Buying first car - recommendations please

annette82, Dec 10, 9:52am
Hi everyone, I'm currently on the hunt for my first car.
Looking for an automatic, 2 door or small 4 door hatchback/coupe, reliable, cheap to run.$2,500 max.Would be using it for daily commute to work and probably a few trips a year Hawke's Bay to Wellington.
Not much choice in Hawke's Bay so I've been looking in Wellington but family will be checking them out for me down there.
What models would you recommend for that price bracket! And what should I avoid like the plague!

thejazzpianoma, Dec 10, 10:23am
Firstly, in the price range there is a HUGE advantage if you can go manual instead of auto. Both in reliability and running costs. Is learning to drive a manual an option!

michael.benn, Dec 10, 11:38am
Two door automatic Honda Civic hatchback surely wouldn't be a terrible choice.

annette82, Dec 10, 10:27pm
I've noticed the price difference on here between automatic and manual, I'm currently learning in an auto and can't access a manual for lessons.It's also taken me this long to even start driving that I'm just concentrating on getting my skills up and once competent then I will may later look at learning to drive a manual.

msigg, Dec 10, 10:37pm
Toyota or nissan, best bet is probably a nissa primera. Auto is pretty good on those, good economy and resonable size, 1800cc or 2000cc. Get it checked out buy car inspections or AA, biggest problem in that age /price is the cooling system, most engines will go forever untill they are overheated. So must have a good cooling system. All the best.

rojill, Dec 10, 10:48pm
Pedal car !

kcf, Dec 10, 11:48pm
Corolla / Pulsar / Sentra / Familia / Civic.In all of them, the manual is likely to be cheaper to run

franc123, Dec 10, 11:59pm
You should be able to pick up a Toyota Cynos for that budget, they're a reasonably priced small coupe thats often forgotten about by many buyers in the stampede to fork out heaps of dollars to buy a Corolla, and its the same vehicle only with a different body.If that doesn't take your fancy I would also agree with the above and not being afraid to look at the 1800-2000cc category, there can often be better comfort, power and value for money to be found there for not much more running cost.

kazbanz, Dec 11, 12:16am
annette-I'd like to suggest you are doing this a bit backwards.
MOST little cars are or were pretty good cars.
Why not look at a few listings that take your fancy and then we can offer advice on thjose specific cars.

mugenb20b, Dec 11, 8:11am
I'd be looking at those two Toyotas, both good cars and mechanically almost identical. Keep away from automatic Mitsis and 2.5 litre Subarus.

annette82, Dec 13, 6:21am
Well haven't been able to see that Corolla as it's a bit out of the way.
A nice looking Cynos was test driven today, sadly not as nice as the pics and was rather rough looking and to drive too.
Getting so frustrating looking for a car, I just wish the perfect car was listed and in my price range.

cuda.340, Dec 13, 6:56am
when looking for my daughters first car i was constantly told to buy Toyota. problem was, all the Toyotas in the 1500-2000 price range were crap. most had things that didn't work. my mechanic mate who came to look at one car was pushing me hard to buy this toyota hatchback. i didn't like it but he bought it. the trans failed 6 weeks later. i ended up buying a Mazda AZ3. everything worked & it had a ton of options. she still has it today & it's close to 2 years ago we bought it. no big maint bills yet & she loves her lil sporty car.
don't be sucked into the Toyota hype, buy whatever you like, but the Mazda impressed me & i'd buy her another.

grangies, Dec 13, 7:35am
I'd go for the Honda Integra.

It may look a bit weird but they are fairly well built/finished.

Forget those old Mitsi's (mid to late 90's) . They were the cheapest and nastiest vehicles on the market when new, and are junk.

annette82, Dec 14, 2:15am
Will definitely be looking at the Integra, I'm more worried its a bit big for my needs - it will only be me driving and maybe one passenger every so often so not even a 4 door is required for me- but there isn't a big selection of listings to choose from.
Thanks for info in Mitsi I have never been particularly keen on them anyway and always known them a has guzzlers but now more reason to stay away from them.

vtecintegra, Dec 14, 2:17am
None of that is true though

richardmayes, Dec 14, 4:56am
I vote for an Integra, Civic or Corolla.

VW Golf would probably be the nicest car on your list, but any time a little black box breaks it is going to cost a premium to replace compared to the equivalent little black box in a Honda Integra. (Although European Car fetishists will swear black and blue that this isn't true.)

Avoid little Starlets/Tercels. Also things like Daihatsus, Suzukis, Subaru Justysetc.
The bodies of micro-cars like these are VERY lacking in strength compared to proper cars. This is something worth worrying about if you are going to be using your car for highway trips or commuting on the motorway.
The Corolla, Golf and Integra aren't **big** cars, but they do provide a LOT more structure around you than a horrible little micro car does. (Again, certain fetishists will swear black & blue that crash safety is all marketing BS, dreamed up in order to sell new cars with airbags. Don't listen to these people!)

kcf, Jun 6, 12:12pm
One thing to be very aware of in a Cynos is that you can only fit midgets in the back seat due to the angle of the rear window being completely over the back seat.Also, they're near impossible to judge the back on when you're reversing.

Mechanically they're really just a Starlet, so they go pretty well forever.Check for smoke on start up, as they can get hard valve stem seals.So ensure you're able to start the car cold and watch the exhaust.If the car has mysteriously been warmed up every time you've viewed the car, the seller might be running the car first so it burns off the oil.I've been burnt by that particular trick in a Cynos I picked up.