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Thread: Used small car - advice/opinions

  1. #1
    Master
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    Used small car - advice/opinions

    Hi

    Time has come to sell/get rid of the old 5 series and buy something smaller, newer, more economical etc.

    Also, our daughter will start to drive soon so I have to keep that in mind as whatever we buy will ultimately be the car that she uses. Other uses will be school run; local shopping; kids activities and the occasional blast down the motorway.

    Not looking to spend more than £2.5 - £3k as the BMW will not yield much and this will be a run around.

    Initial thoughts are something in the Fiat 500 range - mainly as my brother bought one for his daughter and they are different to the VW Polo which was the original thinking. Seem to be able to get a decent 500 in that budget. Needs to be reliable; cheap to run; cheap to insure for a 17 year old; be reasonably well-equipped; seat 4 (at a push). Ideally not liable to the LEZ charge in London.

    For those that have been down this road, do things like sunroofs; part convertibles etc make a difference when it comes to insurance for youngsters??

    Advice and guidance gratefully accepted.

  2. #2
    Don't forget the Panda is basically the same under the skin as the 500 but noticeably less expensive.

    The VW up!/Skoda Citigo/Seat Mii are excellent little cars. Absolutely love our lad's one, a real hoot to drive.

    Standard equipment is usually ok insurance wise, extras and accessories push it up, so better off getting the model with alloys as standard rather than buying a lower spec and adding them

  3. #3
    I recently bought a fiat 500 for the oldest daughter-only because she wouldnít have anything else and had her heart set on one
    But ....they are rubbish
    Iíd go for a polo or similar

  4. #4
    Master
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    Toyota Yaris..... 👍👍

  5. #5
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    We had a 500 in the workshop on a Saturday morning. Servicing and a (Dutch version of the) MoT to a neighbour's 500. Passenger's door handle came off when we checked the door locks working properly! As we found out, a common problem...

    I have an Up. Now for the 5th year. Never missed a beat. And the new style (now 2 yrs on the market?) even has a more plush interior, but these aren't cheap. Best chance is a 2014-ish car. My oldest has a driver's license now and it's the car he's allowed to use (under strict rules, I may add... but that's another topic)

    Menno

  6. #6
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    We had a 500 in the workshop on a Saturday morning. Servicing and a (Dutch version of the) MoT to a neighbour's 500. Passenger's door handle came off when we checked the door locks working properly! As we found out, a common problem...

    I have an Up. Now for the 5th year. Never missed a beat. And the new style (now 2 yrs on the market?) even has a more plush interior, but these aren't cheap. Best chance is a 2014-ish car. My oldest has a driver's license now and it's the car he's allowed to use (under strict rules, I may add... but that's another topic)

    Menno
    Door lock is very common!
    Also phone losing sync with the Bluetooth, rear wheel bearings, heater flap motors - which is expensive.

    To be honest though, they aren't that bad.

    Personally, I'd go Japanese or Korean but then, I'm not a young girl!

  7. #7
    Master
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    Great advice chaps! That is exactly the kind of thing I was after - e.g. what typically goes wrong, what falls off etc. I think the advice to go Japanese/Korean/German is probably the way to go. To be honest, when I told the kids we were thinking of a 500 they weren't that impressed!

    Within the others mentioned - Yaris; Up etc - which models are worth looking at??

  8. #8
    Craftsman
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    Fiat 500 is great for a young girl, so long as she doesn’t need to go up any inclines.

  9. #9
    Master
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    We bought a VW Up two and a half years ago as our town car and general runabout.

    We wanted a fairly basic car so went for the 60bhp Move Up which gave us the aircon and phone connectivity we need.

    Only thing I would have changed would be that I would have preferred steel wheels rather than the multi spoke alloys. They are a bugger to clean!

    Itís great to drive, very easy to park and hasnít missed a beat.

  10. #10
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    The newest Honda Civic or jazz in budget

  11. #11
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Checking an old(er) Up:

    • Demisting problems due to leakage under the scuttle. Wet floor mats are a give-away. Later versions (like my MY14) don't have those problems
    • Demister itself isn't great. worth checking the airco: maintenance and refill.
    • Sliding sun roof: some are hard to close: they open up again. A good clean of the gutters and greasing helps
    • Disk brakes: older models can suffer from vibration under braking. A new set of disks are cheap as chips. (As are most parts!)
    • Gearbox: needs to be topped up properly: the factory was skimpy with the oil level.
    • Satnav is properly good, updates (online) have always puzzled me and I've never understood how that works. And they cost money.
    • Basically, the 60 hp and the 75 hp are the same. Only difference is the CPU's software. You can get a 75 hp software update for 150 euros.
    • Walk away from the auto'boxes. Irritating stuff.
    • Not fast when you enter the motorway. In fact, dead slow even in 75 hp form.


    ... however, when you're properly set on the motorway with the cruise control on, the Up gives you the feeling that you're driving a car that's much larger. That's really an achievement from VW!

    In towns, the Up is unbeatable. Weekly shopping is no problem with the rear seats down. Plenty of space for 4 or even more folding cradles.
    Last edited by thieuster; 17th September 2019 at 21:56.

  12. #12
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    Honda Jazz would be a good choice, though they are not particularly cheap so you wouldnít get much newer than a 2010 reg in budget.


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  13. #13
    Master
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    Iíll second the Jazz suggestion. We have had two in our household. A 55 Plate first and then we bought a new one on a 14 plate. Both were 100% reliable. And for a small car there is loads of room inside. A proper tardis.

  14. #14
    Grand Master Velorum's Avatar
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    I bought Mrs V a Jazz the other week

    Ive never considered one before but its what she wanted - its a first generation so quite old (o3) but only 55K on the clock and one owner from new

    Cheap as chips but looks very presentable

    Having driven it myself quite a few times now I am seriously impressed, very smooth and it feels like your driving a much bigger car

    The rear seats / storage design is superb

    Im thinking of getting one myself - there are loads about sub £2K

  15. #15
    Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    The Jazz is a good call.

    If it's good enough for Hannibal Smith - who let's not forget was always 'on the Jazz' (if not exactly sitting in it) when exacting social justice - it'll be fine for the averagely proportioned TZer.

  16. #16
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    Another Jazz recommendation. We have an 55 reg as a second car. Drives really well, huge amount of space in the back, I'm using it as a portable skip at the moment. Cheap to run and maintain. Only issue I've really had was with hand break, which was a problem on early models. Tends to loosen, very easy to fix, but can re-occur.

  17. #17
    Master
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    I paid 4K for a 2015, 35k mile Kia Rio this summer.

    From a main dealer and 3 years left on the warranty.

    It's bloody brilliant, to the point where I sold my Cayman as I wasn't using it.

  18. #18
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    I'd also recommend the KIA Picanto, Rio or Cee'd, we've had a Cee'd for 8 years from new and it's never let us down, had a few warranty repairs but nothing major and flies through each MOT with annoying regularity. Don't forget the Hyundai alternatives, slightly different warranty structure is the main difference (7 year / 100k miles KIA, 5 year / unltd miles Hyundai)

    My FiL swears by Nissan Micras he ran an old 'snail' shape one for 10 years until it was written off in an accident. He then bought a Clio which he hated eventually buying my mothers newer micra when she passed away which now passes it's MOT every year with flying colours.

    I didn't have much luck with a Honda so can't recommend one but it was a diesel accord which are regarded as not their finest hour so a petrol jazz may be better.

    If you want reliable though, Toyota is the one to go for (on average, i'm sure they make Friday afternoon cars too, just less of them) I've had a few and never had much go wrong with them, unlike ALL the European cars I've had. I'd avoid the Aygo though as it's a Citroen under the skin, Yaris is a Mazda so good...

  19. #19
    I've had a early Jazz and a Yaris (both 04 plates funnily enough) and were brilliant run abouts...both 1.3 so decent pull, ultra reliable and cheap to run...the yaris in particular was a hoot and cracking engine even on the motorway....wife recently bought a new Kia Picanto and I'm very impressed, if the earlier ones are similar they'd be worth a look too

  20. #20
    Jazz has ZERO cred for a girl of that age!

    VW UP is a good car - looks different - has "badge appeal" and low insurance

    Fiat 500 - no way - electrics, all sorts of issues

    a mini is a decent bet if looked ater prev

  21. #21
    Iíd avoid Italian cars like the plague tbh - Iíve test driven an Up! and even at 6í2íí and 17 stone I still had loads of room - very impressive. And as others have said, fold the back 2 seats and you have an excellent sized boot too


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  22. #22
    Grand Master Velorum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerrudd View Post
    Another Jazz recommendation. We have an 55 reg as a second car. Drives really well, huge amount of space in the back, I'm using it as a portable skip at the moment. Cheap to run and maintain. Only issue I've really had was with hand break, which was a problem on early models. Tends to loosen, very easy to fix, but can re-occur.
    55K, FSH, 12m MOT, newly serviced £1300 after some negotiation. Can be had cheaper privately of course.

    Mrs V loves it


  23. #23
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweepinghand View Post
    Jazz has ZERO cred for a girl of that age!

    VW UP is a good car - looks different - has "badge appeal" and low insurance

    Fiat 500 - no way - electrics, all sorts of issues

    a mini is a decent bet if looked ater prev
    And there in lies the problem. My first car was a burgundy mini that cost me £70. It was a right shed, but it was independence so in my eyes it was great. If you have the means to spoil your kid (Iím not talking about you in particular mind) then great but if a kid is so up themselves that they wonít drive a car because it doesnít have street cred, then let them walk.

  24. #24
    Master Filterlab's Avatar
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    Jazz.

    My 18 year old niece has one; easy to insure, loads of spec, pennies to run and never breaks down.

  25. #25
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velorum View Post
    55K, FSH, 12m MOT, newly serviced £1300 after some negotiation. Can be had cheaper privately of course.

    Mrs V loves it

    Great wee cars but nobody under 70 should be required to drive one.
    That's for when you have cashed in your chips.

    Golf in the background with old GTI alloys has some street cred though

  26. #26
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    I raved about my Up but as a CR-V owner as well, I can support the idea of a Honda as well. We do our own maintenance on the cars, but the Honda is the one that -apart from the recommended jobs- never needs any further attention.

    Is Suzuki a big name in the UK? Here it has its ups and downs: Vitaras and Jimny's are popular, but their other small cars, like the Swift, aren't. Which is a shame because they're as bomb-proof as a Jazz! Swifts are considered OAPs' cars. But with the right colour like bright red, three doors and tinted rear windows it doesn't look bad!



    Menno
    Last edited by thieuster; 18th September 2019 at 19:15.

  27. #27


    What youngster could resist?

  28. #28
    Grand Master Velorum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hood View Post
    Great wee cars but nobody under 70 should be required to drive one.
    That's for when you have cashed in your chips.
    Au contraire, Mrs V isn't yet 60 and prefers it to the MX5 MK3 that preceded it.

    Also - I will often drive it instead of the CRV. In fact I am seriously considering chopping this in for one.

    I like the now fairly old MK1's as they are very basic with few frills.

  29. #29
    Master
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    And what will you be doing with the 5 series????

  30. #30
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    'Been through the younger driver thing with Stiglet jr Mk3 over the last few years. First one was a Suzuki Swift Sport which was surprisingly OK to insure despite name..... roll on a couple of years and 2 normally aspirated Imprezas another Swift and (of course) an MX5 later and he's just bought a VW Golf. His older brother has a brand new Polo GTi. My niece has a Polo . My Dad also. So VW has my vote.

    NB Stiglet jr and I are handy(ish) with a spanner. We've worked on all his cars and my BMW tow car. Wisdom gained is that Japanese cars over 9 years old are not a pleasure to work on if they've been exposed to 8+ Scottish winters. Jobs that look fine on the tube of yous can be a real pain if every single nut and bolt is rusted solid.

  31. #31
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by tixntox View Post
    And what will you be doing with the 5 series????
    Probably WBAC - had a quote from them to get things going.

    Wow - lots of insight on here and some thinking to do.

    There is no way that my kids will get any input in terms of brand, colour etc. I started with an orange Datsun Cherry 100... To be fair to them, they're not that way inclined as they know the other option is that they pay themselves.

    I'll have to do a bit of research now on some of the ideas mentioned here.

    Are they all much of a muchness when it comes to insurance? (E.g. 500; Yaris; Up!; Polo; Kia; Jazz etc....)

    I suppose another way to look at the whole, question is - what's the best small car for £2.5-£3k for a learner that can also be suitable for regular use by older drivers?

    Thanks. Some really interesting options being put forward.

  32. #32
    Master Rod's Avatar
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    Enoch's right, Toyota Yaris, also Honda Civic both reliable. Engines are sweet as a nut 😁

  33. #33
    Craftsman bdkelly72's Avatar
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    I second, third etc the Yaris.. as normal cars go the Japanese do it best in my opinion

    Sent from my LYA-L09 using TZ-UK mobile app

  34. #34
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    Easy, Clio diesel MK 3 or 4. My one passes the MOT with no faults every year and never breaks down and its a 2006 model lol....

  35. #35
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    Quick update - Mrs Bambam has vetoed the Fiat 500 for various reasons. She likes the look of the VW Up! so that is the current front-runner.

    She also prefers a 4 door version.

    Having a look around for a 4 door version, with low(ish) mileage and that isn't red or white (oh and not 200 miles away!).

    For those familiar with the Up! - are there different versions - in terms of trim, accessories etc.? If so, what are the differences and what's worth having and what's not so important? Am I right in thinking there are 2 bhp types?

    Thanks

  36. #36
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bambam View Post
    Quick update - Mrs Bambam has vetoed the Fiat 500 for various reasons. She likes the look of the VW Up! so that is the current front-runner.

    She also prefers a 4 door version.

    Having a look around for a 4 door version, with low(ish) mileage and that isn't red or white (oh and not 200 miles away!).

    For those familiar with the Up! - are there different versions - in terms of trim, accessories etc.? If so, what are the differences and what's worth having and what's not so important? Am I right in thinking there are 2 bhp types?

    Thanks
    If you are going to look at the Up! also look at the Citigo and Mii. They are essentially the same car. Donít get hung up on the badge on the bonnet.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by bambam View Post

    For those familiar with the Up! - are there different versions - in terms of trim, accessories etc.? If so, what are the differences and what's worth having and what's not so important? Am I right in thinking there are 2 bhp types?
    Regards trim, there are myriad variations, so what's worth having and what's not is going to be very much what you want from a car, some majoring on style and trim, some on the sound system, some on economy (though the consumption is very sensitive to how you drive it - I get literally double the mpg that my son does)

    Regards engines, yes there 2 bhp versions, 60bhp and 75bhp or thereabouts but you need to be careful.

    The two engines are identical, and the power difference is simply the software set up that effectively limits the maximum throttle opening on the lower power car. The two engines behave identically up to about 4800rpm after which the lower power car flattens off, whereas the more powerful car continues to build to the 6000rpm red line

    Dyno.JPG

    Whilst it sounds like a worthwhile power uplift, you only get the benefit when you're revving the nuts off of it. Checking the rev counter on ours shows that exceeding 4000rpm in everyday use is extremely rare, almost never, so the benefits of the higher power car would very rarely be realised. Torque tails off from 4400rpm on both versions, so there's a tendency to change gear before then to keep the car around peak torque, even when pressing on.

    Some owners of the higher power car say they bought it for more flexibility etc on the motorway, but unfortunately the truth is it would only give them a bit more if they were redlining it on the sliproad or always cruising at about 90mph+

    I'm not saying that the extra power would not on occasion be useful, but with there being far more 60bhp cars out there than 75bhp, I'd not use that as a key factor in selecting a car.
    Last edited by Gyp; 27th September 2019 at 08:09.

  38. #38
    Master
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    Gota a pre-reg Citigo for my wife a few months back. It's the 4 door and the Colour edition so has front fog lights, bigger alloys and privacy glass which makes it look almost sporty.
    £112 per month including 2 services. She loves it and I have to agree that it's quite fun to drive.

  39. #39
    Master
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    Thanks chaps. Good advice, specially around the bhp side of things.

    Must admit that I hadnít considered a lease deal before - @Cynar - is that for a 2 year deal??

    Current thinking is to move the BMW on and that will make us get a smaller car.

    Will definitely consider the Mii and Citigo too. Not bothered about the badge personally.

    Thanks

  40. #40
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gyp View Post
    Regards trim, there are myriad variations, so what's worth having and what's not is going to be very much what you want from a car, some majoring on style and trim, some on the sound system, some on economy (though the consumption is very sensitive to how you drive it - I get literally double the mpg that my son does)

    Regards engines, yes there 2 bhp versions, 60bhp and 75bhp or thereabouts but you need to be careful.

    The two engines are identical, and the power difference is simply the software set up that effectively limits the maximum throttle opening on the lower power car. The two engines behave identically up to about 4800rpm after which the lower power car flattens off, whereas the more powerful car continues to build to the 6000rpm red line

    Dyno.JPG

    Whilst it sounds like a worthwhile power uplift, you only get the benefit when you're revving the nuts off of it. Checking the rev counter on ours shows that exceeding 4000rpm in everyday use is extremely rare, almost never, so the benefits of the higher power car would very rarely be realised. Torque tails off from 4400rpm on both versions, so there's a tendency to change gear before then to keep the car around peak torque, even when pressing on.

    Some owners of the higher power car say they bought it for more flexibility etc on the motorway, but unfortunately the truth is it would only give them a bit more if they were redlining it on the sliproad or always cruising at about 90mph+

    I'm not saying that the extra power would not on occasion be useful, but with there being far more 60bhp cars out there than 75bhp, I'd not use that as a key factor in selecting a car.
    ... and a software update available at various VAG specialists cost about 150 euros here in Holland. Buy a 60 hp car and see if you want to have the upgrade when you own the car. Check when the airco had its last refill and check. Most Ups come with the bare minimum of airco fluid. A check and refill will set you back 80 euros here in Holland. I suppose UK prices are the same. Demisting the windshield isn't the Up's biggest 'fortť'... A proper working airco makes things a lot better.

  41. #41
    Master Ian_O's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gyp View Post
    Regards trim, there are myriad variations, .....
    This is indeed true. There is the :-
    Toss Up
    C*ck Up
    F*ck Up
    T*ts Up
    Balls Up

    For youngsters there is the
    Grow Up
    Nudge Up
    Get Up
    P*ss Up

    Thereís a Limited Edition only available in Northern England called the ĎEh Upí, a smokerís edition called the ĎRoll Upí and the most desirable and rare limited edition of all, the ĎUp Yoursí.

    Ian

  42. #42
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    No mention of Skoda Fabia?

    Hi

    May I suggest throwing the Skoda Fabia into any consideration - VW background (Polo equivalent) and good reliablity, not too big and good sized in the equivalent company, including 'younger colours'!. The Mi/Up etc. are the newer reincarnations.

    From recollection, Jazz not known for economy (Auto Express magazine)..............

    Auto Express is pretty reliable with findings in its reviews, including JD Power annual survey/listing of reliable preowned cars - well worth a looksee into on tinternet.

    L
    Last edited by Low-Key; 28th September 2019 at 15:31. Reason: Aadditional word/spelling correction

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by bambam View Post
    Thanks chaps. Good advice, specially around the bhp side of things.

    Must admit that I hadnít considered a lease deal before - @Cynar - is that for a 2 year deal??

    Current thinking is to move the BMW on and that will make us get a smaller car.

    Will definitely consider the Mii and Citigo too. Not bothered about the badge personally.

    Thanks

    Itís a 3year deal with only £700 upfront.

  44. #44
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    Depends on where you live because some of these models might not be available but the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and newer Kia's and Hyundai's. I personally have a Volkswagen Golf which has been pretty good. Also, you can buy cheap parts on page here. The reliability on the older ones are pretty spotty but newer Golf's and Jetta's are pretty reliable especially the TDI's. Can easily get to 300-400k's on a TDI
    Last edited by Derrils; 30th September 2019 at 07:46.

  45. #45
    Master
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    My eldest bought an up a year or so ago and loves it- just one issue, I need to replace the disks as they are warped but a pretty simple job

  46. #46
    Master
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    Whilst out driving today I saw lots of small cars as I was on the lookout for them. Just from an aesthetic perspective 'we' like the VW Up! / Citigi / Mii range.

    Taking a look on Autotrader and it seems you can get a bit more for your £ with a Citigo compared to the Up! There is one not far from us that I'm going to try and look at. Its 3 door and ideally we'd like 5, but its an all black type thing which looks really good.

    Is the insurance for youngsters pretty much the same regardless of the variant or does it actually make a difference? I think the insurance for me will be minuscule, but when it comes to my daughter I want to make sure we haven't bought anything that ups the premium unnecessarily.

    I think the Citigo (as an example) is a MPI edition and there are also some SE versions that seem well equipped.

  47. #47
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    What about this little snotter

    https://www.richmondmotorgroup.com/s...elerio/#offers

    Must be cheaper than getting the local bus even.

  48. #48
    We, ok I, paid £5,500 for a 6-month old Citigo SE demonstrator from a main dealer.

    Regards insurance, the key is to keep it standard. The ones with steel wheels and alloys will cost the same to insure, but the one with steels fitted with the alloys as a modification will be far more.

  49. #49
    Master
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    Any views or opinions on these two:

    https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classif...om=2000&page=1


    https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classif...=Manual&page=2

    Mrs Bambam and I looked at a couple of nearly new ones the other day as they were at dealers local to us, just to get an idea of what you get. Think we'd like something that has as many of the equipment items as possible. The Elegance models seem well equipped.

    Be interested to know if there is anything specific to look at in terms of work that should have been done at specific mileage/age.

    Thanks

  50. #50
    Both look fine esp with the rev counter which the cheaper spec models don't have.

    If you can stretch to a later facelift one which uses your phone for navigation in a dash top holder rather than the bespoke sat nav then that's worth considering. Despite having similar looking dash top fittings, the bits aren't interchangeable (unless you change a lot)

    The only ongoing niggle that I'm aware of is abysmal radio reception, likely because of water ingress into the roof top antenna.

    Hard to say price wise as all my costings are biased by us getting a low mileage few months old SE spec for £5,500 from a main dealer - still don't know I managed that.

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