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Buying a New Car Advice (Europe)

Hey everyone, Happy Holidays!
I am about to buy my first car (new driver) and I am looking for some advice.

It will mainly be used for (in the same order):
1st motorway transport
2nd driving around town
3rd Weekend trips

The roads in the country i’m moving in will be fairly rough (cracked pavements etc.)

For now, I have focused on the following characteristics:
Transmission: Manual transmission
Manufacturers: Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda, Mazda
Year of production: around 2010
Budget: 4-5k euro (including repairs)

I am wondering about the following questions

  1. Which characteristics are most important in my situation? (economy, power, handling, safety, etc …)
  2. What is your opinion about the models below?
  3. Can you recommend something better?

Thanks and happy holidays!

Viewed Models:
Toyota Corolla
Honda Accord
Mazda 6
Toyota Rav4
Honda Civic
Toyota Camry
VW Passat

is it even worth looking at things like this for my price range :slight_smile: :
Mazda MX-5

My suggestion is to eliminate the Passat from your list. VWs have a much worse reliability record than any of the Japanese models that you listed, and a 10 year old VW will likely need a lot of expensive repairs over the next few years.

Also, make sure that any of the Toyotas you are looking at are model year 2010 or newer. For a couple of years (2008-2009 IIRC), their four cylinder engines were manufactured with defective piston rings, and those engines consume a LOT of oil.


This is mostly a US forum site and since you may be in the United Kingdom you may have models we have no knowledge of. Simply put find what you might want a pay a shop to look it over before you buy it and check if the selling dealer will offer some kind of warranty. If you buy from an individual you will have no recourse after purchase . You are buying a used vehicle so it has to stand on it’s own as to how good it is. Do you not have a relative or friend to at least go with you that might see that you should consider or pass.

Concur on the Passat. VW’s are less reliable than the other brands you mentioned no matter what country you’re in.

Only you can tell what characteristics are most important to you. There is a lot of difference between some of your models (Camry vs Miata, for instance), so you might want to figure out what kind of vehicle you want before you start looking at specific models.

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I have to wonder about the manual transmission on the list. I know that manuals are more common in Europe but it also a fact that a new driver can destroy a clutch in a very short time . Plus that leaves some very good automatic vehicles off the list.

You have too wide of a range of choices. If you want lowest cost balanced with highest reliability, it would be better to have a newer Corolla than an older Rav4, for example.
I also agree that if you are a newer driver on rougher roads, an automatic might be best for a first car. Then save your money for an older MX-5 manual, just for fun.

Decide what is important to you. If you want a lot of room for cargo, consider an SUV like the RAV4. You might also consider the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CRV if they are available where you will live. If you want a sedan or coupe, determine the size and fuel mileage you want. Fuel is so expensive in Europe that this will be more important than in the USA, where most of us live. Another issue is highway speeds. If there are unlimited speeds on the highways you will drive, make sure the car can handle that. Since you mentioned poor road conditions, my guess is you will more likely be in Eastern Europe. Consider whether the car you get will be easily repaired in your new home. You don’t want to buy a good brand just to find out there are almost none there.

Also it’s useful to know that while a VW is less reliable than a Toyota, that doesn’t make it unreliable. If you like a car and the price is great, consider it even if it is from a traditional European manufacturer. At 5000€, it must be used, and you should have a mechanic you trust give it a prepurchase inspection.

Your budget is VERY tight, you’ll need to see what’s available, take the best vehicle you can find in your price range.

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Given the poor roads I’d lean toward the Rav4. In the end, though, it’s going to come down to the best vehicle for the money and your budget is very tight.