Replacement car

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plastic penguin
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Getting close to a position where I'll need to trade-in my Alfa for something a little newer.

The Alfa is a fabulous car: Really good performance and handling; fuel consumption is good, unless you 'cane it' around. It's mechanically very reliable and immense fun to drive. However, over the past couple of weeks I've started to spend money: the cambelt needed changing. The garage also told me the suspension bar o/s needs replacing; the windscreen wipers only work on 'full speed', and it has a fetish for eating light bulbs. BTW, it has 98,000 on the clock. The 1.8 engine is still superbly tight and knock-free.

Anyway, enough of that sob story: Looked at a Audi A4 saloon 1.8 and what a wonderful car this is: has all the "bells and whistles", very smooth, beautiful driving car. However, despite all the thumbs ups, it gives incredibly sterile driving experience. After the test drive I came away feeling I had met the Rolling Stones without Jagger. Something was missing in comparison to the Alfa.

Not in any immediate rush to change, but any suggestions for a reasonably cost-effective replacement for my Alfa would be appreciated.

Cheers, pp

Diplomat
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Joined: 2011-10-23

Hi Plastic Penguin. What is your criteria for the car? What is your budget? What kind of size car and size engine are you after?

plastic penguin
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Budget will be around 5-6k. Looking for a sporty feeling car, with an engine no larger than 2.0 litre, in addition to being an estate car (5 doors). With the Alfa I've been spoilt to a degree

My Alfa is a 156 Sportwagon 1.8L Twin Spark.

Diplomat
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plastic penguin wrote:

Budget will be around 5-6k. Looking for a sporty feeling car, with an engine no larger than 2.0 litre, in addition to being an estate car (5 doors). With the Alfa I've been spoilt to a degree

My Alfa is a 156 Sportwagon 1.8L Twin Spark.

The Alfa sounds very nice. It's a shame you have to part with it, so best to make sure its replacement is good!

Now that the new 3-Series is out, you could find an early previous generation one for just within your budget. You'd probably be looking at four pots, but the running costs with those tend to be very low. Also, check out the Volvo V50. They are very good cars too.

Good luck finding your next car!

Coventry Climax
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I was about to suggest another Alfa, but that raises the question of why not just have the one you've got sorted out. It would probably be cheaper than buying a newer one, and it doesn't sound like there's anything too serious wrong with the one you've got.

plastic penguin
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Fair comment CC. However, as you probably know once a car gets to a certain age/mileage and start goin' wrong, you just end up spending more and more on a car that's only worth tuppence now. For sure, to drive, after 5 years, it still puts a grin on my face, something the Audi didn't do.

Being a pragmatist, I need to weigh up the 'pros' and 'cons'; all cars die eventually, and the boot space isn't the biggest (Mrs. P is a wheelchair user, and we have a 9 year old), but the newer 159 does offer, according to the spec sheet, a slightly larger boot. However, at the moment, the 159 is a little over budget.

True, there isn't any major problems at the mo but all these little niggly foibles add up.

I have been looking at one these:

Diplomat
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That X-Type's very nice! Early current generation Mazda6s are worth a look. They're good fun to drive and are very practical and durable.

James Elliott
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I reckon in that price range and with those criteria, everything is going to feel a bit sterile in comparison to the Sportwagon!

Among the ones that might make you smile (with fewer Alfa-esque glitches) are the Rover 75/MG ZT-T estates and, of course, there is always the old fallback of the BMW 3 Series which is such an obvious choice it hurts. If you want the full performance package there is the Impreza of course.

However, for value for money matched with punch, reliability and support, I would want a very close look at the Skoda Octavia VRS estate.

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plastic penguin
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James Elliott wrote:

I reckon in that price range and with those criteria, everything is going to feel a bit sterile in comparison to the Sportwagon!

Among the ones that might make you smile (with fewer Alfa-esque glitches) are the Rover 75/MG ZT-T estates and, of course, there is always the old fallback of the BMW 3 Series which is such an obvious choice it hurts. If you want the full performance package there is the Impreza of course.

However, for value for money matched with punch, reliability and support, I would want a very close look at the Skoda Octavia VRS estate.

Odd you should mention a Skoda. This morning I saw a VRS parked in our village, and I believe they have a Audi power plant and suspension (?). May have to look at one close-up.

Regards BMW, for some peculiar reason, they just don't 'do it' for me.

Diplomat
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plastic penguin wrote:

 I believe they have a Audi power plant and suspension (?).

Both Audi and Skoda (as well as SEAT) are owned by VW, so they use the same engines in their mainstream cars.

Chris Martin
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Joined: 2011-08-20

So, are we any nearer to finding a replacement yet?

Although it sounds that from what your are looking at, it will have no place on a classic car forum, we maybe all have use for the 'white goods' that passes for modern wheels.

But, more important how is the Triumph doing? Maybe that should be your everyday car and save money and score cool points at the same time. Don't rule it out so fast......

Chris M.