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Old 29-01-2005   #1
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(Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

Hi all,

My neighbour has just smashed into my parked 1991 VW Jetta, caving in the entire drivers side, and as the car only cost 300 I think it's going to be written off.

Because of this, and the fact that I run my own business I'm thinking of buying a new car. Unfortunately due to the fact that my bank mis-sold me useless payment protection on a loan that didn't cover the work I was doing a few years ago, I find myself with a default which means that I can't get mainstream finance. Usually I'm offered 30-50% APR and the worst choice of cars in the yard. Luckily I have a friend at Reg Vardy Sunderland, who assures me that while the finance will still be silly, I'll have my choice of car and won't be railroaded into buying crap....like so many people with bad credit are. I've scraped together 3000, and can afford to finance 3000 giving a total budget of 6000. I need a medium sized car that can be used for my business and for my family.

Being as they seem to be such good value, a 1-2 year old 5 door Stilo 1.2 active is something I'm giving serious consideration. The only thing that sticks in my mind is that Fiats are supposed to be unreliable. I've had a look on the BBC Top Gear website and they rate the Stilo next to bottom on their survey (ouch). Also I used to own a Tempra which overheated, only braked on one wheel, only opened certain doors on the central locking when it felt like it, and randomly stopped working completely for a while. Strangely enough though, my mother owned a 200 15 year old Tipo for a year and it was the best car she ever had.

I need to get to the bottom of whether all these problems are what I would call serious, or just trivial stuff. Being as I've driven nothing but 10-15 year old cars for the last 5 years, I'm really not too concerned about the odd spontanious bulb warning light, failing window, or piece of trim falling off in my hand. What I am concerned about is engine sensors, which I've heard can give problems, and safety devices such as ABS failing. While I don't mind the car spending time at the garage under warranty, I also don't want it there most of the time for replacement engines, gearboxes and such.

Some questions:-

1) What are the most common faults with the Stilo 1.2?
2) Are there any serious (ie life threatening) common faults such as ABS failure?
3) Are the dealers (in my case Vardy) likely to weasel out of warranty repairs?
4) Is the dealer servicing pricy?

Any help and guidance would be much appreicated.
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Old 29-01-2005   #2
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

the stilo 1.2, 1.4 and jtd are the ones that suffer from the least faults. Probably cause the 1.2 and 1.4 lack all the extras that have most of the problems. The 1.2 aint a bad car, but i dont know what its like in a 5 door but i would think its quite a bit heavier than the 3 door, which already is quite slow so i dunno what it would be like?

As for the dealers as long as you know what is on the warrenty and know about the car you should be ok.

Magazines may say a lot of stuff about Fiat, but they like to slag them off and dont take into account the value of money your getting on a fiat. As for the stilo it is a very nicely built car and i cant really complain about mine at all
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Old 29-01-2005   #3
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

Funnily enough my friend owned a 1.2 Stilo and I actually didn't think it was that slow. To be honest modern cars seem to be much faster than older cars anyway. My Jetta probably isn't (wasn't) any faster than the Stilo. As I'm so used to older cars I'd imagine I probably won't notice any difference.

So the 1.2 models are generally less complicated.....but anything to worry about? Are those engine sensors as much of a pain as I'm led to believe?
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Last edited by Dongle; 29-01-2005 at 16:30.
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Old 29-01-2005   #4
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

well mine is 3 year olds tomorrow and has only ever had one problem and that was with the wiper motor so it has been very reliable

There are a few other 1.2 owners on here like stilo boy, etc so you'll have to wait till they come online and give you their opinions
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Old 29-01-2005   #5
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

Thanks Bob. What standard kit has yours got?
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Old 29-01-2005   #6
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

its got all the standard stuff like remote central locking, electric windows, daul speed power steering, 6 speed gear box, 6 airbags, ASR (anti skid reduction system i think), trip computer. Its a nice car and great value for money in my opinion. The only thing it lacks is the alloy wheels but thats easily changed!
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Old 29-01-2005   #7
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

I wonder if the Top Gear rating and a lot of the reviews I've seen have been largely based on the higher spec versions.
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Old 29-01-2005   #8
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

why get ripped off with finance, why not just get a nice bravo/a with the 3k you have got?
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Old 29-01-2005   #9
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

Quote Originally Posted by dave
why get ripped off with finance, why not just get a nice bravo/a with the 3k you have got?
Well, it's an idea.....but to be honest I'd rather either buy a newish car with a year or two warranty, or a really old car with service history that costs nothing and can be repaired for next to nothing.

Cars just out of warranty don't really appeal as while they might prove thoroughly reliable, they could be an expensive heap of trouble. Funnily enough I was considering a 4 year old Marea Weekend for just over 2000 recently........it was the no mans land feeling of being just out of warranty that put me off with that one!!!

Thanks for the suggestion though
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Old 29-01-2005   #10
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

another idea get the friend who works for Reg Vardy take him to local car auction with you to look over cars, the money you save buying at auction will cover any repairs that car migh need.
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Old 29-01-2005   #11
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

The upper range Stilo is generally no less reliable than the lower spec model so i doubt thats why it scored low in top gear. Top gear faulted the drive of the stilo the cabin, ride things like that - equipment was always rated well and its unlikey they would suffer porblems in a new test car.

I have the 1.6 with some of the options and the Dynamic trim and none of my gadgets have failed yet. Its an 03 model.
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Old 29-01-2005   #12
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

Quote Originally Posted by dave
another idea get the friend who works for Reg Vardy take him to local car auction with you to look over cars, the money you save buying at auction will cover any repairs that car migh need.
Ha ha, yes another good idea Unfortunately as I'll be putting this through my business and running it as a company car, I'm not really concerned about saving money. I'm more concerned with it being reliable and someone elses problem when it goes wrong.....you know just drop in the keys and bugger off to do something else.

I know my way around a car and usually do basic services (oil/filters/plugs/leads etc) on my old bangers myself. Unfortunately I'm no mechanic, and my level of expertise and confidence isn't up to the standard of modern cars and certainly not a complicated piece of kit such as a Fiat. I reckon I could probably buy a good car from auction, but right now I just want something that I can drive and forget about.....if that means paying a bit extra I don't mind. Time is money and all that!
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Old 29-01-2005   #13
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

Quote Originally Posted by paulmacs
The upper range Stilo is generally no less reliable than the lower spec model so i doubt thats why it scored low in top gear. Top gear faulted the drive of the stilo the cabin, ride things like that - equipment was always rated well and its unlikey they would suffer porblems in a new test car.

I have the 1.6 with some of the options and the Dynamic trim and none of my gadgets have failed yet. Its an 03 model.
The Top Gear thing was a survey, I think not too dissimilar to the old JD Power surveys. They got owners to rate their 2001-2003 cars. See here for details:-

http://www.topgear.com/content/featu...urvey_2004/06/
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Old 29-01-2005   #14
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

Yes we've all talked about surveys and the like:

Fiat has had a a reputation, just like on a forum more people will talk about their problems than their joys.

Remember that this forum wont represent even a ten thousandth of the Stilo drivers who get daily pleasure from their cars. People come on here and seek help, then take frustrations out on a survey! Its true.

Its unlikely someone will post on a forum more than once that they are enjoying their car everyday without flaw. People post problems for the attention of others to help and to share resources.

It'd be unlikely you'll suffer problems with a newish stilo. A forum such as this can sometimes be a little scaremongering.
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Old 29-01-2005   #15
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Re: (Drunk?) Neighbour wrote off my parked VW - need a new car.....need Stilo 1.2 advice!

Quote Originally Posted by paulmacs
Yes we've all talked about surveys and the like:

Fiat has had a a reputation, just like on a forum more people will talk about their problems than their joys..........

........It'd be unlikely you'll suffer problems with a newish stilo. A forum such as this can sometimes be a little scaremongering.
Yes I agree. I looked through some review sites like Ciao and Dooyoo (purely because they're the first that appear on a Google search), and it struck me that people would probably be more likely to moan about something that has troubled them than talk about something that has pleased them.

Unlike my best friend who is a certified Fiat/Lancia nut and once had three Prismas stored on MY drive, and currently has three Fiat X19's and a Stilo Multiwagon.......I'm not a huge Fiat fan, I just appreciate them as being really good value for money and with some really great touches.......I'm just hoping that if there is common popular faults that people have had, that I can find out about them before buying so I go into this pre-warned so to speak!!!
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