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Discussion Starter #1
My wife wants to get a cheap little car so that she can

a. use less fuel going to work and back than her 1.6 16v uses and
b. add her 17 year old son to the insurance as a named driver

She doesn't want to spend a lot and so has been looking at cars such as the 106 at sort of P-reg to T-reg ages.

The last thing we want is something that's going to be going wrong all the time. To this end, the thought of buying a cheap little car like that scares me. A friend at work just sold his P-reg 306 for £200 for parts because it was just so so troublesome you wouldn't believe.

So, does anyone know what we should be looking at to find something that is

a. quite cheap to buy
b. quite cheap to run
c. fairly reliable

Things such as old Fiestas and old French cars make me very wary.

I've not really got a definitive budget from her but I guess £1000 would be a reasonable ball park.
 

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You will find the following to be ok cars.

Fiat Punto 1.2 (fiats seem to be reliable and the timing belts are easy)
Ford KA 1.3 (seem reliable watch for corrosion i think they did have a cam problem where the lobes where being chewed, its an engine out job so listen)
Vauxhall Corsa (Check the front chasis rails and the area behind the front wheels for corrosion, avoid the 3 cylinder)
Diahatsu Charade (seem reliable)
Nissan Micra (seem bulletproof)

And of course check all the obvious (Head gasket, oil leaks, missfires ect)

Your allready doing right avoiding french cars, If you want a suzuki check it very carefully for corrosion, they are made from paper thin steel

Whatever you get, check it carefully and preferably get a full MOT and have it checked/serviced by your local garage

From what I can tell most dealers think wiping the filter is a service
You may struggle to get one on a P - T plate for that money unless you go to auction (A minefield in itself)

Hope this helps a bit

Mark.
 

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nissan micra is the one ide go for,,i know them well i have had 2 and i own a k12(froggy one) atm

cheap insurance even on the 1.3,good on fuel good quality,reliable, tbh they arnt they cheapest of cars to buy compared to the 106/clio/corsa,,because they hold ther money well.also its jap!

but im bais,,im abit of an enthusiast

EDIT:you will find ALOT of info on the micra at www.micra.org.uk they are very helpfull and know alot of stuff ,just like this forum :D just register and ask away
 

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VW Polo is a good little car - all little cars are scary to drive although - I had two Micra courtesy cars and near sh*te my pants each time I drove them around a corner :D .
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow thanks for the answers so far!

Marky_GTSt are you a mechanic? Wonder how you've managed to get all of that knowledge from - you sound like a man of experience :)

Nissan Micra - interesting, though skyline69_uk's comment reminded me of the scary moment I had when I first reached a corner in one.

For those of you who have suggested cars with larger engines - a 1.6 would be nice but she's got that at the moment and wants something cheaper to run and insure (remember we've got a 17 year old to put on the policy) so it's group 1 insurance if possible, group 2 at a stretch. I went to parkers.co.uk and looked for Polo but it only seemed to list 1.6 engines for a T-reg car - odd because I thought they did a smaller engine too?
 

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The Polo starts at group 2 and a Yaris is a great little car and they start at insurance group 2 also! The Jazz is brill also but they start at group 3. Fiesta's also start at group 2.

You want to use this search by insurance group...

http://www.wisebuyers.co.uk/index.jsp?guide=guides&page=car_insurance&id=18&group=1&x=39&y=6


Remember insurance is also based on the age of the car so the older the cheaper e.g. a 5 year old group 4 may cost the same insurance as a 1 year old group 2 car.
 

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RX7 at 1308cc. :D

Toyota Starlet, Vitz (Yaris). Mazda Demio. Honda City, Civic 1.4. Nissan March (Micra), Mazda Familia. All fairly cheap and reliable. Just remember that other people are going after the same sort of package, which will make good ones harder to find cheap!
 

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thers nothing wrong with the micras handling and are pretty safe,the engines are bullet proof,timing chain rattles at around 75k but thats normal.other things to look for is rusting sills infront of the rear arch and front crossmember,the only problem you may have with the engine is the TB
 

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Kingsley, yes, I do servicing, mots, repairs, welding and bodywork (mostly on run of the mill or classic cars), as well as having a sales pitch.

Problem with the small jap cars is, everybody wants them, this ups the price a bit

Cheapest insurance would be the Cinquecento, but they are kinda naff, tho very good on fuel and easy to repair

Personally, I would go for the Micra, but not the automatic, they have an electromagnetic clutch mechanism that costs a fortune to recon.

Mark.
 

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Suzuli Swift gets my vote. Had one for two years no probs at all. 1.3 is really revvy and surprisingly quick (in is class) As mentioned make sure its not too rusty though. Prob even getting trendy now they got a new model being advertised on telly with fat boy slim soundtrack :D
 
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