- 9 December 2014 at 12:03 am #61129
I’d really like some car advice because i’m really clueless on what cars are out there, how things have changed in car tech and specs.
I want a small-ish car (roughly Golf size). That much I do know – no bigger than say an Audi A4 and no smaller than a Corsa as examples. I don’t really care what brand – happy to buy a second hand whatever, Merc, Skoda… whatever is a good car that meets my criteria. I have no real preference on diesel or petrol, I’ve driven both and both are fine.
The car is primarily and mostly for city, driving just a few miles at a time. A few times a year it’ll go on a 3 or 4 hour drive but not that often.
Right now I drive an 2001 Audi A3, 1.8 turbo (petrol) – she’s old but only 90k miles, no real troubles or big costs, reliable and nice to drive in both city and motorway however, I want to change soon because my wife will soon be passing her test and the clutch is very heavy and well, how much longer will she have no problems! Also, tax disc is £260ish a year and she seems expensive on petrol for city driving.
What I hate is the smaller engines on motorway journeys so when you’re doing 70mph your revs are at about 3500, should you accidently hit 80mph you’re over 4000 and it’s eating fuel. Are there smaller cars with smaller engines that have 6 gears? (Girl question but honestly, I have no idea about engines). What I’m getting at is, can you buy city focussed cars that aren’t petrol killers on the motorway – I don’t mind giving up on the power/torque/acceleration.
So is the car for what I want above or is the answer that you either buy for city or your buy for motorway?
Any info / advice is greatly appreciated.
- 10 December 2014 at 12:23 am #61211
Hi Tobz. If you like your A3, then a newer version of that car will be very good. The newer cars nearly all have 6-speed manuals, which improves both performance and economy. Many are also diesel models, which will give you better economy and still maintain impressive motorway performance.
Other than the Audi, there are many other cars that fill a very similar size/performance bubble. Cars like the Volkswagen Golf, Peugeot 308, BMW 1-series, Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus, Alfa Romeo Giulietta and so on are all very good alternatives. A larger and/or higher performance engine is probably a good idea if you find your current car struggles for motorway performance but they’ll probably still return better economy than you get now on your current car.
- 11 December 2014 at 9:58 pm #61228
Thanks for taking the time to reply Stuart, this is really good to know. I had no idea most had 6 speed gearboxes – really surprising for me on the smaller cars, I thought this would just be the bigger cars and vans.
In terms of manual vs automatic – what should I consider, do they tend to be more expesive on maintenance/services or is this just the old days? Do the smaller cars more commonly come with them where previously just the bigger ones? Are they better economically? I like changing gear manually but my wife is Canadian and used to automatic so I’m torn what to get.
Finally, is there an online guide to determine the road tax cost of cars I look at? This would be good to know before committing to buying something.
Many thanks again
- 12 December 2014 at 2:33 am #61247
Autos are still more expensive to buy, but running costs are now virtually identical. Performance and economy are usually directly comparable with a manual, although plenty of people still swear by a manual. Again, newer cars have more gears – some Audis & VWs have a 7-speed auto gearbox.
You can look up the road tax of any used car based on its registration – just go to https://www.vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk/