a car for the wife and kids

5 Sep 2007
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United Kingdom
hi everyone
i am about to buy a car for the wife so that she can learn to drive in it and also so i can take us and the 3 kids out as well and was wondering if any one can advise on a decent car that aint too big but wont have me in the garage e very 2 months!!
i have been let down with 2nd hands vans pretty badly in recent years so would appreciate any tips and reccommendations.
autotrader mag is all over the place with ages and mileages and i cant make my mind up. looking to spend about 2 to 3 grand.
many thanks
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if you want a car that will be reliable, a boring family runabout from Toyota should top the list. or Honda (except the Civic). Nissan not quite so good but better than the European brands. Skodas are Volkswagens with a different badge and are good now. there are a lot of them around so look for a good service history backed up by receipts. Check that the ink is not still wet on the dealer stamps and verify that the milage records make sense.

an exciting, fast or flashy car will cost more money and be less reliable.

A medium car will often be better value than a Supermini as those are more fashionable.

You will probably want a hatchback but Booted cars can be cheaper used, as less popular.

Here is a quote from "Which"

Most reliable car brands 2008: Brand reliability index

Readers familiar with Which? Car surveys from previous years won’t be surprised to find Honda and Toyota at the top of the list. Daihatsu, which often gets overlooked in favour of better-known brands, rates an impressive third. Mitsubishi and Nissan need to improve if they want to trouble their fellow Japanese rivals for brand reliability.

The expensive German marques of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all fall into the ‘average’ category, suggesting there’s still some way to go to ensure their well-engineered cars remain dependable over the medium and long term.

French duo Citroën and Peugeot rate as ‘poor’ this year, but better than the other Gallic createur d’automobile, Renault.

and another

Most reliable car brands 2008: Reliability: Far Eastern cars

Japanese cars dominate the 'very good' list
Honda 85%
Toyota 84%
Daihatsu 83%
Lexus 83%
Mazda 83%
Subaru 83%
Suzuki 83%
Mitsubishi 80%
Nissan 78%

and another

Czech Republic

Skoda out-performs Seat and VW
Skoda 78%

Skoda out-performs Seat and VW itself – so much for it being the budget arm of the VW Group. The new Fabia and Roomster are particularly impressive.
thanks john, a very enlightening reply. we have been looking at fords and vauxhalls which dont even get a look in on that list!! we are going to be taking some time and effort into buying this vehicle so any more advice would be grateful.
the wife has her eye on a saxo, but they are up and down with prices and mileages, which makes me think that the newer models arent reliable as people seem keen to get rid of them, although this may be my cynical mind!! thanks again and look forward to anymore help and advice you all have.
put aside an afternoon to go through back issues of Which at your local library (they will have then in Reference). There is a Cars digest every year. It can help to look at previous years if you are buying an older car.

I don't know anyone else who gives an unbiased opinion based on such thorough factual research.

I expect your wife is attracted to cars based on their appearance, style and image, which is what the motor trade relies on, and why fashionable cars are more expensive/worse value second-hand.
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I hope no one minds me butting in here? I wouldn't go for a Saxo - at least not with 3 kids...they aren't the most reliable and they still rust big time.....consider the Mondeo or Focus (loads around) the Octavia is a good one, the Corolla and Avensis is fine as are most things Japanese...avoid the Primera (new shape)...I've had very few problems with the Civic too. Avoid French stuff at this price, don't go for automatic transmission.
Good luck with the hunt!
Cheers John
What about a Meriva. We got on for the wife. roomy but easy to drive.
The other thing is how old are the kids due to seating requirements this could quickly limit car choices
thanks for the replies, the kids are 12 8 and 4, the wife doesnt want anything too wide/big, been looking at the corolla and there seems to be a few with low mileages at a decent price, though i have only looked in autotrader mag, does this mean they start to have problems approaching 60,000? or am i just being cynical?
where is this " honest johns website" gregers?
would really like some feedback from people that own a car and have had minimal or no trouble with them, my main concern is ending up in the garage constantly, again!!
again many thanks
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