Time for a change (help please)

17 Mar 2005
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United Kingdom
I'm looking to change my current car and after reading for hours on the internet about reliability running cost etc I'm now even more confused so some help is needed.
I would like a auto (I really miss my old one) but is there such a thing as a good reliable auto gearbox ?
I have a Renault now (absolute rubbish) I did like my Vauxhall but the auto box went at 70k and was going to cost about 2k to replace and I'm now wanting a little bit more refinement for every day use and enough space to be practical
I do carry a few tools from time to time so an estate would be good but not essential
And a car that will take a set of roof bars would also be good
I did start looking at the Jaguar XJ estate and a Audi (not sure what model)
Most of the jags look expensive to run and I did read about the Audi not being that reliable ? I'm not sure how true this is
For reliability I keep coming up with the Honda but it's impossible to tick every box
So any advice would be very helpful
I'm want to spend about £5,000 and hopping to get some sort of trade in on my 06 Renault scenic
Top of my list has to be reliability then comfort running cost and practicality for picking up a few bits/carrying tools etc (large boot or estate)
I can do my own servicing and little jobs brakes etc but I don't fancy being hit with big repair costs if it can be avoided
Also what cars would you say was a no no so I know to stay clear as I can't stand months of ear bashing because I have bought a crap car (again)
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What mileage do you do? Most modern diesels don't like short journeys so you might be better with a petrol. As a general rule I find the French cars are well kitted and have good engines, but the rest of the car is made from papier mache. The Japanese stuff fairs well in the reliability surveys and you rarely see one broken down at the side of the road. I've had a few Toyota's over the last few years which have been great cars.
I don't do a great deal mileage wise mainly running about short trips with the odd couple of holiday trips UK so petrol would be better for me I did look at diesels mainly because some of the bigger cars was more cost effective
(Tax/insurance/fuel economy) ?
Your right about the French cars my scenic has been a nightmare the key card went just after I got it the coil pack went top and bottom engine mounts
Rear bearing went twice and now I think the fronts are on there way out the clutch judderes now and then tailgate dampers going loads of annoying rattles etc and a pain to work on I can't even get to the headlamp bulbs easily ...
I will take a look at Toyota
Any comments on the Audi or the jag xj ?
What about bmw ? Or should I stay away
Why are all the reliability surveys so different it's getting so confusing
For that sort of money I'd get a petrol Mondeo Estate, as new and as low mileage as you can afford.

I'd stay away from BMWs and Jags with your budget as you are potentially buying a future problem for yourself, if reliability is important then you need to sacrifice a premium brand for something newer in my opinion.
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Thanks for the advice so far guys
I do agree bmw and jag's will come with big repair bills I was just hopping that they was reliable enough not to have problems as oftern as some of the lower end cars ? (Wishful thinking on my part)
I will take a look at the mondeo but I was under the impression that ford was a little hit and miss reliability wise ?
I have also seen a vw I like the look of any thoughts on this ?
So far my shortlist is Toyota, Honda, ford, ? Any others worth considering
I've known the guy I use for MOTs for years. He doesn't like Ford much, especially the smaller ones.
He likes Honda. he says French cars are OK in general but "plasticky" I agree. It's what I've had for 5 years or so. :)
I like Volkswagen myself. The slightly older ones were mega reliable if a bit boring. Don't know so much about the newer ones.
As said, cars like Jags and BMWs get very expensive if anything major goes bang.
What I've found really though is that if you get a good one of anything, that hasn't been abused, and look after it, it's usually OK. Some individual cars just seem to be trouble though.
The Mazda 6 looks a nice car (reliable ?)
My short list is now not so short but all your input has given me something to think about.
It is going to come down to my budget looking on auto trader some models are harder to find than others especially with reasonable mileage
Going back to my first post what's your thoughts on auto gearboxes ?
Are some better than others ?
I really like the Mazda 6, a friend recently bought an estate model and its a lovely bit of kit. Ive always been a vw fan but if i was in the market for a car of this size id take a punt on one.
I find vag group cars although reliable and solid lacking in basic toys, we recently bought a 2010 A3 sportback and it does not have basic things id expect a modern car to have ie parking aids, bluetooth connection, cruise control.
Modern auto transmissions are very complicated and something i personally would avoid as diagnostics and repair costs can easily enter 4 figures, maybe not early on but later in ownership it could cost more than the car is worth.
Most of the manufacturers with problems are all over the internet so take your time and do your research.
With any auto gearbox, expect to sell a kidney when they pack up.......however, for what it's worth, avoid French autos, German stuff (pre dsg) is pretty good (dsg problems are now starting to show up now), Toyota and Honda probably the best - especially the Jazz. Ford and Vauxhall aren't brilliant.
Low mileage is a very good thing, and so is changing the transmission oil and filter for extending the life they have.
John :)
That's makes interesting reading although I must admit I'm not a big fan of Volvo
I'm a little disappointed in the comments about auto gearboxes I do miss my old one even though it went at about 80k and Vauxhall quoted me 2k to replace that was about what the car was worth so I got rid and got my scenic.
In some ways I wish I had just got the replacement box for the Vauxhall ?
But at my budget of £6000 tops I'm not really looking it ultra low mileage and I don't want another possible 2k bill coming up so may be better to stick with a manual box.
No I'm not a fan of Volvo either. Don't really know why.
But in the article about the guy with the ten year old Volvo.
The hand brake flops around because the cables have snapped? :eek:
I looked at auto boxes a while back, but was put off by the horror stories, and the price of repair.
Personally I wouldn't consider an auto, but some folks get away with it......Toyota Amazon (4.2d) 350k and tows a 4 wheel caravan......just put a new sump on it.
Yon Mazda Bongo that comes to my attention from time to time has 250k and that's full time 4x4.
Most auto boxes seem to get huffy around the 80k mark but that's only what I've found.
John :)
Toyota are reliable and Parkers Guide says that "The Avensis is one of the most reliable cars that you can buy". They have stopped making Avensis hatchbacks :( but there are some below £5000 and of course estates.
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