/ Second Hand Cars

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JamButty - on 12 Sep 2017
Looking at getting 17 yr old daughter a cheap small car. Probably max £2K
She's currently on the insurance for a slightly larger car that she's less confident in driving than she is with her driving instructors car.
Having not done this for a while, whats the best approach these days - local autotrader, local car sales place?
Any good cars to aim for around that price?

splat2million on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

I've bought cars from dealerships via Autotrader 3 times. Autotrader means you can shop around much more easily than in just visiting dealerships in the local area, and also gives a good insight into the current market prices and what types of cars, age, and mileage you can get for your money. You might have to travel to see the car you like though.
There's a little more comeback if something goes wrong on the way home using a dealership rather than buying from a private individual, and you can check out online reviews of the dealership first, but with cheap older cars it is always buyer beware.
Make sure to run a background check on the car (lots of online services can do this including through Autotrader). Also, if you're not mechanically-minded it might be worth paying for an independent inspection before handing over the money.
Alpenglow - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

Mazda 2 1.3
Toyota Yaris 1.3/1.33
Ford Fiesta 1.25/1.4

Definitely go for petrol, any diesel at that price will be a massive money pit.
The above cars are the most reliable at your price range.
There's a website called that gives a score for each model's reliability and cost of ownership (lower score is better).
86inch - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

Consider a Fiat Panda TwinAir. 0.9L petrol. Reliable, cheap to buy, run and insure. 4 doors, lots of space & visibility.
I've had lots of cars of all types and prices over the years but a Panda is one of my favourites. We're on our second Panda and I think they're great.
Alpenglow - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:
Best choice:

Mazda 2 1.3 - reliable, safe and fun drive

Toyota Yaris 1.3/1.33 - reliable, safe and fuel efficient

Ford Fiesta 1.25/1.4 - reliable, fun drive

Suzuki Swift 1.3 - reliable, fun drive

Average choice:

VW Polo 1.2/1.4 - 1.2 engine timing chain will snap if 10k/1yr oil changes aren't adhered to religiously. 1.4 needs new cam belt every 40k/4yrs

Skoda Fabia/Seat Ibiza - basically the same underpinnings as Polo so see above

Peugeot 207 - some reliability issues

Renault Clio 1.2/1.4

Fiat Panda

Poor choice:

Vauxhall Corsa - very unreliable

Nissan Micra - unsafe (3* EURONCAP)

Citroën C3 - unreliable

Definitely go for petrol, any diesel at that price will be a massive money pit.
There's a website called that gives a score for each model's reliability and cost of ownership (lower score is better).
Post edited at 13:46
Ferret on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

Other possibility is via autotrader or local press etc - if you find a decent looking motor locally from a private seller it may be cheaper or newer than from trade. Risk is even less comeback but I've heard of some people on private sales arranging for the car to go to a local garage for a service or an MOT. The cost can be the same/less than an engineers report and you get a bunch of advisories back to tell you what needs doing. If all is reasonably good you have a freshly serviced car, if less good you have quotes on the spot and know if it's worth buying or haggling on price to cover a bit of the upgrade works.

Especially good if you have a friendly garage that you already have a good relationship with. I've had my garage check a car out for me by dint of leaving keys to car I arrived in with a seller as 'deposit' while I buzzed the prospective purchase to the garage for a couple of hours. Depends on seller clearly what they are willing to facilitate.
knighty - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

I would suggest that you should play around with different cars on insurance quotes because there can be surprisingly large differences between what you see as similar cars.

Also, I have heard that if you have a car that is not typical of a person of that age to be driving, the crash profile can be more favourable thus, cheaper. A couple of years ago, I met a young guy driving a 2.5L ford Granada because it was the cheapest car for him to insure!
Greenbanks - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

We've had all 3 young 'uns with Yaris 1.1; 55-57 plates. Very sound & (touchwood) no break-downs to & from uni or recreationally. Cheap to maintain and decent(fish) on insurance when black-boxed and linked to my insurance. Daughter just recently has got (been bought) a newer Fiesta: so far that's OK too.
dunc56 - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:
Citroen C1 - check out the insurance groups - 1.0 petrol. Easy to work on yourself - assuming you do. The examples given elsewhere will be more expensive due to engine size.

My niece has one. She bought private. Not sure I would trust traders as far as I could throw them.
martinturner - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

This sounds really shady and deciving, but honestly, from experience, it's a great trick when buying from auto trader.

When you travel to see a car, I always find it's best to tell a small white lie.
If a dealer knows your travelling 70/100/200 miles to see a car, he knows you really like the car he has. He knows you don't want to have spent the best part of a day travelling to see a car only to go home empty handed.

I find, when asked where you've came from, do abit of homework and say you've just moved to the area. Around 10/15miles away for arguements sake.

That way, if you like it, your in a better position to walk away and haggle over the phone the next day or a couple of days later.

I don't know how much it's saved me over the years, and never will. But I've found salesmen to be much more open to movement on price and extras when using the technique
Si_G - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

Look at insurance costs first. It's likely to be more than the car.
Greenbanks - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to dunc56:

> Not sure I would trust traders as far as I could throw them<

Quite a few (it seems) trade undercover as ostensibly 'private' sellers. About 3 years ago my daughter eyed a Polo and asked me to have a look at it. It was immaculate to look at on first appearances - the guy wanted a touch over the guide price for it & daughter was very keen even so. It was a 'private' sale, the car located outside a house in North London - asking price £1950

Under the bonnet the steam-cleaned engine was a potential give-away; but it was the 'weld' on the nearside shocker that raised the biggest alarm; I asked if the car had been in an accident - response negative. I then said I would push the ignition key into the 'weld'...when I did it exposed the familiar off-white of filler. I said 'we'd think about it'.

Daughter still keen (!) so I said I'd pay the £40 or so for an AA inspection to convince her that Dad's never get it wrong (!). One week later, 5 pages of technical report arrive: the car was a cut&shut and, in the AA's words. a potential death trap.

This b*****d would have sold it to my girl (19) with no qualms... So, I suppose the moral is that there are reputable traders and unscrupulous ones and that what you see is not always what you get. £2000 ono is a dangerous price territory for cars in my experience.

Happy & careful hunting.

gethin_allen on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to martinturner:

Unlikely to work these days as they'll likely want to do the change of ownership stuff online in front of you rather than messing about with paper and waiting for ages, and you have to put in the new owners address.
Siward on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to Greenbanks:

To avoid traders masquerading as private sellers, when you ring them up say, 'I'm calling about the car'.

If he has more than one he'll find it difficult not to give the game away.
Cheese Monkey - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to martinturner:

Last time I bought a bike a fair distance away. I phoned up and haggled and agreed a price before I left - assuming all as described. This on the premise of not wanting to waste anyone's time. Seller only found out I'd done 150miles when doing v5. Good bike too at a good price
jkarran - on 13 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:
It's worth addressing the confidence issue in larger cars, there really is nothing more to a bigger car it's just practice using it needed. Not that she may want or need a bigger car but the issue is best addressed while the opportunity exists or it becomes a problem later in life.

At that price I'd use Autotrader, Ebay and Pistonheads (there may be others but those two usually suffice) to find a private sale or a car from a small trader with modest overheads. There are lots of good cars available under £2k but in my experience the better value ones are midsize or bigger though insurance will factor in to change that calculation for a young/novice driver. Tax and ownership costs are worth considering, older cars (pre 2002 I think or is it 2006, you'll have to check!) have the max tax rate capped at something reasonable irrespective of emissions/engine. If you don't know what you're looking at/for then try to rope a more knowledgeable or at the very least dispassionate friend in as a second pair of eyes. Lookin at completed listings on Ebay (advanced search) gives a good idea what older cars actually sell for, the 'book' prices are often nonsense or too widely spread to be meaningful for older stuff.

Also it's not worth traveling too far for common cars, at the cheaper end of the market there is a lot of misdescribed crap between the gems, it's easier to start looking early for local examples then wait until you find the one you want.
Post edited at 11:35
The New NickB - on 13 Sep 2017
In reply to Alpenglow:

> Mazda 2 1.3

> Toyota Yaris 1.3/1.33

> Ford Fiesta 1.25/1.4

I suspect the price bracket the OP is looking at means that they will be buying from a selection of models that pre-date the modern turbo petrol engines, but they do seem quite large engines for cars this small, which obviously for a young driver can have a significant impact on insurance costs.
arthurwellsley - on 13 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

Consider instead buying a cheap new car under a pcp. You are essentially renting the car for three years and then handing it back.

For both my daughters I bought them each a new Kia Picanto, on a three year term. I took the one with the 900cc engine, which is fine, and the insurance is manageable. My eldest daughter drove hers from London to Nottingham uni regularly.

They cost about £90 pcm under the pcp and full comp insurance for a teenager was about £1,600pa with zero no claims bonus.
Mark Savage - on 13 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

Get a copy of the Parker's Car Price Guide and go and get a car from your nearest auction site. There are BCA (British Car Auction) sites in Manchester, Wolverhampton and Walsall, which might be your nearest.
You can view the sales catalogues online.
There's not much to worry about as all the cars have engineer's reports to tell you if there are any problems and you can watch the car you're interested in being started and driven to the auction room.
There's a buyer's fee to pay, but considering how cheap the cars are, it usually works out as still being a total bargain.

If you haven't done it before, and are unsure, go along to see how it works. It'll shock you when you see how cheap you can get a decent car. You could get your daughter to do the bidding. I'm sure she'll love spending your money!
thel33ter - on 14 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

Prepare to spend a few hours siting infront of an insurance comparison website. I found insurance prices can vary quite wildly even among similar models of the same car. My first years insurance on a 2002 1.6 Focus Estate was £800 with a black box, including breakdown cover. Other focus estates came out at ~£1200 so I'm not sure what happened there. At 17 you're unlikely to find anything cheap whatsoever. I had my dad on the policy as well but I was the main driver.

I bought mine from a guy on Gumtree who operated out a barn somewhere near Southampton, however I wouldn't really recommend this approach as I think I got lucky with my purchase. eBay/Autotrader private sellers are probably the way to go, or a well reviewed dealer on autotrader.

Only small car I've driven is a 2011 Honda Jazz 1.3 vtec. It's pretty fun to drive and I averaged 51mpg over the 1000 mile return trip so can recommend one of them, but maybe above your budget.

The PCP Kia at £100 a month could be worth looking at, as brand new cars tend to be a bit cheaper to insure from when I've looked.
Tomtom - on 15 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

It may be a bit of jealousy talking but I hate the idea of parents buying young kids cars. My parents wouldn't ever have done so, not because we were skint n all!
I got my first car at 19, around 8 months after passing my test. An agonising 8 months of being a licensed driver and not having a car because I couldn't afford one. I got a new job, on a good salary, and bought a car, with a killer 3grand insurance premium. It sucked my wage out of me, but I had little else in the way of outgoings and I was just happy to have a car finally!
Every year of insurance, ever repair bill, the two huge insurance excesses I had to pay I had to pay. I'm sure we all here know that cars are money pits, is the right way to teach kids about money and cars to just buy them one? Relying on agonising public transport is a life lesson in its self too.
I had a year, recently, where I was without car, because I didn't have the capital to buy one after being away for a bit. Going back to buses was horrific, but it's taught me to value what I have.

Anyhow, I'm ranting on now, I'll apologise for judging, and telling you how to parent (I'm yet to be one, so I'm sure you can tell me it's not easy), but think about the implications of buying a car for your kids!
Happy to receive lots of responses as to how brilliant it was and necessary it was for other peoples kids to have cars, but I'm well of the opinion it's not a good idea! A job and savings is though!
JamButty - on 15 Sep 2017
In reply to Tomtom:

no apology needed TomTom.....I know exactly where you're coming from and I was the same as you; my rusty old Fiat Panda at 20 was my baby....
I've had this "debate" with the wife. Not sure if I lost or we just compromised... ;-)
This ones our youngest. The oldest has tried, failed a few times and now given up to pass her test so we're thinking having a suitable sized car to drive regularly might incentivise both kids.

Thanks for everyone's input much appreciated, I am swaying to autotrader or similar so I need to do some homework. A new car I'd be too nervous about damage....
Ferret on 15 Sep 2017
In reply to JamButty:

I'm a few years from needing to figure this for my kids but the pros and cons of various routes are interesting.
I bought my first banger 4 days before my 17th and was commuting with a friend asleep in the passenger seat a week later.... Having a banger seemed a good learning experience to me. And back then size didn't matter quite so much as insurance wa sless an issue so at 17 I was learning in a Renault 18, a car that's probably the equivalent of a mid spec/engine size mondeo/insignia now..... having a large car from day one was good for me I think, confidence and ability wise.

I can see the benefits of lease/HP a new supermini and getting a years insurance chucked in on the deal (where possible) but like you I'd be nervous of damage. I think on a new car (and especially a lease/hand it back basis) you would either have to claim on insurance for anything or be prepared for rectification charges running into hundreds for one or two minor scuffs/dings that you would cheerfully ignore on your own car. So old car feels better as if you get lucky with a parking scrape or a minor ding that affects your car but not the others you can choose to ignore, bodge fix or do properly as you see fit. Scrappy can be your friend for a minor bumper ding, or lost mirror or whatever....

So - for me I'd trend towards buying a very small, older car and if kids need any 'life lessons' even if you buy it (and help with insurance) you make them responsible for as much of the paperwork, admin and running costs as you need. I think the work of running an old car, dealing with repairs and garages etc is beneficial rather than the rather cosseted new car, things don't go wrong, annual service, no nasty surprises route.

It may still be too big/powerful to be economically sensible but I think I might try to time the replacement of family car number 2 to be about 8 to 10 years old around when kids need to learn and hopefully use it/pass it on at that stage.

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