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Used car recommendations - space+exciting < 2L

  • 09-05-2022 1:03pm
    Registered Users Posts: 17

    Hi All,

    Just registered on the Boards here and have enjoyed reading the posts and comments on similar topics.

    I was hoping to get some suggestions 

    Context: Got my Irish license last month (but have 15 + years driving experience in another country) and looking for my first used car between 5k-7k 

    Purpose: Mainly to roam around counties in Ireland this summer as family and friends visit me . After September I probably will only use it limited very locally in Dublin- to groceries or gym or occasional short drive to the beach

    I am thinking of something like a 1.6/1.8 petrol manual because 2 litres would cost me crazy insurance (I guess i'll still be ok to pay up high insurance if I find a good car) and I don't believe I'll do more than 5-10k per day after September so not choosing diesel

    I see a lot of options - 3 series (316i), Audi a3 (sportback), Avensis, Octavias, Qashqais, Mondeos, Passats, etc. but not able to decide. What would people here recommend mainly on below parameters:

    - Good Space in the rear seat for 3 adults (including elderly) for long drives till summer

    - fun to drive in terms of power and handling as I enjoy driving a lot (checked a 1.6L Mondeo but felt underpowered due to heavy body)

    -not too many expensive trips to garage. I acknowledge some tlc would be needed for old cars

    > Would appreciate any suggestions here please on what be

    > What's the average mileage I should be looking with for petrol cars (I have seen many audis, avensis, Passats with > 230000kms and not sure if I am making a prudent call here)

    Thank you in advance!




  • Registered Users Posts: 14,381 ✭✭✭✭AMKC

    I would say a Ford Mondeo or a BMW are your best bets. The BMW might be better engineered but for tgat money it will be an older 5 or 3 series and a 3 series is smaller than a Ford Mondeo which you will probably get newer as well so maybe just get a nice well looked after Mondeo as they are/were the best car to drive in its class.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 r.rohit.026

    Thanks AMKC. I almost made the deal but it was a 1.6L and kinda got the feeling it was bit underpowered due to power to weight ratio and wouldn't be as fun on motorways.

    I might end up buying it if I don't find another option because it does tick all other boxes

  • Registered Users Posts: 247 ✭✭Zylias

    I'd be looking at Volvo S40's in the 1.8 petrol engine, they'll have a good bit of power and are quite reliable.

    Otherwise your going to be looking at something like a 1.2/1.4 petrol Corolla or maybe a Civic.

  • Registered Users Posts: 77,732 ✭✭✭✭Atlantic Dawn

    Try to look at bhp instead of purely 1.6 or 2 litre, some smaller cc engines will output more power and in theory get around some insurance loading.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 r.rohit.026

    Thank you for the suggestions @Zylias and @Atlantic Dawn

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  • Registered Users Posts: 17 r.rohit.026

    I am looking to finalize this tomorrow and have narrowed it down to two used cars from private dealers on Done Deal

    1. BMW 316i (2007)
    2. Ford Mondeo 2.0 Titanium x (2008)


    Both Petrol & Manual

    Age - 2007, 2008

    Kms - both around 185k

    NCT'ed till Jan 23

    Both have NO Service history - Not ideal but I will have to find someone online for pre-purchase inspection and depend on that unfortunately

    I am now trying to evaluate which is a better buy. The Mondeo looks better in terms of power , spec and rear seating space, however the BMW is 200E cheaper in selling price, 200 euro cheaper on Tax and 300 euro cheaper on Insurance (because Mondeo is 2L and first time insurance in Ireland). So I am wondering with that ~700E less why not go for the badge and experience ( I have never owned a BMW before so wondering if it's worth for an experience)

    But I am worried that the repairs, maintenance, parts etc. expenses in BMW might offset that 700 and actually screw up even beyond that and obviously 1.6 is underpowered too.

    Is Mondeo significantly cheaper to maintain for parts , service, maintenance etc.? (would search for a local garage)? I took a glance for parts on autodoc and couldn't find too huge a difference in parts OR maybe I didnt look through the parts which are significantly different

    Would the 1.6 be really unsafe and sluggish on long motorway drives ?

    Would highly appreciate any thoughts and guidance please

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,464 ✭✭✭standardg60

    I'd avoid both if it were me, for that era i'd far rather find a private seller who's happy to sell from their own home.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 r.rohit.026

    Thanks @standardg60 . Do you mean their own car?

    I get your point and would prefer that but its getting quite difficult with the search as cars getting sold very quickly and lack of time from my side. I am aware I am taking a gamble which hopefully pays off, else the time would go to re-selling to a garage/scrap or whatever is the option at that stage

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,464 ✭✭✭standardg60

    Yes their own car, the good cars are always sold pretty quickly so worth registering with the likes of DD so you get an e-mail when something of your preference is posted.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 r.rohit.026

    I have the notifications on but I only am able to do viewings on weekends in most cases

    Any thoughts IF you had to chose one between the 2 options?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,339 ✭✭✭Buddy Bubs

    Are you sure the 316i is a 1.6?

    I was a big bmw fan around the late 00s when they were out but I was in the likes of 525i and wouldn't have considered a 316i

    I'd get the mondeo if they are the only 2 options even though I've bought about 8 bmws and never bought a Ford. Doesn't have the badge and the bmw interior will be better but the mondeo for everything else really.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,464 ✭✭✭standardg60

    Does that mean you're not ringing about cars because you're not available to view them?

    Genuine sellers are happy to wait for a genuine buyer

    Can't comment on the two options as i know nothing about them, without service history i'd like to know how many owners at least.

    One thing for me as to how a car has been looked after is the make of the tyres, cheap ones reflect the attitude of the owner in general

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 r.rohit.026

    Yes, 1.6. Thanks for the input. I'd be happy to get 5 series but as new licence holder in Ireland the insurance is already around 2.5k and some won't even quote. I'm more concerned about service and maintenance expenses. I'm guessing ford would be cheaper but don't have facts to prove that

    I do ring and try and ask them for a viewing between Fridays and Sundays but most are already sold by then :). Owners are 3 & 4 for ford and bmw. Tyres were alright. Ford seller pointed out one tyre might require replacement and said he'd knock off 100 eur off the price.

    The lack of service history does bother me, I'm not too sure i'll be in Ireland after a year so I'd be happy if the car works without too much hassles for 8-12 months

  • Registered Users Posts: 135 ✭✭themighty

    It might be worth trying a broker for insurance, if you've no insurance history in Ireland. I was having trouble getting decent insurance quotes after a few years without a car (I had named driver experience though). I tried Campion Insurance online which didn't work out initially, but I got a callback from them and ended up with a quote for fully comp. It came in a couple of hundred cheaper than what I had been getting quoted for 3rd party.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,568 ✭✭✭Wildly Boaring

    Don't buy a car without service history.

    Clocking these days is rife. A 5 min job.

    Anyone who cares about their car at all keeps a service history.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 r.rohit.026

    Thanks. Would a pre purchase inspection not identify that? Or green light

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭Oops!

    What part of the country are you based?

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 r.rohit.026


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,568 ✭✭✭Wildly Boaring

    Not really.

    If they were smart.

    Greenlight is no use.

    Cartell or one of those be best to unearth. NCT now records mileage so that should show a progression.

    But personally I'd stick to cars with history. There's a reason some cars are cheap and a reason some don't sell

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 r.rohit.026

    Thank you. I had a picture of the NCT report for the BMW. It has history, but strangely 2018 and 2019 are recorded in miles and 2021 and 2022 are in kms. That's already not a good sign I am guessing? That was clumsy of me for not noticing it, I guess time pressure is getting on to me.

    Thank you for the input

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  • Registered Users Posts: 485 ✭✭guyfo

    As some others pointed out don't just look at engine size. As an example the Ford 1.0l Ecoboost and a 1.8l TDCi engines both put out about 125bhp.

    A focus would be a far nicer driving car than a Mondeo with the level of power you are looking at.

  • Registered Users Posts: 50,680 ✭✭✭✭bazz26

    I don't know what universe a 316i even fits into the criteria of space and exciting to be honest. A 3 Series will not fit 3 adults in the rear in comfort, not to mention long journeys and the only excitment you will get from the 1.6 litre engine is wondering will it make back over to the correct side of the road in time when overtaking other cars.

    A Civic will probably have a bit more room, is more powerful and less of a risky proposition when it comes to reliability:

    None of these cars will be exciting or engaging though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17 r.rohit.026

    Lol! will it make it back to the correct side of the road😂.

    Thanks. I had this Civic in my shortlist, but found a bit expensive, Mondeo is coming cheaper (including insurance) and NCT a few further months away. Was leaning a bit towards Ford as I was involved in an accident before and being in a Ford saved my life. Sorry for adding too many parameters