Off-topic chat. May contain offensive language or images.
As promised, an update - mainly for JamesH!

So, after 2 years of owning the Mondeo ST (2.2 diesel), I got fed up of it (more to it than that, but not going into details) and have gone back to something FAR less sensible.

Have now got a RenaultSport Megane..! Me being me, it has....

Full Milltek exhaust system, including Sports CAT*
Forge BOV*
K&N induction kit
silicone turbo intake hose
re-mapped to 260bhp

* already fitted to car before I bought it

Needless to say; it goes like stink, makes all the right noises (sucking in air on the throttle and tsssshing with the BOV) and being a RS Megane, handles like a dream. I fecking love it.

Will try to dig up a pic...
Cor that looks tasty. My friend had one of these and it was a weapon and a half!

I've had a couple of cars since the end of the show in 2012, and I'm not sure I shared them here so here we go...

My current daily driver is this:
Toyota Celica VVTi 140 - Nothing amazing performance wise but handles like a go-kart!

I had this for a year or so before it got too many things wrong with it :(
Nissan Stagea RS FOUR - Essentially a Skyline estate - with a 2.5 turbo lump inside and the ATTESSA 4WD system from the GT-R. Went like shit off the proverbial shovel, and I miss it :(

I was then offered this by a friend to replace it (for some reason I always have two cars!)
Audi Cabriolet 2.6E V6. Only 150bhp but more torquey than the Celica and hey, it's got no roof! :D About to retire it to the garage for the winter though as the nights draw in
I've just read through this entire thread -- there are some knowledgeable people here!

I'm looking to buy a car soon and I'm hoping you'll be able to offer up your advice.

Of late, I've been commuting by train in the main, but with a new job, I can only practically get there by car. I have been cycling there up to now, but that's getting old and the route is one of the "red routes" -- the most dangerous roads in the county, and I'm not planning on dying yet. :D

So, the deets:

My commute is about 20 to 35 miles per week or ~2,000 miles per year. I'm guessing on 2,500 miles in total per year including other use, so very little mileage.

Initially, I want to buy something dirt cheap, as I don't know how long the current gig will last. I may end up upgrading to a nicer model later, but I'm looking for something to last a year or so.

My budget is around £500. Maybe more, if needed.

As to what car, the only cars I don't think will work are very small cars like the Micra and Corsa. I've driven both in the past and they're just too small for me. I can barely drive them! I had no problem fitting in my MkII MR2s, though. I'm not a giant!

It'd be nice to get something with cheap insurance and VED, but not essential.

I don't really care about the cosmetic side -- it appears dealers will sell off P/X cars at very low prices when they have a couple of dents, although that does make me worry about more major unseeen damage -- would a history check cover all that?

I'm not bothered about the manufacturer, but obviously prefer something reliable. Performance isn't really an issue, as the distances covered are fairly short. MPG probably won't be too much of an issue either, as I won't be doing many miles.

I'm veering towards buying a s***box from a dealer as then at least there's some comeback if something goes wrong, but I'm wary of dodgy-looking dealers in Auto Trader with photos that look like they're taken in odd places.

Should I be wary of that? How do you determine a trustworthy dealer? Should I look at Gumtree and/or eBay? I think I'd need to take someone along who knows cars, though.

I'm in Surrey and will happily travel up to 20 miles, possibly further if necessary.

Thanks for any advice you can give!


There's a new service the gov't launched last year allowing you to check the MOT history on cars. Do this before you even pick the phone up, it can identify potential problems and show up cars with a "less than glorious" past.

As for cars, me being me would suggest to get something Japanese. I've done 60,000 miles in the Celica in 3 years and it's not needed anything doing bar usual servicing and a set of front discs.

I had a diesel Almera and had no problems with that, although it might be a bit over your price range. The 2000+ 1.5 petrol models have issues with timing chain stretch so the 1.8 is the way to go on those.

Do looks matter to you is the main question I guess :D
James H wrote:There's a new service the gov't launched last year allowing you to check the MOT history on cars. Do this before you even pick the phone up, it can identify potential problems and show up cars with a "less than glorious" past.

Yeah, this has not done 16,000 miles: ... 1220328890

Not when in 2008:

Test date
21 January 2008
Test Result
Odometer reading 83,660 miles
MOT test number 1448 4132 8049
Reason(s) for failure
Nearside Front Tyre tread depth below requirements of 1.6mm (4.1.E.1)
Offside Front Tyre tread depth below requirements of 1.6mm (4.1.E.1)
Nearside Front position lamp(s) not working (1.1.A.3b)
Offside Front position lamp(s) not working (1.1.A.3b)
Nearside Registration plate lamp not working (1.1.5c)
Horn not working (1.6.2a)

You used to just be able to check cars for which you had a V5 reference number (or old MOT certificate) but they opened it up to all last year, has really helped out when looking for second hand cars!
No I mean I didn't think you could just plug a drill in and run it backwards any more or whatever they used to do... I guess if they get into the software they can do it though.
I know very little about cars, but I do know that if Halford's can do it, they'll almost certainly charge more than a smaller local shop or garage to do it, they are rip off merchants. Personally I'd try to find a local place.
Fair point. If "away" is Milton Keynes, I can definitely recommend a place.
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