[Archive] Help Xander Choose a Car to Buy!


So I am getting to the age when I need a mode of transportation! The problem is I don’t know very much about cars. I am looking for an entry level car. So the question is, what kind of car should I get, and why? Nice gas mileage would be good. But beyond that I just don’t know! :hat off So if you know things about cars, lend me a hand and convince me of what car I should buy. I trust you guys more than car sales people. :stuck_out_tongue:

Cheers and thanks!


me and starscream work for Vauxhall (General Motors Ltd) here in the UK so we are pretty clued up on the UK specs and can try to assist with others if you like?


Real easy as it comes down to one thing: which will get you the most chicks! :slight_smile:

In all seriousness I only buy japanesee cars now, specfically Honda. Great gas mileage and you can’t kill the engines even if you try. They aren’t cheap (cars never are) but to me, Hondas are worth it.


Yep, Toyotas and Hondas get the best gas mileage and are the most reliable.


I just bought a Pontiac G5 (as Xander knows) but basically it was a toss up between the G5, Mazda3, and the Ford Focus… the G5 was just better for me.

I was on a tight budget, so basically, whoever could get the monthly payments the lowest :slight_smile: while keeping nice safety features, good looking, and the best packages for my money.

and Willmark! don’t say such things! :open_mouth:


I also encourage posting images of cars you mention! :smiley:



I’m a personal fan of Toyotas. They’re cheap on gas, super reliable. We had a standard tercel that 5 people learned how to drive standard on, put over 180 clicks and never had a problem (until I rammed it into a meridian in the road; it doesn’t stand up to concrete very well).

My advice is to go to chapters and get the Lemon-Aid book. It is a great book to help with your first car. I would greatly recommend not buying new; get this book, prioritize the stuff that’s important to you, then you’ll have an idea of what you’re looking for. Use things like Auto Trader to find something you like, and I have a back-door into the Black Book listings for cars and can provide you with a link.


Yep Superfella and I work for GM, so that in mind i’d recommend a diesel astra, say maybe a 1.7? (stay away from any car with a 1.9 - trust me)looks great, reliable and very good mile to gallon.

you get a lot of car for your money with Vauxhall, good cust service and a company very generous with out of warranty claims.

If you are buying new Chevy do some bargains in the UK, good deals are about but dont mistake them for a real American chevrolet.


and im still stuck here doing over time checking the emails from my canadian colleagues.


anyways. Starscream is 100% right, dont use a 1.9 engine from GM cos they have EGR valve trouble at the moment and as its ur first motor, id be suprised if you bought something with a manufacturer’s warranty still left on it.

i only passed my test last april, i drove a 11 year old renault clio for the first 6 months, then bought myself a 3 year old Vauxhall Astra once i was comfortable with being on the road on my own.

both cars are great for what they were bought for, the clio only cost me £250, and the Astra is modern, its quick with decent MPG and its far more comfy than it looks, thanks to the sports seats.

id put a photo up, but unfortunately the only one I have is of the rear door where some woman drove into me about 3 weeks ago and dinted my motor, and id rather take a better one to show off than a one of my car looking poorly!


From a lot of reports I’ve read the GMs (some, not all) quality isn’t there compared to the jap cars; they don’t last over the years. I haven’t met a really happy Saturn owner yet, although I’m sure there’s exceptions. GM is closing a bunch of plants in Ontario this week I believe as well, their business just isn’t doing very well.

Toyota, Honda, VW, Nissan, Subaru, all have good names in the reliability department… personally I wouldn’t buy Chevy, Saturn, Ford…

Hashut’s Blessing:

Get a smallish car, it’ll reduce insurance rates for you. Get a Toyota, they are the statistically cheapest to run (maintenance-wise). Get it second-hand, it’s cheaper. A Toyota Aygo is the smallest engine size and should be fairly cheap to run (insurance, petrol and maintenance-wise) and should be quite cheap second-hand. Do not buy Ford, they are statistically the most expensive in terms of maintenance (they may be easy to fix, but that’s because they break so much).

I’d put a picture of my car, but we sold it about a month ago. Ford Focus. Would’ve been worth about £400 when brought up to spec, but it needed £320 of work to be in that case :smiley: My dad only gave them two of the keys, so we still have three (the previous owner gave us 5!).


this was my baby up until 2 days ago when I sold it :frowning:

it’s a Datsun, but now it would be a Nissan. It lasted a looooooooong time (it’s a 1981, older than me!) it ran fairly well, and I totally agree about imports being superior to domestic, but they’re also pricier. I really liked the Mazda3, but the dealer couldn’t get the price down to my (very) restricted budget… man, getting older sucks.

I’m leasing mine as I imagine in 4 years there are many aspects to consider:

1. hybrid cars, will they become universally adopted and therefore a more viable option

2. will I need a more family oriented car? (or at least will I need to create the illusion that I"m considering a family)

3. since my new car is domestic, will it last past 4 years?

I know many people are big advocates for leasing, for financial reasons, but I was against it. I always thought I’d want the equity of a car, but cars have practically zero trade in value after 5 years anyways… so that became a moot point for me.

Kera foehunter:

here is a picture like my toyota matix . it  a great car i love my matix it gets 35 miles freeway and 28 city  my a 03 and i have 90 k on it run great   no problems

Pyro Stick:

Best. Car. Ever


dont you think thats maybe a tad out of his price range… you know… considering it’s his first wheels an all?

though i agree its certainly a better car than my Vauxhall Astra. and

and in response to grish, ive worked for GM for coming up to 2 years now, and whilst I concede that there are a few problem areas which have arisen, they are no worse than any other manufacturer for problems that regularly occur.

last i checked, GM were still the 2nd most popular brand behind Ford, so we are obviously doing something right. and whilst there are things which go wrong on a GM car, you should expect it on any make or model, cos thats just the mechanical nature of vehicles.

i can definately say that our customer service is pretty much spot on, as we are encouraged to find a reason to pay for a repair, rather than finding reasons not to pay.

not that im defending my job or anything…

Evil Fordy:

Well safety is a big issue for me as i have a young son and i find you cant go wrong with a 3 series BMW ask my wife as she wrote one off the other week and it saved her life, dont worry me and boy at home when happend so if you

have kids planned for the future or not its a safe reliable car :idea


As Willmark, Cornixt, and Grish said about either Honda and/or Toyota. You can’t beat them. I haven’t owned anything but (at least for my primary transportation) for years now. They are just about the most reliable cars on the road in the price range. I had a 4Runner I bought with the 4 cylinder (22RE) engine and I drove it 70,000 more miles (above the 180,000 it had on it when I bought it) and the only problem I had in 4 years was a brake master cylinder go out. It was unstoppable…well, literally when the brake master cylinder went out. :wink: Sometimes I wish I would have kept that truck. Especially with today’s gas prices.

I’ve had my current 4Runner for 2 years with no problems at all, and my old commuter Honda I bought I had to replace the driver’s side drive axle right when I got it, but it’s been great ever since. And I drive 130 miles a day round-trip so I put the car to work. :slight_smile: Also my neighbor has the exact same model/color car that Kera has, and they love it.

Scion is also a product of Toyota and they are kind of interesting models. If I were buying a new car right now for me, I’d probably look at one of the Yaris models from Toyota. They are kind of interesting looking but pretty small and get really decent mileage. If you’re looking for a used car, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, or even a used Scion or Yaris might be worth looking into. Honda made a Civic HX model that gets over 40mpg and you can get them for well under $6k…at least you used to be able to. Haven’t looked lately.

By no means are any of the cars I mentioned “Eleanor-quality” but who can really afford to drive something like that right now anyway? Last year I had a '68 GTO I finally had to sell off to make the downpayment on my house. Loved that car, but I couldn’t afford to drive the thing today for sure.

Good luck with the search!


Buy a later series model. Cars get developed in runs, and the later runs generally have the bugs hammered out of them, so you’ll have less problems. Getting one of the last of a series with a good name is usually a really good call. (example: Remember the really tiny corollas, and then they made roomier ones?)

Year of make: This can be deceiving. You can have a Jan. made 2003 or a Dec. made 2003. Both will be '03s. Check the plate, usually on the inside of the drivers door.

I’d recommend getting used, 1-3 years, at the tail end of the warranty. As Sojourn said, cars deteriorate in price extremely fast, you save thousands for the same car.

Insurance: When you figure out what cars would suit your needs, look this up. Civics are horrible on insurance; Mazda 3s were pretty bad the 2nd or 3rd year as well. If you can save 500-1000 a year on insurance, well worth it. Also, get a high deductible on your insurance.

Suspension: Where you’re living, the roads are terrible. Test drive on the bad roads, and get something that has a decent suspension.

Buy down south. You’ll find much better deals. Auto Trader will give you a baseline, although bargains seem to be harder to find in it more and more.

Erm… thats all I can think of off the top of my head. Lots more to consider though. Gas is generally the cheapest of all car expenses so don’t get completely lured by it.


are you buying new?

if so I would look at the Toyota Prius…


an afordable (21,5) hybrid with the best fuel economy… ever…

and lets face it… this situation will only get worse…

the Prius is also notorious for retaining its original value… up to 70%…

which means you could turn them over every year with minimal investment…

the money which you would have spent on maintenance… you spend on a new rig…


Excellent advice, all. I will take it all under advisement.

Also, what is the general consensus about Hyundai?

Thanks! By the way, I now have internet in my new place, Huzzah!