Second biggest purchase

our new civic

That’s my car. An ’06 plate, Honda Civic 2.2TDi ES model. It’s a wonderful car to drive, with a very good engine and a good level of equipment. The reason I have a diesel is because of the high mileage we do, about 380 miles a week, and it was supposed to be cheaper in the long run and, well, it might’ve been but for one thing.

Being the ‘first’ of the new model Civic, it’s fair to say that the car has been plagued by a lot of small niggles. On average it’s been back at the garage about once every two months and whilst a lot of the work was carried out under warranty (and some was, I admit, my own fault as it’s the most powerful car I’ve ever owned and I did… er… ‘over’ drive it on occasion) it’s not out of warranty and the niggles keep on coming.

Time for a change then, but what?

I’m tempted to get a newer Civic, with the presumption that the niggles have been ironed out. Honda have a good reputation for build quality because they do change production to take account of these things, so it’s a reasonable bet that if I did get another Civic, it wouldn’t give me half as many problems as the current car has.

But with fuel prices continuing to bubble upwards, perhaps now is a good time to look at some of the ‘Eco’ cars. The VW Golf BlueMotion gets a good write up (better than the Prius or Focus) but is still quite pricey. The Honda Insight is a proper Hybrid (the BlueMotion is a diesel with ‘smart’ technology to help boost MPG), which again makes it pricey and by GOD it’s ugly!

So I started looking at smaller cars. The Fiat 500 to begin with, which is super cute but just too small for the amount of travelling I do, I need something comfy. The Fiesta gets good reviews all over the place, and it’s looking like that might be the best option.

Ultimately, it’s about money. The monthly cost of ownership is key, and I’d like to lower my monthly payments as well as get a car that will help minimise ‘running costs’. Which brings me to the Kia Cee’d, which gets reasonable reviews, has a good level of equipment and has a seven year warranty. Seven years!

It’s a bloody minefield though and I’m still searching and comparing all sorts, with a reference copy of AutoExpress at my side. Perhaps that Skoda Octavia is the best bet after all?


  1. graybo said:

    Our experience with a late model Civic in the old shape can be easily summarized in one word – “avoid”. I wouldn’t have another Honda. I’ve only ever found one type of vehicle that couldn’t be broken – Ford Transit. Would that suit your style?

    February 19, 2010
  2. Blue Witch said:

    I’m in the same situation, and I too like the Fiat 500, but it’s just not practical for us either. Need to do something before curretnt beloved car gets too expensive to maintain, which could be November.

    I’d like a small diesel (smaller than a Golf or Civic) with a 2.0TDi engine. I cannot bear not to have power to use when necessary (ie when being menanced by white or blue van men, and 17 year old kids with 5 up in 15 year old cars).

    And I haven’t found anyone who makes them any more. Our 1.5TDi (albeit sporty and very economical) Clio just doesn’t do it for me.

    I wouldn’t ever buy a Ford again after our hassles with the last one and the fact that Head Office don’t want to know about problems: dealers are totally autonomous, and untouchable, even when they have messed up big time by anyone else’s standards. Someone suggested a Seat Ibiza as they do a 1.9, but, it’s no good, I just could *not* own a car called ‘Ibiza’.

    Those long warranties look great until you start looking at all the early-years exclusions.

    Do write more of your deliberations as they occur – I’d be interested.

    February 21, 2010
  3. NKV said:

    Fiat Bravo?
    Kia pro_cee’d -looks a lot nicer than the 5 door Cee’d?

    February 21, 2010
  4. Gordon said:

    Bravo might be about right, and the 7year warranty with the Kia makes it a very interesting proposition.

    Clio, Corsa, Polo… the list goes on. Guessing I’ll be trawling garages next weekend.

    February 21, 2010
  5. graybo said:

    BW – don’t BMW make a rather nice small diesel? (…googles…) 118d Sport, apparently. Rather pricey, but a recent second-hand model might do the job. And definitely only sips diesel rather than guzzle (52mpg according to BMW, so probably 45 IRL), whilst still doing 0-60 in a perfectly acceptable 9 seconds. Of course, driving a BMW does leave you open to suggestions of being w**ker – it comes with the badge. I’ll stick with my innocuous grey Megane – doesn’t attract any attention at all.

    February 24, 2010

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