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Friend buying $7K small car - recommendations?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Morbo28, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. Hey,

    It's been a while since I;ve looked for used cars and not in that price range. Any advice on something smallish, practical, around $7000 for a female friend. Something to see her through her internship for the next few years getting to shift work (city/suburban driving max 40 mins each way) and doing shopping/visiting people. Otherwise she'll probly catch public xport. Decent priced services and/or infrequent service intervals.

    I am thinking:
    2000 shape Astra (Opel one)
    Small Lancer
    Mazda 323

    My pick was a Toyota Corolla or Mazda 3 but they are pretty expensive (because they are so good) and didn't know whether it'd be worth getting an older one in that price range or getting a newer one of something else.

    Thought it'd be worthwhile seeing what you guys reckon.

    (and no, a motorbike isn't an option :LOL: )

    Cheers :)
  2. i have an older corolla i use, a 1990 model i believe. (parents own it, i pay all the costs though XD )

    although its older, it still runs well, isnt to appealing to thieves, and although its bat shit boring, it does its job.

    theres a reason im looking to upgrade bike before getting a car of my own :D
  3. You should find a BJ series 323 for that money. Mazdas are amazingly reliable usually, and servicing isn't bad.
    If you don't mind paying a little more for service, you'll probably find an EK (or thereabouts) Civic, which like all Hondas, are pretty much un-killable.
  4. I had a Barina that I couldn't kill. When I sold it it was 80,000km overdue for a service and still scooting along.

    They're a seriously awesome little car.

    Just another option to look at :)
  5. An older model Corolla - that's totally an option, they are quite bulletproof, which is why it made the original list but yeah we should still keep in mind older ones as an option.

    Ah yes, the Civic - thanks I had forgoteen about those. That's a good option.

    The 323 is defo on the list (and that's what she had before it was written off - not her fault) but she's saying they are actually not that easy to find.

    I had a friend that has a (~6 year old?) Barina.It was the first model of the new shape (at the time) and after 5 years she has to replace the engine, gearbox, get panels repainted, wiper motor replaced etc. Just after the warranty ran out. Could be a one off but it's kinda steered me away from them, even if I think the rest might not be as bad or that subsequent models may have had it fixed.
  6. Cant go too wrong with jap 4 cylinder cars, as long as they werent abused and neglected. Stay away from barinas and astra's and other similar euro shit. When stuff breaks they become very expensive and hard to source cheaper wrecker parts with a trillion different models of the same car.
  7. civic
    golf - can probably find quite a few round this price range and they just dont die.
    older model barina/swift (back when they were the same car and good)
    Lancer or mirage, both are decent cars.
    from left field, the charade or whatever is the same model now. had an old charade that no matter how hard I tried to kill it, it just wouldnt die. I sent it through hell and back. Then some bastard killed it for me. :cry:

    But simply for the honda factor, go the civic - if you can find mid 80's versions of cars on carsales, they've got something going for them. Also check out the jazz for the funky gearbox. Not sure how costly they are though.
  8. I'd go a mazda 323/Ford laser or the Corolla.

    The mazda/laser are a bit nicer than the equal corolla (if that matters to her) but the corolla is more likely to be bullet proof.

    At that price you should be able to easily find a corolla in good condition, the mazda/laser may be a bit harder...

    Forget European, more often than not they cause drama in old age, spares are harder to find and small things can be really costly.
  9. Ye, old euro cars are only really for the image. They love to break in strange ways in old age. Case on point is my flatmate and his mk3 golf. Its most current issue is that its stuck in 3rd. But before that his Windows only worked when they wanted to and for a while the horn would go off when you hit a big bump. Not what you'd would call reliable.
  10. Get a large car instead. Seriously. You'll get a later model with less ks for the same price.

    Petrol? Well even at $1.50 there is only about $500 a year in it.

    Small cars are not good value at the moment because of everyones false perception that petrol is dear.
  11. Ye, old euro cars are only really for the image. They love to break in strange ways in old age. Case on point is my flatmate and his mk3 golf. Its most current issue is that its stuck in 3rd. But before that his Windows only worked when they wanted to and for a while the horn would go off when you hit a big bump. Not what you'd would call reliable.
  12. I don't know about subsequent models but I don't think that was a one-off. That model/series has inherent design faults based on what a friend of mine endured. She bought a brand new one in 2002 and it was at the dealer's for repairs for the same things on multiple occasions (the gearbox was one thing and I can't remember the other two things that went repeatedly wrong). From memory, in two years it was off the road for repairs for 4 months. IMO, that's shocking for a new car. She ended up moving it on before the warranty ran out.
  13. If she'll consider it or the size isn't an issue, ibast's suggestion is a good one. Get a gas conversion (a friend did one recently and it cost him something like $50 after/with the government rebate) and it'll cost the same in gas as a small car would cost for petrol but she'll have a bigger car.
  14. I'm selling my 2000 Ford Festiva Trio Hatch for $4,500 as my girlfriend whom I bought it for has decided she doesn't want to drive a manual.

    So if your friend decides she wants to spend less on a totally reliable car... :p

  15. Sounds like the first of the Daewoo Barinas - before that they Opel Corsairs (built in Spain I think...) and before that were Jap Suzuki Swifts. Typical GM, and each move has seen production costs fall and quality do the same.

    We've got a 2000 Opel model (SB - the real bubble model) which is pretty solid so far, although the ks are still low. Motor is fine, although I suspect the engine mounts are shot as there is a lot of vibration. We've had the rear shocks and bearings replaced, which wouldn't have been an issue except that the twats at UltraTune overtightened everything causing a wheel to lock up the next day. Only other thing that comes to mind is that the skinny little timing belt is an 80,000km job rather than the standard 100,000km.

    We got ours for $6,000 a year ago, but got lucky with the low k's.
  16. A chick I used to work with years ago got one of them, still has it and not a lot of good can be said for her driving in general. I could not believe that the gearbox/engine hadn't given up on her yet...
  17. I made the mistage of buying a ford festiva for my girlfriend. Biggest heap of sh!t I've ever owned.

    She owned an 84 suzuki swift that the doors fell off (literally) before that and it was a better car than the festiva.

    I really did feel guilty selling it.
  18. FRIEND buying $7K small CAR - recommendations?

    Disown them.
  19. Mazda 323's are a great buy (if they have a good service history) since the mileage is irrelevant. I have friends who put 580,000 kilometres on their 323 before trading it in on an MX5. Apart from normal service items it cost them very little - and they are not slow drivers.

    One of my wifes workmates is married to a mechanic who does RACV roadside service. He says that he has a disproportionate number of call outs to Astras and Barinas. Usually relatively minor problems but still stuff which can't be fixed on the side of the road. His advice for a good older car is look for a Honda Civic, Corolla, Suzuki Swift or Mazda 323.
  20. Give the Astra a miss mate.
    The rest are fine IMHO.
    I'd also stay clear of Barinas, Daewoos, Festivas, KIAs