View Full Version : What car should I buy?

10-18-2013, 08:08 AM
Since I'll legally be able to get a job in January and I'm looking for a well-paying FIFO job, I've started looking for a new car for the family.

My current requirements, 4 doors, manual transmission, inexpensive (25k after tax and rego), good fuel economy, should be something unique and good looking.

My current finalists:

Renault Clio Expression TCe90

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/1/2/4/renault-clio.jpg (http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=23341) http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/1/2/4/renault-clio_int.jpg (http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=23342)

Just released in Australia, the new Renault Clio is my front-runner. By far the most stylish of my three finalists, both inside and out, it's also the cheapest ($3k less than the Ford). It also features the best warranty (5-year/unlimited, nice to know I won't be on the hook for repairs while paying the car off), best fuel consumption (4.5L/100km), and the most options for personalization, including gloss interior trim in four colours or three designs. It's also the only one to feature a touch-screen media interface and navigation within my price range.

Because all the interior and exterior trim options are factory fitted, they are far cheaper than dealer fitted accessories ($250 for alloy wheels), but you have to wait 3-4 months for your car to be built and shipped.

TopGear gave it a positive review noting light and agile handling, good ride for a short wheelbase, and comfortable seats. Doing the "sit-behind-yourself" test, I found the backseat to be comfortable for an adult for short trips, but long trips might feel a bit tight (as is the case with all these cars).

The car's biggest downside is the engine. A 0.9L turbo 3-cylinder is the only engine available with a manual tranny. It is responsible for excellent fuel consumption numbers, but with only 66Kw, acceleration is leisurely at best (0-100 in 12s). But in the city, it's light weight (100kg less than the old Clio) and broad torque curve makes it feel sprightly, and that 3-pot ruff growl is certainly interesting.

Volkswagen Polo 77TSI Comfortline

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/1/2/4/vw_polo.jpg (http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=23343) http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/1/2/4/vw_polo_int.jpg (http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=23344)

The Polo, winner of Wheels 2010 COTY award, is a few years old now, but is still the most refined of my finalists. Slightly more expensive than the Clio, but significantly cheaper than the Ford, the Polo offers the best chassis of the group. It features a comfortable ride with good handling and steering, and a cabin that looks and feels more expensive than it is. However, certain elements including the media system are a generation behind the Clio and the interior can feel a little somber in Teutonic Gray.

The styling, inside and out, is conservative but pleasant. It should stand the test of time better than the others, but isn't daring.

Seats both front and rear are good. I could imagine taking long trips in the back but it would start to get tight.

Fuel consumption is the worst of the group at 5.5L/100km, but that's still quite good compared to cars just 5 years ago. The engine is a 1.2L turbo 4-pot making only 77Kw (0-100 in 10s est), but 175Nm of torque across a wide band. In everyday driving you won't lack for power, but VW has been under criticism in recent months for mysterious engine and transmission behavior. VW cites issues with the DSG auto, but owners of manual cars have reported issues as well. A little disconcerting considering VW's less comprehensive 3-year/unlimited warranty.

Ford Fiesta Sport

http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/1/2/4/ford_fiesta.jpg (http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=23345) http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/files/1/2/4/ford_fiesta_int.jpg (http://www.celicatech.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=23346)

Just off a facelift with new engines, interior, and exterior details, the Fiesta offers the sportiest engine and chassis of the group. However, it's also the most expensive.

Exterior styling is decent, but is already a little dated. It's far from ugly, but will likely hold up the worst with time. Same for the interior, which also features somewhat flawed ergonomics. Front seats are comfortable and it's the only one of my finalists with leather (if only partial), but the rear seats are tight for even short trips.

The 1.0L turbo 3-pot is the most powerful of the group with 92Kw, that also makes it the fastest (0-100 in 9s est). It manages this while also delivering middle of the road fuel consumption (4.9L/100km). The warranty, however, is the worst of the group covering only 3-years/100,000km.

The Fiesta gets back on form in the twisties with the sportiest suspension and steering setup of the group. I like that, but my wife (who will likely do most of the driving) is indifferent.

So which one does everyone think?

Some other cars we're considering if we can afford it (all running approx $25 - $30k)

Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Volkswagen Golf
Volkswagen Tiguan
Nissan Dualis (Qashqai)
Nissan Juke
Renault Captur
Renault Megane
Mazda CX-5

10-18-2013, 02:07 PM
i have always been a fan of Renault, i just wish they where here in the states :(

10-18-2013, 03:04 PM
Honestly since you're looking for a 'family' vehicle, go for the CX-5. You'll like the cargo space and room it offers. We have the predecessor to the CX-5, the CX-7.

10-18-2013, 03:39 PM
My honest input?


10-18-2013, 04:23 PM
The Fiesta has a lot of good reviews. I personally wouldn't mind one of the new ST models coming in the US with a snail and tuned suspension, but the wife won't have any of that nonsense.

The Captain
10-18-2013, 05:22 PM
At that price point I wouldn't get anything unless it was Japanese. Any car is great to own if it's under warranty, it's after that counts. Bearing that in mind I wouldn't touch the Renault or the VW. The Ford is the most proven of that group but I'd still prefer a Nissan, Toyota or Mazda over any of them. At least here in the States you can get a 2 year old off lease car that comes with a better warranty than new. You get a lot more car too. If you must go new, land of the rising sun.

10-18-2013, 05:57 PM
Just a warning about the Juke; if you happen to curb it, you WILL bend the inner tie rod, which isn't sold separately from the $2000(parts only) steering rack. Since it was an accident it won't be covered under warranty.

10-18-2013, 06:21 PM
In addition to what Chris said, there's a Juke by my kid's school. It's been sitting by the curb for the past two months with one of the rear wheels tweaked out at 45 degrees and hasn't moved. Guess whatever that is that broke/bent is in the same category as the tie rods.....

10-18-2013, 09:08 PM
Volkswagens and Mazda's are terrible IMO, the Alfa will be expensive to maintain unless I'm mistaken, and the Ford has that grille stolen from Aston Martin (whoever approved that should be smacked, I mean honestly now).

Reading through your descriptions, you seem to lean quite heavily towards the Clio. Looking at your downsides to each, I could live with a slight lack in power better than engine/tranny issues or shitty ergonomics.

10-19-2013, 02:05 PM
I am leaning toward the Clio. It's gorgeous in the metal, and I'm hoping that since Renault and Nissan are basically the same company now, it will be reasonably reliable. I also like that it's a relatively unique vehicle and isn't even available in the US. I've always enjoyed cars that are a little different.

I would totally be all over a Fiesta ST, but it's only available as a 2-door in Australia. That's a recurring problem, the Fiesta ST, Peugeot 208 GTi, and Citroen DS3 are all 2-door only and the Polo GTI, Clio RS, and Skoda Fabia RS, are dual-clutch only.

The Japanese manufacturers just don't offer anything really interesting for a sub-$30k price. There's the Toyota 86, which is a brilliant car, but basically a 2 seater, the new Nissan Pulsar SSS has a great engine, but the suspension/steering is half-baked. Hondas are ugly, boring, or both. The Mazda 3 is set to be replaced soon and I've read it's excellent, but my wife doesn't like the 3. She would like a CX-5, Dualis, or Tiguan, but we would have to go for lightly used base model, and manufacturers in Aus don't seem to do the whole "Certified pre-owned" thing...

10-19-2013, 05:20 PM
What about the 4-door Hyundai Genesis? I'm not sure what they ring in at in Aus but I've heard good things about them.

10-20-2013, 02:49 AM
What about the 4-door Hyundai Genesis? I'm not sure what they ring in at in Aus but I've heard good things about them.

The Genesis isn't sold in Aus. If it was, it would probably ring in at $50k base, just above Hyundai's current top model, the i40 (no US equivalent, but slightly smaller than a Sonata). They're going to bring the next-gen Genesis coupe in a couple years, but no word on the sedan. If I still only had one daughter, I'd look at a Veloster turbo.