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Play it safe, or risk it?

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    Hello all,

    Another question about a first car.

    I'm not sure how I should spend my money.

    Option A - cars like:

    Honda Civic 1.4 S (2000)
    Vauxhall Astra 1.4/1.6 (same insurance group, as 1.4 is 16V, and 1.6 is 8v) (2002)

    Option B:

    Fiat Grande Punto (2007) 1.4 Dynamic Semi-Auto (40k on the clock)

    Option A's are insurance group 4 for the Civic and 4E for the Astra's. All are under £1,000 with the Civic being around £700.

    Option B is £3,000 with insurance group 3.

    What should I buy. A's are more reliable, especially the Civic, but have between 80k-100k on the clock, and with these all being under 1.6, I doubt they are used as motorway cruisers!

    B is a Fiat. It looks good, designed by Maserati apparently, but mechanicallly it's a Fiat. It's got a few problems with it, i.e. one of the door handles doesn't work, the gearbox is playing up, the electrics are a bit funny.

    What should I do? Get A (most likely the Civic) or B, the Fiat.
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    What do you mean by gearbox playing up and the electrics are a bit funny? The door handle issue is probably something simple if you're capable of fixing things yourself but don't count on the electrics/gearbox not getting worse so budget for getting those fixed (and if you're paying for a new gearbox to be put in you're probably looking thousands). Don't get hung up on mileage on older cars, well maintained cars will keep going well beyond that.
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    Go with the Honda mate, absolutely bulletproof.
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    (Original post by CurlyBen)
    What do you mean by gearbox playing up and the electrics are a bit funny? The door handle issue is probably something simple if you're capable of fixing things yourself but don't count on the electrics/gearbox not getting worse so budget for getting those fixed (and if you're paying for a new gearbox to be put in you're probably looking thousands). Don't get hung up on mileage on older cars, well maintained cars will keep going well beyond that.
    That Fiat dualogic (semi automated gearbox) is rather well known for all kinds of problems, specifically with the pressure pump system which is rather expensive to replace, on some of the earlier models even the shift lever and ECU for it is prone to failure, cue it is going is when you put it in Reverse it takes a few seconds before it shows on the dashboard that the car is in reverse then you know the ECU is on it's way out. You will know that the lever itself is going when the system is pressurized but it would only get into gear intermittently.

    The pressure pump, this one starts going from around 40k miles or so, the cue to it is when suddenly one day you open the driver door and the pump doesn't activate, am told in UK it cost around £900 to replace and you need to reprogram the actuator bite points when you replace it so you are looking at either doing it at a Fiat main dealer or a Fiat specialist as you need a special computer to do it.

    If you are buying a car and have a typical student type budget I'd suggest not buying any semi-autos especially if it had done around 40-50k miles or more and the seller can't show proof he has changed the pressure pump.

    Spent loads of time trying to figure out how to fix that as I was one of the first few people to own a Panda with the dualogic gearbox and it gave problems within a few months of delivery, even the dealer that sold the car had no clue how to solve it.
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    Have a test drive in everything. Whichever you feel most comfortable in go with that.
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    I have spent my whole life 'risking it' in the quest to apprehend the Baudelaire orphans and their massive fortune. I have enjoyed my time changing my appearance to fool those around me, especially during my long stint at Lucky Smells Lumbermill. I would recommend you 'risk it', as the rewards may be great. For me, the rewards would be a large fortune. For you, I am not certain.
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    I'd go for the Vauxhall Astra - my works unit own a large fleet of Vauxhall Astras from nearly new to some ones up to 12 years old (Mk4/5/6 Astras) and the Mk4s (1998-2004) are the best to drive by a long shot if you ask me - apparently Lotus had input on the design.

    Plus they seem to be off the road less often and come back from repair quicker. I've also heard that they're very easy to fix, although they're pretty uncool. Compared to the Civic, I test drove a Civic of that age and it was pretty uninspiring and they're not exactly cool either unless you're buying a Type-R version.

    Have a go in both and see what feels good to you but I'd go for the Astra, purely in my opinion.
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    Honda. If you get any problems, a poor Japanese man is shot.
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    I think the Honda is slightly more to insure. On that basis, I might just get one of these:

    http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classifi...13tg?logcode=p

    It's not too bad. Nice colour, nice car. Decent mileage. Perfect.

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Updated: May 16, 2012
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