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Buying advice for a first car


billy2shots
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Looking to buy a small hatch for the Mrs to learn to drive in then have as her first car. We have two kids, 1 and 3 so for practicality it must be a 5 door hatchback (I know Tipex, but it has to be 5 door).

Needs to be small but not as small as Aygo etc, obviously running costs need to be low so have been looking up to 1.4 engines. The car needs to be reliable and safe but also learner friendly.

Budget is up to £6k max on the road which for the cars I'm looking at gets 2007-2009 models.

So far my I have looked at

New shape Corsa 1.2 and 1.4 (design and sxi spec)

Last gen VW Polo 1.2 and 1.4 mk7 is it? I can't keep up.

Toyota Yaris (have now ruled this out as their clutch are a thing of wonder)

Cars also on the short list but I haven't looked at yet

New style Fiesta ( can just afford this)

Mazda2

What are people's opinions on the above and have I missed something.

No Korean suggestions thanks.

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Having the extra doors isn't necessary, but does make things easier, the mrs has a Prius now which is perfect for us with 3 kids.

I would suggest one, but being auto means she wouldn't pass her manual test.

Shame as you won't buy a more reliable car, very cheap to run too, you won't get the claimed MPG but a tenner a year to tax, and brake pads etc are cheap, and last forever.

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We have a Fiesta (2010) and it is a great little car. Full of equipment, nimble to drive, comfortable, 42mpg, etc, etc. We've had it from new and not had a single issue - it'll fall to pieces now I've said that out loud!

The other car we considered when purchasing it was the Honda Jazz.

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We have a Fiesta (2010) and it is a great little car. Full of equipment, nimble to drive, comfortable, 42mpg, etc, etc. We've had it from new and not had a single issue - it'll fall to pieces now I've said that out loud!

The other car we considered when purchasing it was the Honda Jazz.

Jazz was a contender (my first wife had one) I think they are good cars but the mrs thinks they are too fuddy duddy for her.

I have considered everything and it really is down to the cars on my shortlist. I have been looking for a couple of weeks now and my god there is so much crap out there. Prices seem crazy to. Anything within 60 miles of me (Bournemouth) seem to be far more expensive than cars further North.

So the slightly shorter shortlist is

Corsa 06-08 1.2 and 1.4's

Polo same as above for year and engine size.

Fiesta 2008-

Mazda2 2007-

Thoughts on these?

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We had a similar shortlist and went for the Fiesta after test driving a few different cars. We test drove the Jazz and the Fiesta within a few days of one another and the driving experiences really were chalk and cheese. After the VXR8 and a dose of Vauxhall customer services I wouldn't touch another one of their cars so couldn't comment on the Corsa. The Fiesta drove better than the Polo and was better specced for the money so in the end it was an easy choice.

Arrange some test drives for the same day and then decide once you've had a go in everything +++

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If you go for the Corsa (I wouldn't personally) don't bother with the 1.4 as i'm sure Mook will attest, the real world performance is exactly the same as the 1.2 the only difference being the 1.4 uses more fuel.

Fiesta is a cracking car, ignore the Ford haters, they haven't got a clue what they are talking about.

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Fiesta is a cracking car, ignore the Ford haters, they haven't got a clue what they are talking about.

We have had a 57 plate fiesta from new, great little car, no problems with it at all. It's the dealers that mean we are unlikely to ever buy another one.

Not a problem now ours is out of warranty but having to interact with any of the local dealerships (we have tried them all) was painful. They have been without exception, rude and difficult to deal with, on every occasion we have come into contact with them.

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We have Corsa and Fiesta in the family. Corsa 1.3 TDi (95hp) and Fiesta is a 1.2 zetec and I cant fault either of them. If I were buying as just a town car I'd have the Fiesta as it feels slightly nippier and handles a bit better around our road system. IF it were longer trips I'd take the corsa because its economy is excellent and I actually think it feels like you're driving a bigger car, ride is smoother / more comfortable over distance.

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I know you've said 5 doors, but....

My wife finds a 3 door car massively easier (particularly when the kids were in proper car seats) and has always hated my 5 door hatches, it is a lot easier in a 3 door with tilt and slide seats to get in, stand in front of the kids and strap them tightly into the seats. In a 5 door you're trying to do it all at an angle, in particular with smaller hatches the space isn't so great and it can be slightly awkward getting at them to tighten it all up. Just my tuppence +++

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I am going to sound slightly mad so please feel free to flame me.

Toyota Aygo/C1/Pug

I know they are tiny little things and I would need to spend a little time in one to see if we could live with the minute space.

This will be our second car, we have access to larger faster cars when required. This car will be used to ferry a couple of small kids 2-5 mile journeys all in town. £20 a year tax and great on fuel.

Budget will get us a 2 year old main dealer car rather than a 6 year old car.

Obviously need to spend time in one to try for size but is it an option or am I being daft?

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Depends if you think she can cope without a boot really, most buggies won't fit and if she's got some shopping to, forget it.

They are probably fine if you only have one child, but with two, the child seats will use the entire rear bench.

I'm not sure how big the boot is in them but the wifes got an Arosa which has just about the smallest boot i've ever seen and she managed to get a double buggy in it (just), and before/after the need for the double we got our travel system style push chair into it. If it's just around town and just two kids then i'd say it's doable if she's not doing any major shops.

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