What should my next car be? Help me choose!
So my car is approaching its MOT time and insurance renewal. It's a nearly-10-year-old Vauxhall Astra with over 100k on the clock, it's my first car and one I've properly learned to drive in so it didn't have the easiest life.
Meaning it's time for an upgrade! But what fits the bill?
I'm a 20-year-old student taking a year out of Uni to do a full-time internship meaning I commute quite a lot hence the car needs to be at least a bit efficient but also stylish (I'm shallow) and fun to drive. Most of all it can't be boring, so no Fiestas or Golfs (sorry hatchbacks fans). All that for £5000 or less, whats there?
#1 Alfa Romeo GTV V6 Busso
Welp this car breaks pretty much all of the above criteria but it's absolutely gorgeous and as I said I'm shallow when it comes to these things and the Busso V6 constitutes what has to the best exhaust note this side of a Ferrari.
I really, really want one, and strangely enough insurance isn't much higher than for my current car. Of course, it's almost guaranteed it will break down, but that's okay it's all a part of the charm and working at a car company I'm sure my boss would understand. More worrying is the fuel consumption of the V6 which combined with maintenance is likely to run me dry.
#2 BMW E90 320i/325i/320D Touring
It's smart & stylish, practical and fun to drive, perfect right? Well, it's a bit tricky with the UK car insurance, you see if I go for the 'sensible' option of a diesel or a small petrol I will face stupidly high insurance as it's the most common ones out there meaning they get crashed a lot.
Bizarrely the insurers would be happy to insure me on a 330i the problem here is that ones in good nick are out of my budget those that are in the budget are usually pretty used up. Also, I'm pretty sure my girlfriend would break up if I bought one of these as she hates anything with a BMW badge.
Mazda 3, the one I should've got..
Mazda 3 is the underappreciated king of hatchbacks, it's great looking with best in class handling, the engines are efficient, powerful and reliable and the interior equipment is quite generous. It's the car I should've bought in the first place but the Astra had a fantastic family discount coming from my parents so here we are.
First 2 generations used the same underpinnings as the Ford Focus but with improvements on it in every single department, handling, looks, equipment and engines in the latter models. Just don't tell that to my mate Nick – he has one and I don't want him to feel too good about it...
Back to Alfas... the 159 Sportwagon JTD
The GTV looks great and goes like f*ck, but is kind of lacking in other categories, meanwhile the 159 is one of the best looking saloons/wagons in my budget, it's also practical handles okay and is quite quick. Sadly it suffers from severe Alfanitiess meaning its electronics temperamental and the JTS engines love nothing more than to bend a valve if not cared for well by the previous owner.
This leaves me with the diesels, surprisingly they are the most reliable Alfa engines mainly cause they are actually Opel.. .but that would leave me with a great looking car with poor electrics and a tractor noise which is a scary scenario.
Toyota MR2 SW20/W30
Believe it or not, this is the car 18-year-old me was saving up for before my girlfriend, parents and ever-changing insurance shut the plan down...
The mid-engined 2 seater MR2 is one of the best handling cars in the budget. The 3rd gen car is also quite easy to live with thanks to its modern efficient engine and refined handling, 2nd gen car is a bit older and thus rougher but the looks are to die for and the turbocharged version is a serious performer even today.