises that may have to take a backseat to other requirements. We have around £5k to spend.
We are looking at Citroen C1, Fiat 500, Fiat Panda, Hyundai I10
Does anyone have any thoughts as to a suitable car that fits the above? Anything we should avoid in my list? Problems to look out for?
IanPosted 4 months ago
Exact same scenario here last year. We got a Nissan Micra. Seems indestructible and cheap as chips to run.Posted 4 months ago
I’d get something big and comfy.
Mondeo 2.0 diesel
Brilliant mpg, comfy etc etc
Small and distance really don’t workPosted 4 months ago
Skoda roomster, great car, versatile. Decent driving position for motorways. If I bought one now I’d probably buy the petrol version over the diesel version I currently own.Posted 4 months ago
Long way from cool but I drive one and like it far more than I should, Honda Jazz has great MPG, I can get 55-60mpg on the motorway, is always near the top on the reliability scores, has the magic seats and is generally a great thing for getting from A to B and before covid I was doing 20k miles a year in it so ignore the people who say it isn’t a motorway car. I am also 6’2 and have no issue with space or comfort.Posted 4 months ago
Plus something with a 5 star ncap crash rating. I wouldn’t want to do too many motorway miles in a tiny car.Posted 4 months ago
Get something that feels bigger than it is maybe. We have a seat arona but not sure it would be old enough to get one for 5k.
Skoda fabia 1.6tdi manual (do NOT get the auto/dsg in that engine). Or maybe the 1.9 Octavia if you can get one in good enough condition and happy to have something a bit bigger.
The 500 and panda are built on the same chassis. In laws are on their second 500. First was a diesel but had to change to the twinair due to low miles. Your daughter’s mileage is the perfect example of when to choose diesel.Posted 4 months ago
Mazda 3. Great cars and renowned for being bombproof. Picked one up for 4k with 45000 miles on it as a one year stop gap
Five years later it’s on 110 000 miles and haven’t spent anything apart from routine servicing. Touch wood….Posted 4 months ago
Suzuki Ignis. Cool little economical little thingsPosted 4 months ago
Suzuki Ignis, Hyundai i20, Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo, VW up!
I wouldn’t want to do too many motorway miles in a tiny car.
Depends on how comfortable the seats are. I’ve done over 200 miles non-stop in a Citigo, it was a lot more comfortable than some much bigger cars I’ve had to drive.Posted 4 months ago
I’ve done a great many motorway miles in cars as small as a Smart fourtwo, which was also surprisingly comfy; place I once worked at had an engineer turn up in a fourtwo, one of the very earliest ones, he’d driven down to Chippenham from Edinburgh, he preferred it to his Range Rover…
I doubt the young lady in question is going to be much over 5’8”, a Toyota Aygo would be perfectly comfy for normal commuting, and I’ve driven quite a few of those, and their siblings, the Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 – both are a bit noisy, but for one or two people perfectly ok.
Then there’s the Fiesta, the Corsa, which has a heated screen, unusual in small cars…
Dammit, the Vauxhall Viva has cruise control! The Vauxhall Adam isn’t a bad little car either.
Skoda Roomster is a good shout, very underrated.
I was going to suggest the Fabia,
I’d maybe look at the i20 rather than the i10, much nicer place for long motorway journeysPosted 4 months ago
I really would get something bigger than an Aygo but not as big as a Mondeo (unless she’s regularly driven something that size already).
I used to do that kind of mileage commuting, mostly motorway. No way I’d want to do it daily in a super mini / town car. Fine for a few days, even weeks but not full time for months on end.
The absolute smallest I’d go is Fiesta/Clio/Polo/i20/Corsa and ideally I’d go one bigger – Focus, Golf, i30, 208, 308, etc.
When the weather is crap for days on end and the wind is howling the extra mass and (likely less thrashy engine) will be welcome as will the extra metal in the event of a bump. Also if she’s a nurse working long and tiring hours I reckon that extra comfort might just be welcome.
It doesn’t need loads of go – I was doing 35000 miles a year in a 105hp diesel Golf. Low end grunt to tick along at steady speeds is key, along with decent brakes and road manners.
At £5000 I’d buy on condition and go for one with as few toys as possible. Not cool, reliable. In my high mileage years the only critical feature was good air conditioning and the other thing I’d have down as a highly desirable is a heated front screen. Brilliant when leaving places at inconvenient and frosty times of day.Posted 4 months ago
Sorry for all my views on what I’d do she’s the one who has to sit in it everyday and thinking about it a bit more…
The smallest car I have owned is a Peugeot 306 (i.e. family hatch sized) and I’ve been happy driving big cars and panel vans since my early 20s. Not everyone feels the same.
First thing is she needs to be comfortable driving it because she will spend a lot of time doing so. That means if she hates big cars she should probably get a smallish one and you can ignore me.Posted 4 months ago
With a lot of motorway miles, I think I would go a step up in size.
We’ve an Ibiza 1.4 16v (estate, hatches are available) which ticks the ‘cool’ box and ours has been faultless over 60k/5 years. It’s also cheap to insure and maintain.
The other obvious cars I would look at are Focus, Auris and Mazda3.
As a safe, cool and comfy car from the left field, how about a Volvo C30?
I would buy on condition and history, not fixed in a particular car.Posted 4 months ago
Polo 1.4 Tdi Bluemotion. From 2014 onwards, so the 6rc chassis. A genuine 75-80 Mpg.Posted 4 months ago
For that commute she needs something larger. She also wants something that’s reliable and relatively economical. Diesels hold their value more, so I’d go petrol and drive carefully instead. Ford Focus sized car would be my choice. Toyota Auris.
Volvo C30 is a good left-field cool choice too. Basically a Ford Focus but nice drive. I’d worry about parts and they are small in the back and boot, but a MUCH better choice than the OP list.Posted 4 months ago
Focus. The base 105hp model with the 3 cylinder, 1 litre engine. Don’t go chasing Titanium this & that, the basic Zetec model has all the toys she’ll need.Posted 4 months ago
I’ve done plenty of motorway miles in ours. I wouldn’t want to be doing that sort of motorway mileage in a tiny car.
105hp doesn’t sound a lot these days but it’s a funny little engine. It has a real punch off the line that makes pulling into traffic safe. It’s not going to win any slip road drag races but it’s got some decent road presence.
Something Ford as they’re more likely to have a heated windscreen, handy if she’s on shifts and she’s coming off shift in the middle of the night and wants to get home.
I had a Pug 308- did 90k miles in 3 years on a 90 mile a day commute no probs. Before that I had a Mazda3 doing a 60 mile daily commute for 3 years too. it was a 1.4 petrol just a bit thirty and the alloys were made of cheese but replaced under warranty.
ETA Mrs FB did a 50 mile daily commute in a Pug206 with no hassle.think that’s about the smallest I’d want to go for a regular mway commute.Posted 4 months ago
We’ve got the more powerful 125ps Ford 3pot ecoboost in one of our cars. We also did a couple of very long journeys in the 105ps variant as a rental car. It is a lovely engine (in either power output), good on a long journey, and generally great cars but if I was piling on big miles on a £5k second hand focus day in, day out on the motorway I’d personally spend the extra up front on a 1.5/1.6tdci.
I much prefer petrol cars as a driver but 70 miles a day, mostly motorway you’re going to save a lot of time and cash at the petrol station with a diesel.Posted 4 months ago
I’d be looking for a basic trim Ford Focus in good condition. Those miles suggest diesel to me, and it should be a lot more reliable than petrol to boot. Bear in mind diesel is not clean, the manufacturers have a history of telling emissions and performance porkies and the state may decide to slap some fairly massive tax on dirty old diesels at some point.Posted 4 months ago
a mini, my wifes 1.6 petrol is a bit underpowered for me but i could quite happily spend hours cruising up the motorway at 80 in it even thjough its small. also fits the “cool” for a lot of people.
5k now would probably get you into thje newer ones with i think turbo petrol engines and possibly ok diesel engines, a mechanic mate advised me agaisnt getting diesel engines at the age i was looking at(2011)
edit to say maybe not, a quick google suggests my wifes hasn’t actually lost that much in the 18 months she’s had it if the prices people are asking are anything to go of.Posted 4 months ago
All, thanks for your input.
It does appear that a tiny city car is not the tool for this role.
We will chat and have a look at the size or two up in cars. Having thought about it, id prefer her on the M62 in something a little bigger and safer…
Thanks as ever for your input. If anything else springs to mind then please let me know
IanPosted 4 months ago
I don’t have anything to say about cars, but it’s sweet that your daughter has given you this task to keep you busy and help you feel less sad about her moving out. Smart woman.Posted 4 months ago
Hyundai i10 and i20 are well made. Rather than going for the biggest car possible, I’d be looking for other safety kit (airbags, driver assistance). When tired, lane departure beeper/corrector can be useful!Posted 4 months ago
Skoda Rapid? Based on the Golf platform, so a bit more stable/stronger than smaller cars.. Otherwise I’d have suggested sticking with a base model diesel Fabia, or for ultimate reliability, Honda Jazz, although both might be a bit on the small side for that mileage. All of those will be reasonable to insure as well as very reliable.Posted 4 months ago
Avoids: anything by Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroen, Renault. All have lower or very poor reliability as they get older.
Well worth considering: Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Suzuki, Toyota. All interchangeable, soul-less but ultimately, should be very reliable. Suzukis are the weakest there for crash protection.
Not under any circumstances: Mini, anything by Land Rover.
VW Golf are generally too dear for what they are, so are poor value for money. Seat requires very careful selection, you need to know which factory built the engine to avoid the duds. (Spanish built 1.4 petrol, I’m looking at you..)
Again as mentioned already, look very carefully for a base model car, not one with many extra goodies. At that price range and age, you want the simplest version possible to avoid incoming problems.
I drive an aygo in uk, for a tiny footprint of a car it’s surprisingly spacious inside. Cheap as chips to buy and run, we got a 18 month old one for 6k, zero tax, 60 to gallon. Even got ac and rear camera.
For a 70 mile daily commute it would be pushing it, quite doable but for safety I would be going for something bigger.
Upside is annual service and mot is 100 GBP, never missed a beat so reliable.
I would have gone for an up tho, reviews are much better and they look better. I do see loads of aygos around so sell well.Posted 4 months ago
I’d echo the advice above, go up a size to fiesta/corsa as a minimum, but focus/astra preferable.Posted 4 months ago
They are more comfy, quieter, just a better place to sit.
Japanese/korean cars are more likely to be reliable then european options (generally speaking)
I’d go for a relatively basic spec, they’re cheaper to buy and insure, there’s also less to go wrong.
35 miles to work is plenty to get a diesel warm enough, so I’d be tempted by that more than petrol tbh.
How about a diesel Mini? Small but not tiny. Good on fuel and cool.Posted 4 months ago
Personally I’d go for something like a Focus, but a Fiesta would be fine too.
You can go and look up the economy figures yourself though.Posted 4 months ago
Mazda 3Posted 4 months ago
Also a diesal will probably save 30 to 40 quid a month on fuel with that mileagePosted 4 months ago
To go against the ‘basic trim’ argument, go for something with all the bits you want. May cost a little more, but the original buyer took the big hit on all the extra goodiesPosted 4 months ago
Also nissan juke apparently they are cool?
Please note i have a quashqui and a Navara so no judge of cool.Posted 4 months ago
Ford Fiesta. Nice to drive, cheap to own and run, feel composed on longer journeys thanks to the longer than most in the class wheelbase, but feels nimble.
Having owned two modern Fiats, I’d say that whilst the Italians seem to have overcome their electrical issues of the 90s, they’ve done this by neglecting the mechanicals. Both of ours chewed through suspension bits, HVAC bits, and plastic engine bits (thermostats, water bottles, expansion tanks, etc). Cheapish to fix each time, but the regularity of finding something wrong was irritating.Posted 4 months ago
Cheapish to fix each time, but the regularity of finding something wrong was irritating.
And this gets very boring, very quickly when you’re piling on 350-400 miles a week especially when something misbehaves late at night on the way home from work.Posted 4 months ago
Also nissan juke apparently they are cool?
They really aren’tPosted 4 months ago
I don’t have anything to say about cars, but it’s sweet that your daughter has given you this task to keep you busy and help you feel less sad about her moving out. Smart woman.
Managing managers, she’ll go far.Posted 4 months ago
Morning all, varied opinions as usual.
I agree with the bigger will be better for these kind of journeys but all as Count Zero said, size is not a definate indicater of comfort.
With the comments considered, I would say go for Golf/ Focus sized car with a medium powered egine eg Golf 140PS without sports supension. When I use my wife’s Passat on my commute it is far more pleasant than the sports suspension of my car. Also a bit more power will give a more relaxed drive as you will be able to pull out and merge with traffic more easily and often they will have taller gearing so less frenetic on cruise. Finally When I used to drive our Yaris on the Motorway people would just ignore me and pull out so i would have to break a lot – seldom happens in the Passat. It’s a lot of driving, I think your daughter needs to test a variety of cars.Posted 4 months ago
We have an i10 for running around town, I’ve driven it a couple of times over the M62 from Manchester to Leeds and it’s not a nice experience in bad weather. I’d certainly want something a little more planted, felt less vulnerable in my base model punto 25 years ago. I used to do that journey a lot in a Focus and it was fine, that’s the size car I’d be looking at. I have friend who does Halifax to Macclesfield everyday and he always has Diesel Golfs.
The i10 is ace round town where it belongs but the wrong tool for the jobPosted 4 months ago
Also nissan juke apparently they are cool?
My 76-year-old mum certainly thinks so.Posted 4 months ago
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