Family car recommendations?

    Going a bit crazy trying to work out what car to go for. There's me, my wife and our baby. We currently have a 2001 Ford focus, I might be getting a small amount of money and would like to change it as I think It's about to cost us a lot of money.

    It has to be at least the size of a focus, we camp often and the stuff only just fits in, and I mean just! Too big and my wife won't drive it (mondeo estate would be too big)

    Good fuel economy and cheapish tax are important.

    Budget 4k plus my car, so 4.5k ish

    Any ideas?


    Pope mobile going cheap next week

    Original Poster

    Thanks, done too many miles and will probably be covered in eggs etc. By the end of the week.......

    I love my Mazdas , have a mazda 6 which might be too big as its easy the size of a mondeo. my mazda 3 is economical to run and cheapish to tax.. lots of boot space too..copes with me & the two kids and the other half ( plus the dog) my next car would have to be the mazda 5
    never had any problems with them letting me down etc...

    Citroen Xsara Picasso, for £4k you should be able to get a 56 plate, go for the Desire model as you get colour coded bumpers and stuff and the majority had air con. 1.6 petrol model can be a bit thrashy but the 1.8 engine is excellent. Diesels attract a premium price. Class leading storage space with 550 litres in the boot. There will be plenty around and drive a hard bargain, the market is pretty flat, ignore garage prices they are well inflated. Buy private and source a warranty separate, Black Horse should be around £200 for decent level of cover.The steel is pretty flimsy so look out for dents and haggle accordingly. In November 2009 we sold a good condition 2006 (56 plate) 1.6 Desire with air con and alloy wheels with only 21k miles for £5100 through Autotrader.

    I think that the first thing you need to decide is what type of car you are (ideally) looking for, e.g.:

    small family hatchback? (e.g. Ford Focus, VW Golf, Honda Civic, etc)
    family car? (e.g. Ford Mondeo, VW Passat, Mazda 6, etc)
    MPV? (might be easier for your wife to drive than a large estate and in my experience many women love the slightly higher seat position) (e.g. Ford Focus C-MAX, Vauxhall Zafira, Citroen Xsara Picasso, etc)

    Loads of things you need to decide, e.g:
    - preference of particular body shapes (cars, not people) and makes
    - any issues with parking on road/driveway/garage
    - would you rather have slightly more space or slightly better fuel economy/less tax/etc?

    But I think that the first thing you need to decide is the ideal body shape for your car, and I expect that your wife will have strong views on what she likes and dislikes. Then it is easier to narrow down the options.



    We moved from a Picasso to a C-Max, here's my thoughts.
    Much more space in the Picasso, the C-Max drives better, C-Max is better built, Picasso is cheaper, servicing for C-Max is cheaper, the C-Max is built better, C-Max is not French!

    We miss the space of the Picasso when going camping, but the C-Max is a better car.

    I agree with a citreon picasso, thats what we have as a family car (_;)

    Getting rid of my C-Max for a Qashqai 2.........bleeding waiting list though


    I agree with a citreon picasso, thats what we have as a family car (_;)

    £200 road tax now on Pics.... robbers


    £200 road tax now on Pics.... robbers

    Yeh, i know , just taxed mine couple of weeks ago and it was £235 for year , my mum taxed her picanto the same time and was only £90 for year oO

    Original Poster

    C max is looking like a good shout, like a focus but bigger. Can't seem to find a diesel for under 6k though, will run it by the wife. She doesn't drive it often, but she still needs to be able to

    Skoda Octavia

    Original Poster

    Nevermind about the 6k comment, I was looking at C-Max, not Focus C-Max

    Vauxhall Zafira, Optional seating as well. Do have their problems, Smoky engines etc but practical.

    C-Max would be a good choice.

    Never buy a second hand French car...!!! Especially Citreon, You'll have nothing but electrical problems. Also their made out of cheese and tend to rattle a lot. Very poor build quality.

    Original Poster

    Think we're going to look at some C-Maxes at the weekend, hard to tell until we've sat in one.

    I'm 6ft 5 and my wife is 5ft 4, so it's kind of got to be jack of all trades!

    DO NOT BUY A FRENCH CAR!!!!!!!!!!

    they might look fancy but wont do you any good!

    mazda3/skoda octavia something with a decent reputation

    Original Poster

    Ok, focus isn't French!

    so have you decided on an MPV then?

    and what's your annual mileage? If low, you don't need diesel...

    If you are looking at compact MPVs other ones to consider are Toyota corolla verso, Mazda 5 (or premacy but they're getting on a bit), Vauxhall Zafira etc

    I would deffo look at C-max's (the Focus C-max and C-max is the same car btw) It was rebranded and dropped the 'focus' bit in around 2006/2007.

    We bought an 04 with only 36000 on clock in April ready for the birth of our daughter and I cant recommend it highly enough, Plenty of room in the back, massive boot and more importantly it drives likes a car instead of a bus. It is not menat to be a people carrier like the Picasso it is a large family car (you want an S-max if you want more space)

    We have a 1.6 Zetec and for a larger car it is pokey, they also do a 1.8 and 2.0 Zetec, and a 2.0 TDI, good thing is parts are cheap also because they have exactly the same mechanical parts as a focus.

    There is a black 05 plate 1.6 near me for £4500 on the forecourt (NG10) so you would be looking around your budget. I would find one and test drive it, you might like it. I would definately buy another one and maybe even an S-Max next.

    Original Poster

    Thanks all. I think Compact MPV is the choice for us, a larger car without having to be a member of the RSPB and wear a flat cap.

    Cheap parts, lots of space, no real issues from reading around, cheap tax, good MPG. Now just need to find the right one.

    We do less than 5000 miles per year, sometimes a lot less.

    Original Poster

    Been to look at the focus c max, found a 1.8 petrol zetec with 57000 miles in the budget, we don't do that many miles, would a petrol be ok?
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