I'm about ready to buy my second car. My 307 has been a great little runner, and has seen some trips but it's really let the French quality shine through and is too expensive to keep up with the repairs. I'm after a good quality used car for everyday use and long road trips every other month, I'm talking to the top of Scotland to hundreds of miles across Europe. I've been told I should be looking at Audi, BMW and VW for best reliability. Any suggestions?
Ones I've been looking at are:
BMW 1/3 Series
And a few others...
I'm just not really sure what I need to be looking at, I want something sporty.
It's worth knowing how old the cars you're looking at are, particularly when mentioning the Audi and Volkswagen options. I don’t know what engine size you’re looking at, but around here the 1.9 and 2.0 TDI engines are the most common.
The 2.0 gets a reputation for being an absolute dog, though newer years are apparently significantly improved. Off the top of my head, I’ve read complaints about the 2006 model year for sure. The 1.9 seems to get a good enough name, but if it has been abused then problems are still going to crop up, after all. Here it’s by far the most common engine in any of the ###### cars, but that’s not to say it’s a perfect unit either. It's not much, but here are two quick links I found on the 2.0 engines in particular.
In regards to the J.D. Power rankings, Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda all came in the Top 10 (link) . With Volkswagen owning all three of those brands, it could be testament to very good quality from the company..It might sound like I'm attacking Volkswagen's cars, but I'm not really. I do like a lot of the cars produced by the company, not that I've ever had the chance to drive any of them. I'm going to pass over the Vauxhall and the BMWs, since there's little I know about them.
Since I don’t know how far back you might want to go this idea could be totally worthless, but how about a Lexus? They came second on customer satisfaction, and the older IS model is meant to be nice. I’m not sure about MPG and the like (don’t think it’s great), but the Sport model came with a limited slip differential as standard IIRC. There's also plenty of modification that can be done, assuming you'd want to go down that route. There's no getting away from the fact it's an older car than you might like, however.
Here's another daft one that popped into my head: Skoda Octavia VRS. Apparently they're fairly sporty in VRS flavor despite the old Octavia looking like a pensioner's cruiser. A used one could be good, but I'm not sure what the pricing is like on the mainland. Of all the unorthodox possibilities I had in my head, the Octavia seems like it makes the most sense. I was going to say a Focus ST, but they're probably not the easiest to run or maintain.
No guarantee that this has been any help but I can certainly try further if it isn't.