Advice on vehicle purchase.

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Advice on vehicle purchase.

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Just thought I'd do a wee trawl on here for people's recommendations. My youngest boy is a self employed sign writer specializing in vehicle wrapping but he'll do a wide variety of anything related - like shop fronts for instance. He needs the length of a traditional estate car to get his collapsible ladders in and all the other sign writing paraphernalia but also uses the car for family outings at the weekend. We've been looking at the Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon estates with the 1.5 150hp engine, mostly because I have VAG experience and the VCDS scanner but also the KIA Ceed estate. It's got to be a petrol because he spends a lot of time driving in the city and a diesel would likely clog it's DPF. So folks, anyone able to particularly recommend another we should take a look at?

Edit. Tried to get him interested in a TIPO 1.4 T jet but he just wouldn't go for it. Which is a pity as there was one for sale at the local dealer.
 
Just thought I'd do a wee trawl on here for people's recommendations. My youngest boy is a self employed sign writer specializing in vehicle wrapping but he'll do a wide variety of anything related - like shop fronts for instance. He needs the length of a traditional estate car to get his collapsible ladders in and all the other sign writing paraphernalia but also uses the car for family outings at the weekend. We've been looking at the Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon estates with the 1.5 150hp engine, mostly because I have VAG experience and the VCDS scanner but also the KIA Ceed estate. It's got to be a petrol because he spends a lot of time driving in the city and a diesel would likely clog it's DPF. So folks, anyone able to particularly recommend another we should take a look at?

Edit. Tried to get him interested in a TIPO 1.4 T jet but he just wouldn't go for it. Which is a pity as there was one for sale at the local dealer.
One of my fleet is a Skoda Octavia Scout 57 plate 4 X4 2.litre 140 hp, it's like a Octavia estate, so quite a long vehicle, deep boot, more space inside than daughters VW Tiguan 09 4 x 4 with similar running gear, both 6 speed and once warmed up mpg in the high 30s.
I don't know how the newer ones compare, it's strange only a few days before I was slagging off Skoda, then I saw this and paid £700 with 149 K miles on the clock, I have been agreeable surprised. I don't know how the later petrol ones compare. As you can see I don't tend to spend a lot on cars as value only goes one way!;) Slight chatter from the gearbox when cold at idle, comfortable vehicle especially on Motorway etc.
 
One of my fleet is a Skoda Octavia Scout 57 plate 4 X4 2.litre 140 hp, it's like a Octavia estate, so quite a long vehicle, deep boot, more space inside than daughters VW Tiguan 09 4 x 4 with similar running gear, both 6 speed and once warmed up mpg in the high 30s.
I don't know how the newer ones compare, it's strange only a few days before I was slagging off Skoda, then I saw this and paid £700 with 149 K miles on the clock, I have been agreeable surprised. I don't know how the later petrol ones compare. As you can see I don't tend to spend a lot on cars as value only goes one way!;) Slight chatter from the gearbox when cold at idle, comfortable vehicle especially on Motorway etc.
Thanks Mike. My older boy had the Fabia Scout a few years ago with the CR diesel. It was fine when comparatively new but developed quite a few engine problems as it aged and it was not a nice engine to work on, In fact I handed it over to our local VAG indy when it needed an EGR done and shortly after that, when it fractured it's DPF we welded it up and part ex'd it for his present Kia Rio. The Kia has been boringly reliable! The Octavia Estate is definitely on our list but I think he'd rather have the Leon if we can find a good one.
 
Aside from all the obvious Vag vehicles that you’ve probably looked at, I’d suggest taking a look at a 2014/15 newer model Mini Clubman which have a lot of space (I don’t know if it’s enough for him) very well built and well specced cars and petrols don’t hold their value very well so are selling at around £10k ish
 
Trouble with buying cars is it is all subjective, in the 1970s we all bought Fords as they were cheap to buy easy to work on and parts were cheap and readily available, plus they would stand a fair bit of abuse , similar to Fiat of that era. However designs change and one make that may have been good looses popularity.
I often found that if you worked for one dealership you would see all the problem cars of that make, but conversely someone else would say it was the best car they ever owned.
BMW Minis are an example, not my favourite , but in general German cars were well made and reliable, although genuine parts not the cheapest. Much as Japanese cars until the rust got in, but they all change and hopefully improve so all you can do is buy the best example of the car you want at the best price, easy ;).
 
Aside from all the obvious Vag vehicles that you’ve probably looked at, I’d suggest taking a look at a 2014/15 newer model Mini Clubman which have a lot of space (I don’t know if it’s enough for him) very well built and well specced cars and petrols don’t hold their value very well so are selling at around £10k ish
My boy noticed how many of these seem to be around for sale but he's not very taken with them. A couple of years ago my neighbour owned one and he was having trouble with it loosing coolant. I like to keep in with him as he's very hot with computers - he works for Dell - so I offered to have a look. I found access very limited, it's very crammed in under the bonnet, much more so than the Fiat or VAG stuff or, in fact, any of the vehicles in the "family fleet". I was not particularly impressed.

Trouble with buying cars is it is all subjective, in the 1970s we all bought Fords as they were cheap to buy easy to work on and parts were cheap and readily available, plus they would stand a fair bit of abuse , similar to Fiat of that era. However designs change and one make that may have been good looses popularity.
I often found that if you worked for one dealership you would see all the problem cars of that make, but conversely someone else would say it was the best car they ever owned.
BMW Minis are an example, not my favourite , but in general German cars were well made and reliable, although genuine parts not the cheapest. Much as Japanese cars until the rust got in, but they all change and hopefully improve so all you can do is buy the best example of the car you want at the best price, easy ;).
"Buy the best example of the car that you want at the best price" I like that Mike. a very sensible approach. Car prices are pretty frightening just now though and the dealers we've so far talked to don't seem very keen to bargain over price much. I'm a bit sad he didn't fancy the Tipo we found as it was low mileage, a turbo petrol, cheap enough to insure and I got the impression the dealer wasn't having much luck moving it on so I think we might have got a very good deal. No good trying to force something on him that didn't have the "street cred" he wants though.
 
My boy noticed how many of these seem to be around for sale but he's not very taken with them. A couple of years ago my neighbour owned one and he was having trouble with it loosing coolant. I like to keep in with him as he's very hot with computers - he works for Dell - so I offered to have a look. I found access very limited, it's very crammed in under the bonnet, much more so than the Fiat or VAG stuff or, in fact, any of the vehicles in the "family fleet". I was not particularly impressed.


"Buy the best example of the car that you want at the best price" I like that Mike. a very sensible approach. Car prices are pretty frightening just now though and the dealers we've so far talked to don't seem very keen to bargain over price much. I'm a bit sad he didn't fancy the Tipo we found as it was low mileage, a turbo petrol, cheap enough to insure and I got the impression the dealer wasn't having much luck moving it on so I think we might have got a very good deal. No good trying to force something on him that didn't have the "street cred" he wants though.
The BMW Mini coolant issue was one of the negatives as far as I was concerned, similar to the Rover group went through with aluminium blocks and steel shim gaskets, that and as you mentioned access. They were sold on the nostalgia of classic Minis , but in no way were they related apart from the badge.
 
Bit of an impossible question to answer without a budget, otherwise BMW 5 series or 3 series would be recommended.

Or Peugeot/renault have a few nice estates, but engines seem to be hit or miss.
 
The BMW Mini coolant issue was one of the negatives as far as I was concerned, similar to the Rover group went through with aluminium blocks and steel shim gaskets, that and as you mentioned access. They were sold on the nostalgia of classic Minis , but in no way were they related apart from the badge.
Now that's interesting, I didn't know they had a particular problem with this - although I'm painfully aware of the well known Rover head gasket problems.

We never did get to the bottom of my neighbour's problem and after the dealer had a couple of goes at it without curing it, he part exchanged it for a BMW electric car. I think it's an i3? and has an auxilliary wee petrol engine in the boot to give it range extension. Can't say I'm much impressed with it, strange size tyres too.
Bit of an impossible question to answer without a budget, otherwise BMW 5 series or 3 series would be recommended.

Or Peugeot/renault have a few nice estates, but engines seem to be hit or miss.
Budget? probably up to around the 16 grand mark. Frankly a BMW, or any other premium brand - Lexus, etc - would frighten me a bit in terms of possible repair costs. funny you should mention Renault because I spotted a rather nice looking 2019 Megan estate for just about what he could afford. It was a 1.3 tce with about 140 hp I think? I seem to remember reading something about these engines being somewhat prone to failure though (although don't Mercedes use a derivative?) Thought it was a very nice looking car, in white with contrasting black trim which I always think look smart, (our Panda has this colour scheme) but he didn't seem to take a shine to it when I linked the add to him so I've not been to see the car in the flesh.
 
Now that's interesting, I didn't know they had a particular problem with this - although I'm painfully aware of the well known Rover head gasket problems.
people love to slate minis but worth noting that in circa 2013/14 they completely replaced all their engines, so the petrol is a 1.5 3 cylinder not the older 4 cylinder petrol models. I’m not aware of any common problems with either engines losing coolant.
The rover engines are long in the past and died with rover.

Most modern cars look like there is lots under the bonnet most of it is plastic trim and air boxes, the 1.5 petrol mini is a very small lump and the clubman is quite a large car. Is all academic if he’s not taken by them, but as a car they are very reliable and the reason there are a few about is most people wanting a bigger mini want diesels.

You can get a lot of car for £16,000, personally I’d be keeping clear of anything French unless you’ve got a very good warranty on it.
That sort of money would get you a 2019 golf estate with all the bells and whistles you’d need.
Or a 2020 Octavia

For that money I’d probably just buy a Qashqai
 
We've been looking at the Skoda Octavia
Might also be worth looking at the Superb estate. I bought my 64 plate one when it was a year old and I've done 110,000 miles in it and it hasn't given me any trouble at all. Got it to accomodate two teenagers with a view to seeing them through university years, the leg room and boot space are fantastic. We found the Octavia a bit tight on legroom in the back but we're on the tall side as a family. No idea about their wider reliability but our DSG diesel has been good.
 
You can get a lot of car for £16,000, personally I’d be keeping clear of anything French unless you’ve got a very good warranty on it.
That sort of money would get you a 2019 golf estate with all the bells and whistles you’d need.
Or a 2020 Octavia

For that money I’d probably just buy a Qashqai
My gut feeling is to steer clear of the french stuff too, but I'm influenced by having formed that opinion many years ago and have no real knowledge of their latest offerings.

Golf estate, Octavia estate, Leon estate, all firmly in the cross hairs. Funny you mention a Qashquai as he took a brief look at a 2018 X Trail a couple of days ago and is still trying to make up his mind if he liked it or not. I've had some experience with Micras owned by friends of Mrs J and I wasn't particularly impressed but I don't have any other experience of the brand They're not at the top of my list I have to say.
 
Shkodas are just so ugly looking, pretty sure that was VW's rule, you can have our cars as long as the look like cheap copies.
 
My gut feeling is to steer clear of the french stuff too, but I'm influenced by having formed that opinion many years ago and have no real knowledge of their latest offerings.
And my friend's dad has a skoda in teh 80's which is what put me off them for life (VAG or not).
 
people love to slate minis but worth noting that in circa 2013/14 they completely replaced all their engines, so the petrol is a 1.5 3 cylinder not the older 4 cylinder petrol models. I’m not aware of any common problems with either engines losing coolant.
The rover engines are long in the past and died with rover.

Most modern cars look like there is lots under the bonnet most of it is plastic trim and air boxes, the 1.5 petrol mini is a very small lump and the clubman is quite a large car. Is all academic if he’s not taken by them, but as a car they are very reliable and the reason there are a few about is most people wanting a bigger mini want diesels.

You can get a lot of car for £16,000, personally I’d be keeping clear of anything French unless you’ve got a very good warranty on it.
That sort of money would get you a 2019 golf estate with all the bells and whistles you’d need.
Or a 2020 Octavia

For that money I’d probably just buy a Qashqai
I'd personally avoid anything modern unless you've got a decent warranty on it..a friend of mine is now in an argument with VW over a Golf GTi mk8.

They picked it up brand new Christmas eve...it's required a recovery truck twice since.

Although he is generally cursed..as he is the bloke whose brand-new TT a few years ago needed roadside recovery 8 times in a year including losing all power and stranding him in the outside lane of the M25.

Also coolant loss in a Mini tends to be plastic water pump body (not just the impeller is plastic) warping over time, it then no longer seals correctly.

So if you want to keep it without a warranty...don't buy French or German would be my presentation 🤣 Even more modern earth dreams honda stuff has belt in oil timing belts..

The VW 1.5 is somewhat notorious for not working quite right as well...misfire on part throttle that required many many software updates but never quite got fixed in some cases.
 
Shkodas are just so ugly looking, pretty sure that was VW's rule, you can have our cars as long as the look like cheap copies.
Interesting way of looking at them. Not the most "beautiful" I'll agree but quite "handsome" and purposeful in my view. When I was a trainer - Basic motor motor vehicle repair and maintenance - the old rear engine'd Skodas were a popular choice amongst my students, pretty much exclusively because they could be bought for "peanuts" but they also broke down a lot so I got to "assist" with repairs and I actually quite got to like them. They were not really as bad as the reputation they gained. I think a lot of them fell by the wayside because they were cheap to buy so ended up being owned by people who didn't have the money to keep them in good order and often run by people who knew little about cars, couldn't care less about them and didn't maintain them.

My brother in law ran a Favorite for many years and I drove it on a number of occasions and it was, well, Ok. He owned fishing rights on some of the river near him which was reached across two farmer's fields. He always used to say that the Favorite was the only car he ever owned which he could be sure would take him across the fields to the river bank and then back to the main road at the end of a fishing session without ever getting stuck.
 
I note were knocking French cars and promoting mini when, in reality mini went from a German engine to a French one BECAUSE of reliability issues. i know ‘we’ all have our biases but let’s not go down the heresay wehn there are folk on here with actual experience of owning the suggested vehicles (as somebody pointed out the other day with their experience of owning a Kia, great car, not the most reliable, but thanks to the seven year warranty would buy again). For my part, from experience, I would not buy German (or Japanese generally, I’ve worked at Mazda, their warranty guy used to try get out of everythin! but I’ve still had navarros, L200s but they were out of warranties and had the usual cooling issues) because when things do go wrong, and they do, they’re prohibitably expensive to fix and they like to wriggle out of warranty…dads VW polo autobox constantly in for repair under warranty, failed two months outside warranty, ‘not our problem’ (remember punto cvt that dealers hated wehn they went wrong) brothers Audi A4 rear suspension bushes and wheel alignment> tyres scrubbing/replacing twice in same year< in dealers longer than he ran it, it was a company car and they ditched VAG off their list. He’s got a Mercedes’ now and that has had nothing other than servicing…mates Audi 8 autobox exploded two months past warranty, Audi as a good will gesture paid 50% of gearbox cost so Chris ONLY had to pay £15k AND the labour! Cousins Skoda Octavia decided to hydraulic it’s sump off on the motorway, one hell of a lot of tooing and frying before skoda relinqushed and repaired under warranty (we had a 164 diesel that got recovered in that did that whilst they were on holiday from Germany) and another cousins golf seat collapsed whilst negotiating a country road, luckily she came to a safe stop. She was ‘a big girl’ but not THAT big, VW didn’t want to know so I welded it up for her, looking at the seat, it looked like just a tack weld on the adjuster…but that’s still only five examples…what I always say to folk choosing cars is, drive it for more than just half hour, it may be fun but is the driving position comfortable and will the lovely sports suspension jar after fifty miles, can I fit everything in it, will it do the job I want and not bleed me dry, do I really need a big car if it’s only got me in it for 70% of the time and a roof rack will carry my ladders and a cylinder for my vinyl
 
If anyone knows Otley, Yorkshire one not Suffolk, do you remember the window cleaner that had 3 section ladders on an MX5?
 
I'd personally avoid anything modern unless you've got a decent warranty on it..a friend of mine is now in an argument with VW over a Golf GTi mk8.

Also coolant loss in a Mini tends to be plastic water pump body (not just the impeller is plastic) warping over time, it then no longer seals correctly.

So if you want to keep it without a warranty...don't buy French or German would be my presentation 🤣 Even more modern earth dreams honda stuff has belt in oil timing belts..

The VW 1.5 is somewhat notorious for not working quite right as well...misfire on part throttle that required many many software updates but never quite got fixed in some cases.
Yes. An engineer friend recons pretty much all modern cars are good for somewhere around 5 years of average driving then the big bills start coming in - cam belts to change and some, like the chain cam VAG engines and others seem to have "chocolate" timing chains and/or tensioner devices which means timing chains can't be thought of as lasting the vehicle's lifetime and they cost so much more to renew. I find it amusing that the advice is to frequently renew engine oil if you want a chain to last but then the vehicle manufacturer recommends a 2 year oil change interval! Then there's "complicated stuff" like VVT mechanisms, Twin circuit cooling systems (and boy are some of those complicated with water cooled intercoolers and turbos and absolutely loads of rubber cooling hoses too) Direct injection which is pretty much guaranteed to cause carbon fouling at some time of inlet tracts and valves. some are better than others. The amount of stuff now made from plastic which can warp and/or degrade when older is prolific too.

I didn't know the new Hondas used belt in oil timing belts. I hold the older Honda engines in high regard, nearly bought a 1.8 iVtec Civic back in 2016 myself, and I've been looking with interest at the 1.5 Jazz sport as a possible replacement for the Ibiza but I'm a bit put off by the fact it's Direct injection - must check on whether it has an "oily belt" now as that would really detract from it's desirability for me.

Yea, the hesitation "thing" which you see mentioned quite frequently in relation to the 1.5 EA211 VAG engine does concern me but they say it seems to affect some more than others - which isn't logical is it? - of course this is the engine which is going to be in the VAG vehicles we are looking at and i've seen it said that the 130 Hp suffers with it more than the 150, and it's the 150 he'd prefer, so I thought that if we see one he fancies we'll insist it's not prewarmed when we go to see it and then see what it's like.

In fact he's just come off the phone to me and said he saw a KIA ProCeed today and thought it looked "Bonny" I know nothing about them but do know they are chain cams and my older boy's Rio - their "good" car (the other being his Punto) - has been boringly reliable since he bought it in 2017 so that's encouraging. The only drawback I see with it is the fastback design which rather destroys the whole idea of it being an estate? Mind you it still has the length so his ladders should fit Ok. Just have to go and look at one I suppose
 
Yes. An engineer friend recons pretty much all modern cars are good for somewhere around 5 years of average driving then the big bills start coming in - cam belts to change and some, like the chain cam VAG engines and others seem to have "chocolate" timing chains and/or tensioner devices which means timing chains can't be thought of as lasting the vehicle's lifetime and they cost so much more to renew. I find it amusing that the advice is to frequently renew engine oil if you want a chain to last but then the vehicle manufacturer recommends a 2 year oil change interval! Then there's "complicated stuff" like VVT mechanisms, Twin circuit cooling systems (and boy are some of those complicated with water cooled intercoolers and turbos and absolutely loads of rubber cooling hoses too) Direct injection which is pretty much guaranteed to cause carbon fouling at some time of inlet tracts and valves. some are better than others. The amount of stuff now made from plastic which can warp and/or degrade when older is prolific too.

I didn't know the new Hondas used belt in oil timing belts. I hold the older Honda engines in high regard, nearly bought a 1.8 iVtec Civic back in 2016 myself, and I've been looking with interest at the 1.5 Jazz sport as a possible replacement for the Ibiza but I'm a bit put off by the fact it's Direct injection - must check on whether it has an "oily belt" now as that would really detract from it's desirability for me.

Yea, the hesitation "thing" which you see mentioned quite frequently in relation to the 1.5 EA211 VAG engine does concern me but they say it seems to affect some more than others - which isn't logical is it? - of course this is the engine which is going to be in the VAG vehicles we are looking at and i've seen it said that the 130 Hp suffers with it more than the 150, and it's the 150 he'd prefer, so I thought that if we see one he fancies we'll insist it's not prewarmed when we go to see it and then see what it's like.
I'm still vaguely baffled as to how VW manage to make a conventional timing belt interval 4 years..and then charge more to replace it than it costs to do a chain or belt in oil.

I can only assume the interval due to them using parts with a combined material value of 20p so they play on the safe side to avoid warranty claims.

Honda belt in oil is 1.0t I think..has all the issues associated with the puretech and ecoboost..right down to Honda pretending it's not a problem. At least with the PSA ones they are far enough down the road that the problems are understood and there's even timing chain version of the engine on the way...also they are reasonable at honouring warranty.

I note were knocking French cars and promoting mini when, in reality mini went from a German engine to a French one BECAUSE of reliability issues.

Not quite...R53 mini had a fairly random Brazilian engine as BMW made nothing suitable at the time so used what Rover group had lined up.

Later R56 had the prince which was a nice robust french TU block with a head, timing chain and fuel injection system built by BMW. Strangely they are mainly plagued with timing chain, fuel injection and inlet valve issues.

As time goes I'm more of the opinion the vast majority of cars out there are reasonably reliable...but you only hear about the crap ones.

Crap ones tend to be more numerous when the car involved is cheap and cheerful as people take the view "meh it's just a (insert brand) I'm not paying for proper service etc.
 
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