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Old 23rd Apr 2016, 16:04   #1
wuyanxu
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Which small, reliable, automatic 5 door car?

With our Fiat Panda's automated manual gearbox occasionally throw a hissy fit, we've decided to get rid of it before it gets expensive.

So my wife is looking for a small, automatic 5 door car. It as to be reliable where the car won't stop working in the middle of the road. Has to be cheap to insure for a just-passed driver. We would plan to keep the car for as long as possible, I'm thinking 8000 is reasonable for a 3 year old city car.

There seems to be many types of automatic transmission. It seems the automated manuals are the cheapest, least reliable version and the one to avoid. Ideally she'll want one that creeps forward when lift off the brakes.

Not in a hurry to buy at the moment, just looking for car models to look out for, or to avoid.

How about Toyota Yaris hybrid? It uses power train similar to Prius, so should be ultra reliable?
Wife also likes idea of driving a Mini, how are their automatic versions? Are they as good as 3 series autos?
Nissan Micro CVT? or Honda Jazz CVT?

Your input is much appreciated.
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Old 24th Apr 2016, 19:44   #2
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Jazz CVT.

Avoid the single-clutch manuals as they are, without exception, crap.

My Mum's just bought a new BINI with the auto box and it's fantastic, but it is a proper slushbox (and also about 10k over budget!).

Yaris-H is good for the congestion charge etc, but heavily compromises boot space.
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Old 24th Apr 2016, 20:52   #3
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VW Polo DSG might be an option, although a 8k budget might mean a slightly older model, failing that a Skoda Fabia could fit the bill.

Avoid the ASG based VW Up! or equivalent Skoda Citigo.
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Old 25th Apr 2016, 09:42   #4
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Is there a website where I can look up the car's servicing requirements over its life time? eg. whether the car has timing chain or belt, and when it needs changing, when does the transmission oil need changing. Vital information like that when looking at car's service history.


Jazz CVT are mentioned a lot of places, Honest John seems to love them. Does the CVT gearbox (Jazz and Micra) require any sort of maintenance I need to take note when looking at service history?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Krikkit View Post
Jazz CVT.

Avoid the single-clutch manuals as they are, without exception, crap.

My Mum's just bought a new BINI with the auto box and it's fantastic, but it is a proper slushbox (and also about 10k over budget!).

Yaris-H is good for the congestion charge etc, but heavily compromises boot space.
So the MINI has a traditional automatic, is it not as good as the famed 3 series? Wife likes the look of Mini's.

Yes, we just got rid of a single-clutch manual, so unreliable, a few times required middle of the road restart!

Yaris-H is on my list because it uses Prius power train. I've heard Taxi drivers love it and it can take huge amount of abuse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spreadie View Post
VW Polo DSG might be an option, although a 8k budget might mean a slightly older model, failing that a Skoda Fabia could fit the bill.

Avoid the ASG based VW Up! or equivalent Skoda Citigo.
Thanks, VAG Polo and the likes added to my list. Also perhaps Ford Fiasta Powershift? Another dual-clutch box.

Any things I need to look out for when looking at dual-clutch transmissions?
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Old 25th Apr 2016, 13:29   #5
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Smart Forfour. Surprising amount of space for a small car, nearly traded my daily commuter in for one but held out due to negative equity on my car.

Automatic is 995 option and it's DSG. Total purchase price is around 12k but I'm assuming you meant 8k for an outright purchase whereas a new finance might work for you here? Around 2500 down should see you paying 99/month according to their current offers page and there's retailer deposit contributions going. There will be approved used around as well of course.
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Old 26th Apr 2016, 07:53   #6
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Smart for 4 is also an option, we've never considered it because Smart is known mostly for their 2 person version. Thanks for the suggestion.

But I won't be buying new, the idea of loosing half its value after 3 years is a major turn off. As the car will be hardly be used, I think it's best to wait and buy a second hand that will not depreciate as fast.

This is a dilemma of mine. I drive 15k annual in a 10 year old car, my wife's probably won't be more than 3k, her car is just for small things around town. Do I drive a newish car and see its value disappear quickly? While risk buying lemon on the smaller car? Or do I put more money into my wife's car for a reliable car to keep many years with minimal repair cost? While I drive old cars to the ground and switch?

(I would like adaptive cruise control, since 80% of my commute is on the motorway)
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Old 28th Apr 2016, 07:54   #7
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Older cars are fine if you buy them when fairly new and maintain them well. Buying older cars is a nightmare, from personal experience. I bought an car and it ended up costing me the purchase price again in maintenance in the first year.

I tend therefore to buy ex demo or 1-2 year old for me personally, and have them on a 5 year straight finance. By that time they are 7ish years old, still have some residual value, and with kuck have not needed any major repair.

It sounds like straight leasing might work best for your daily commuter. You pay a small amount down, usually 3 month rental, then a set amount every month and after 2, 3 or 4 years, you just give it back and start over.

You might find the Skoda Fabia or Rapid an option, they usually have 0% interest on new purchases, which mean the monthlies can be as cheap as a second hand car of lesser value.

I get your principle on depreciation, I really do, but having rolled the dice on the ditch and switch older car method I would rather pay a predictable monthly cost for a car with warranty. I find it harder to plan for surprises than to set a monthly budget.
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