View Full Version : Cheapest reliable car

19th May 2005, 19:49
I am fed up of cars. All they do is cost money. S I have decided to re-evaluate my position, sell my current cars (I have 2) and buy something else. My requirements are firstly reliability as it is no good being called out on a standby at 3am in the morning and having car problems. Secondly it has to be economical. Anything will be economical compared to my 3.5 litre automatic, but I am looking for something with excellent economy. Thirdly it has to have a degree of comfort. I am not looking for luxury, merely a car which will satisfy the 40 mile round trip to work. My mileage is about 15,000 per annum, so I think it is borderline wether to buy a diesel, yet the economy of something like a Citroen C2 is hard to ignore. Over to you................

19th May 2005, 20:00
You can have my '92 BMW 320i coupe for two grand and it's dead reliable (I'm only after another newer one). How's that for an offer?

19th May 2005, 21:03
Just finished an exercise in comparing new small car costs, if you want a copy pm me and I will send a spreadsheet ( covers about 7 cars)..

Modern diesels are incredibly economical and reliable eg Audi A3 2.0TDi combined mpg 51.4 VW Golf 2.0GT Tdi is 49.6!

There are cheaper but assume you want something half decent!

19th May 2005, 21:11
Madame currently drives a Land Rover Disco which we paid 3 grand for 3 years ago. Its been no trouble, nothing has broken or needed replacing and, since we converted it to LPG, it is as cheap to run as my A4 Diesel. (oh, and since she has horses, it gets used off road all the time so doesnt count as a Chelsea Tractor)

To me, that is a cheapish reliable car

19th May 2005, 21:13

Beware of the numbers !

Not long bought a A3 2.0TDi and it's not doing 51.4. I know it's new and loosening up, but look at more like 45 in real life.


19th May 2005, 21:31
For reliability-go diesel. As long as you can turn the engine over at a fair clip it will start. Replace the battery after a couple of years and keep the old one charged up as a spare. Trouble is that the new diesels are getting too technical for their own good and may lose out on the reliability stakes. Still won't be as bad as petrol though.

Mike W

+'ve ROC
19th May 2005, 21:46
Golf 1.9 GTTDi all the way. 40+mpg, goes like stink. Never any problems

19th May 2005, 23:20
2001 GT Convertible Mustang. 5 speed. 4.6 V8. 0-60 in around 5 seconds. Supposedly does 140 mph. (I'm too scared to go that fast)!

20th May 2005, 00:00
Diesel Peugeot 205. Cheap as chips and runs really well. Also, who'd want to steal it?:ok:

20th May 2005, 00:19
Quite literally the cheapest new car you can buy in the UK, at 4700, is this beaut'...


...although one review did describe it as "Verging on the masochistic." You decide if it's for you! :}

20th May 2005, 08:08

Cheap it certainly is, but I doubt it would be at all comfortable.


The 205 is too old for my needs and likely to be unreliable.

+'ve ROC

Golf is a fine car and a possibility. The only problem is that it is overpriced when compared to similarly sized and specced cars.


Nice idea, but you seem to have missed the economical aspect of the post. Also, as I live in the UK, the car would have to be RHD.


I am tending to lean towards a diesel.


Discovery is way to large for my needs.


Thanks. PM on its way.


Thanks for the offer, but much too old and likely to be uneconomical.

Echo Zulu Yankee
20th May 2005, 08:19
10002 Level,

The 20 year old lad in our house has recently bought a Seat Ibiza. They give you a minimum of 2000 part exchange and if you go down to your dealer you can get one with Front and Side airbags, Air Con, Full Electrics, Alloy wheels, Electronic Climate control, All mod cons such as inside/outside air temp sensor, Hydro-Electric speed sensitive power steering, AND a cup holder!

We paid 4,500 (after Part Ex) and you get a 60,000 mile/3 Year warranty and THE best after sales service I have ever had, Last week the pipe on the rear windscreen washer came dislodged and pumped a tiny bit of water into the boot. We rang Seat service at 18:00 on a Saturday evening and someone was at our house, repairing it AND putting a new boot carpet in (not that it was damaged but just as a good will gesture) by 20:30.

Getting about 44mpg with the 1.4 Petrol AND its group 3 insurance!

Doesn't rattle or squeak at all. Truly solid car.

I'm thinking of getting a Leon Cupra myself.


20th May 2005, 08:23

I will look out for you in the car park (depending upon which base you are at)

20th May 2005, 08:42
Have to agree with +'ve ROC.

Mk 4 Golf GT TDi.

Put a chip in it and you get 175bhp and still does average 45mpg!

If you want one, let me know, cos i need something bigger!!

20th May 2005, 08:48
If you like the Golf, and feel it's a bit over priced, do not forget that Seat and Audi are VW underneath; and I think now Skoda too (although you have to draw the line somewhere!:ok: )

In my cirle of friends there is a Seat TDi and a Golf TDi; (my friends own them - not that I have cars as friends) not sure of the exact model numbers, but they are the same running gear underneath, and the Seat is cheaper on insurance, and was cheaper to buy! (Pissed my VW matey off a bit!)

Maude Charlee
20th May 2005, 08:49
Want a Golf but think they're too expensive? Clever chap. Go buy a Skoda Octavia then. Same car, different badge. Well, I say same car. It's actually much bigger,far more practical, with a cavernous boot, more legroom front and back and for about 80% of the price. Same engines, so expect bombproof reliability and economy. New model Octavia is much much smarter than the old model, and in top spec it is well up to the job in your request for a degree of comfort. Much more standard equipment than the Golf and the dealers are generally miles better too. Golfs are for pretentious snobs, and dribbling morons with more money than sense.

If that's too rich for your pocket, get the Fabia vRS. 130bhp diesel engine (same as the Golf GTTdi), a hoot to drive, and still 50mpg or better. It'll even chew up the new Mini Cooper and spit it out in disgust.


20th May 2005, 08:51
Skoda are making the best value for money cars that I can see round here. I, on the other hand, bought my SAAB cheaply many years ago and have never been able to bring myself to part with it. It is a bit juicy but never lets me down. It gets one service a year and that's about it. I've done a hundred thousand in it and have only ever had to change a coil block, tyres and exhaust. Break pads are due.

20th May 2005, 09:06
OK, it's the car you'd get for Mum or Granny, but if you want reliability, easy re-sale, decent MPG and you're not 6'7", then why not?

About 3000-4000 for one with full SH - and you could confidently run it for 10 years IMHO.

20th May 2005, 09:16
Agree with M C and Effortless on the Skoda - the new one is a very nice motor, and the engine is good. They regularly come top of the JD Power survey for customer satisfaction, and are reliable - which is more than you can say for a VW Golf or Passat. I have no personal axe to grind with VW, but from the experience of many friends who run both, the build quality is simply cack and things go wrong - the really weird thing is that they continue to buy them, despite all the vicious complaints.

Your other option is to go Japanese. Some of the Jap diesel engines are very old tech, but the Toyota D4D engine is a cracker. My pick, though would be a Honda Accord with the new diesel - the first one they have built, and it's a super engine. I had a drive in one last weekend, the car looks well, is comfortable, handles on rails, and the engine is both very refined for a diesel and grunty. Not cheap, but it will hold its resale very well.

20th May 2005, 09:24
SEconding the Skoda option.
Been driving them for 8 years now, never a prob and dead-cheap. :ok:

as cheap as cars get in Norway that is, could probably buy a Ferrari in Italy for the price of my Octavia... :(

20th May 2005, 10:04
SEconding the Skoda option.

And you get leg room, in the back as well as the front. This is not to be sneezed at.

20th May 2005, 10:13
Modern diesels are excellent, but only make economic sense if you do a huge annual mileage, and keep the vehicle for several years.

Japanese cars are still amongst the most reliable. We ran a Toyota for over ten years, and it never missed a beat. Apart from routine servicing, all we replaced were brake pads and tyres (twice).

Finally parted with it after 160,000 miles/10 years, still with the original clutch, exhaust and battery.

20th May 2005, 10:25
Thanks for your input, everyone. I do agree that the Seat/Skoda option is much more attractive than the VW/Audi. Honda Accord is a lovely car (I have a Legend), but overpriced. Still tempted with a Citroen though. www.drivethedeal.com have citroen C2 Hdi at 7486.89 or a C3 Hdi at 7783.53 which takes some beating. By comparrison, the cheapest Seat Ibiza diesel is 8455.70 whilst the Skoda Fabia diesel comes in at 7918.51.

20th May 2005, 10:38

Thanks for the offer, but much too old and likely to be uneconomical."

No problem, BUT as far as being uneconomical.....Well, not really! It does 30-35 mpg on unleaded petrol. If you take into account that you will probably spend at least 5-8000 pounds more to buy a new small car, you have to drive a very large mileage to recoup the savings made from obtaining a few more mpg. Coupled with that, BMWs don't often have faults because they are built to a quality rather than down to a price. We also run two Ford Fiestas, one a diesel van and one a petrol hatchback. Both of them have cost me more to run because the quality of the original parts isn't so good and I have had to constantly replace parts. Thankfully, I usually do that myself on all my cars.

And, despite the low opinion that some have about BMW drivers, once you have owned a Beemer, if you later buy something else - you are only ever "between BMWs" because of the way they drive.

Finally, the real cost of running a car these days occurs when you sell it on, i.e. the cost of depreciation. During my ownership, this Beemer has depreciated just 1800 per year.

The mpg is a small part in the equation when it comes to the economics of car ownership. :ok:

20th May 2005, 10:52
Having seen that advert, I should modify my previous statement to say 5-8000 pounds more to buy a DECENT new small car.. ;)

Echo Zulu Yankee
20th May 2005, 11:02
10002 Level,

Don't beleive the list prices on the Ibiza's. At your dealer you won't pay over 7000 for a new plate model with all the toys and no more than delivery miles.

Its the dealers that make Seat.

On the other hand Skoda Fabia's are much the same (as mentioned) but I found the dealers were alot less willing to be flexible on price.


20th May 2005, 11:10
Don't want to be too controversial here, but have a lookat all the research, if you want relaible, then don't buy German, not sure how that applies to VW engined Seats and Skodas though.

Japanese cars are consistently scoring highest for reliability. All that said the head doesn't always rule the heart, we,ve just bought an Audi, and a diesel not just for economy, but because of the way it drives. I also drive an oldish Saab 9-3, it's not the most reliable car in the world, and when it goes wrong it tends to empty your wallet, but the smile it puts in your face when that turbo does it's bit, is worth every penny !


20th May 2005, 11:33
Can I put in a word on behalf of the Ford Mondeo? Never ever ever buy a new one, but getting one that is just a few months old is a real bargain due to its initial depreciation. I'm on my fourth and they have been reliable, they offer plenty of space, a cavernous boot and despite the reps car image, are a good drive as well. (Don't take my word for it, they always score highly in the motoring magazines that people leave lying around at work...)

I'm told the diesels are a good option though I've stuck to petrol models. Got the latest one a week ago - a Zetec model pre-registered last autumn with 40 miles on the clock for a little over 11500, 6000 les than a brand new one.

Personally, I wouldn't be seen dead in an over-priced BMW, Merc, VW, Audi. The Mondeo does the job just as well, in just as much comfort, just as safely and more reliably for a fraction of the cost :ok:

BTW, I quite like the Skodas as well but has anyone noticed that every taxi now seems to be a Skoda? Or is it just where I live?

B.L.G Bob
20th May 2005, 12:40
I would lean myself towards Toyota. I am currently running around in an 6 year old 1.6 Avensis with 73000 miles on the clock, have been using it since new and not a thing gone wrong with it. If you really want to go cheap get your hands on a second hand Toyota Carina E. I was talking to a mechanic who was selling one. He explained that owners were not selling them because they were about to fall to bits , but because they were sick looking at them.

Have to second the Skoda/Seat suggestions. I think the latest version of the wee Mitsubishi Colt looks the part. I would not buy a new car. I would buy one about a year old. Let some else take on the bulk of the depreciation. Anyway with the price of fuel, small cars may become more popular.

Happy motoring

B.L.G Bob

Curious Pax
20th May 2005, 13:02
Not quite in the category you are looking at, but I can back up the comments about the Japanese cars if you are looking for reliability, in particular Honda. Had my (petrol) Accord for nearly 3.5 years, clocked 63k miles, and not a problem yet.

I know it shouldn't be a problem these days anyway, but turning the key and it starting immediately and smoothly having sat parked for 3 weeks whilst I was on holiday impressed me.

20th May 2005, 13:29
I quite like the Skodas as well but has anyone noticed that every taxi now seems to be a Skoda? Or is it just where I live?

Same round here, I guess that tells us something.

20th May 2005, 15:06
Yer humble Corolla, age immaterial. Never wears out.

I was in a Corolla taxi some while back, and asked the driver,
"Ish that really four hunnered and fffifty thousand miles on the clock"

(One only takes taxis when inebriated. Hence the lack of surprise when given two euros change from fifty, followed by impotent rage once sober)

"Nah" said the driver, "That's kilometres. Barely run in, it is"

Maude Charlee
21st May 2005, 12:16
I do believe I have unearthed the Secret Skoda Lovers' Society. :D

Avoid Skoda taxis. They tend to be the crappy SDi version. Get yourself the TDi if you must have a diesel. Oh, and if you want a ridiculously enormous car for peanuts, how about the Skoda Superb? It's just a giant Passat.

21st May 2005, 12:26
May I just put in a word for factoring a value to purchasing a vehicle which supports your local economy and creates jobs which ultimately support you. It doesn't have to be overriding of all other factors, just a consideration.

21st May 2005, 13:01
I've had a couple of small Turbo Diesel Vauxhalls and they've been fantastic, how about a recent TD Corsa??

IMO quite nice looking for a hatch too:ok:

21st May 2005, 13:38
Honda Jazz.

Japanese: reliable

Boot: like a Tardis

Economy: 48 mpg no problem, over 50 on a motorway haul

Spec: a/c, ESR, EW, PS, CD.

Surprisingly nippy AND torquey, from only a 1.4i.

Managed to get our local dealership down to just over seven and a half grand on an '02 plate.

The best car I've ever owned (although it's actually the wife's).:ok:

21st May 2005, 19:10
VW Passat TDi. Very reliable, good economy, you can pick up high mileage rep cars pretty cheap, plut the estate can take anything you want to chuck in the back.

Handles abuse admirably!


High Wing Drifter
22nd May 2005, 06:52

I am in the same state of mind as you. I am replacing my BMW Coupe for a Punto and I will be saving packet in the process. The Bimmer has been a fantastic car. They are better than Mondeo man will admit to, but not as reliable as legend has it.

FWIW, the most reliable and cheapest car I ever owned was my Cinquecento Sporting. Basic, to the point, quick and cheap.

22nd May 2005, 09:25
Interesting (and timely) article in The Sunday Times "Who's laughing now? The day of the diesel is here"


22nd May 2005, 09:33
I'd be tempted to buy an original mini for a few hundred pounds, get the engine re-built if required, put in a couple of decent seats and away we go.

16 blades
22nd May 2005, 09:49
Spend about 2000 on a secondhand Renault Clio 1.9D. Quiet, comfortable (seats are like armchairs), reliable (3 years and over 300,000 miles on the clock without a single problem), economical - 45-50 mpg around town, up to 70 mpg on the motorway, enough poke to keep up with normal cars. If it's just for transporting you + nightstop kit, it's perfectly adequate.


High Wing Drifter
22nd May 2005, 09:49
According to my experience, the real MPG and the actual MPG with the new common rail diesels is quite different. In the order of 10-12mpg in the two 1 Series that I borrowed.

22nd May 2005, 10:00

May I just put in a word for factoring a value to purchasing a vehicle which supports your local economy and creates jobs which ultimately support you. It doesn't have to be overriding of all other factors, just a consideration.

Quite right but it must be a bit hard if you live in the US. :p I'm just off to the Bristol Cars (http://www.bristolcars.co.uk/index2.htm) showroom. Time to ditch the TVR for something with a boot. Booze cruises doncherno?

22nd May 2005, 10:21
I have a Vauxhall Corsa 1.0L 3 cyclinder model. Does 61MPG and cruises easily at 70 - 80 MPH

Group 1 insurance aswell.....comfortable aswell.....mines been up to Fort William in Scotland and across to Bruges in Belgium.

Brilliant car!!

Another option - more expensive is the New Diesel Jag X-type Diesel - does more to the gallon than the Corsa - 62mpg

Good Luck - and if your over 21, they are doing free insurance at the moment with Vauxhall!

14th Jun 2005, 10:05
I think I have found the answer to the question.

LOOK HERE (http://www.citroen.co.uk/level4/technicalSpecification.asp?pagetype=c1&style=&infoID=13)

At the moment the dealers are asking for list price, but give it a couple of months I am sure that the car will be discounted by around 20%. The diesel's economy is:

Urban cycle 53.3
Extra Urban 83.1
Combined 68.9

I have had a look at the car and it is really cute too!

Send Clowns
14th Jun 2005, 12:00
Second-hand Rovers are dirt cheap for what you get, especially now, very economical to repair and the 2.0 diesels are cheap to run and very reliable. At the time mine was built (mid 90s) it was considered by many to be the best diesel engine around. Go for the TDi, at 105 bhp, although for a bit more it can be chipped to 135 bhp if you want the poke. My 400 has alloys and all-round discs and the handling is great for the age of car. Newer I'd go MG for even better handling though.

Never buy a VW or Audi unless you just want to pay for a badge. Skodias are the same underneath, and apparently statistically more reliable. That would probably be my second choice after the Rover. Mmmmmm, apart from a Honda, perhaps.

14th Jun 2005, 17:31
Skoda Octavia, cheap and reliable.. cant beat a Skoda, used ti have a Felicia Estate, 175000 miles before I sold it.....


14th Jun 2005, 20:30
At the moment the dealers are asking for list price, but give it a couple of months I am sure that the car will be discounted by around 20%.

I suggest you may have to wait longer than a couple of months for a decent discount on a new Citroen C1 - UK dealers are getting just 10 cars each this year!

The almost identical Toyota Aygo, and Peugeot 107, are also expected to be in short supply.

14th Jun 2005, 22:16

Even if I were to share your negative view of the "US" manufacturers, I could buy a Toyota, Honda or BMW, all of which manufacture some models in the USA.