I will happily source car sales and reliability statistics from wherever I can find them. Proper stats, that is, not marketing campaigns masquerading as ‘consumer surveys’. Real information on real sales and real breakdowns.
Actually, genuine car fault data is hard to come by. In this case, though, there is a peek into what real people are buying of late, courtesy of the car finance people at Choose My Car. Apparently, the Nissan Juke is the most-bought used car as buyers switch from brand-new models to two-year-olds, saving themselves several grand in the process.
I do struggle just a bit with the Juke. My daughter mispronounces it with a ‘P’, but it isn’t overtly SUV-like and it’s decent enough to drive – and you can’t mistake it for anything else. All plus points, so what can we buy? Well, if you want a brand-new one, it is quite easy to get £3000-plus off at your local Nissan dealer. Or you could spend that saving – well, £3995 to be precise – on a 100,000-mile 2012 1.5 dCi Acenta Premium. This was at a dealer so there is some protection, and it’s a top-spec example with just a partial service history question mark. Prefer a lower-mile petrol? Then a 2012 1.6 Tekna with 67,000 miles and leather, plus a load of other things, including rain-sensing wipers, for £5600 at a car supermarket.
Another used car we’re fancying at the moment is the ever-dependable Skoda Octavia. Spiritually, I’m drawn to £1250-worth of 2002 1.9 TDI in top-spec Laurent & Klement trim and with over 100,000 miles, but it has leather and a very excellent MOT history. If that’s too old for you, then spend £6990 and get a 2016-shape, 60,000-mile 1.4 TSI. It comes with a full service history and, best of all for some, it is ULEZ compliant. That makes it pretty much the perfect used buy right now. So far, so very average.
So how about a BMW 3 Series? Specifically, the saloon is in the top three of most-bought used cars right now. An £1800 320i from 2007 with M Sport trimmings and a solid 134,000 miles certainly looked the part. It’s a private sale so I’m taking a chance but, as a manual example, it should be fun as well as practical. Then again, a properly big-engined 325i from 2008 at just over £4000 is worth a go, even with an automatic gearbox and a very reasonable 75,000 miles. Honestly, there are so many to choose from this particular era of still decently attractive and purposeful BMWs. No wonder buyers are looking at them. Well, they’re probably looking at much later ones too, like a 2012 320d Efficient Dynamics job with 60,000 miles up at a reasonable £7495.
However, I do think buyers should be considering some properly sporty numbers. Maybe next time.
Tales from Ruppert's garage