Car affordability - best brands, age

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We live in Berlin and our family all seem to be suffering from lack of exposure to nature! We want to buy a station wagon type car that we can use for family trips and camping. I've never owned a vehicle in Germany before and I'm not very familiar with running and maintenance costs between different brands. Back home in New Zealand, German-made cars were to be be avoided because of their complicated technology meaning high mechanic bills if something went wrong, versus Toyota or Nissan which were reliable or cheap to repair. But I imagine it's a different situation here.

 

Does anyone have any advice on which car brands represent the best value in terms of running costs, depreciation etc?

 

Or any station wagon models that can be had for a good price? Our budget to buy the car would be pretty low -2,500-5,000 euros. 

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When we looked at station wagons, we found that the low end is the Dacia Logan which really has nothing to recommend it except the price.  However the price is significantly lower so if that is you major concern than you might consider one. I didn't like them at all, but I think the new car price for one is under 9000€.  

 

Then the Ford Focus Turnier, which is what we got, which is a good car that is decently outfitted.  The only complaint that we have is that it has surprisingly little leg room if you are tall.  I can just barely drive the thing if there is a passenger behind me because to give them legroom at all, I have to be smashed up against the steering wheel. 

 

The next is the Opel Astra which tend to be a bit more.  We decided not to go with that because we did not like it better than the Ford and it tended to be more expensive. 

 

Then comes the Audis, the Mercedes and the others which are most likely outside of your budget and where I really can't advise.

 

We liked the Ford Turnier as an affordable family car but not sized right for us.    

 

 

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We are still quite happy with our Skoda Superb wagon. It is 9 yrs. old and we've had zero problems. Lots of leg room front and back seats. If we were to buy again today, we'd probably buy the same but used.

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A few tips:

  • avoid diesel, it adds a lot to maintenance costs, car purchase cost and will probably be banned anyway
  • if you buy petrol, you need to aim for a lower total number of km than diesel
  • insurance costs are crazy! If you have no past history, your insurance will be very high for the first few years
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Words I never thought I'd write - don't buy a car, you don't need to. You said you only want the car for occasional trips, you live in Berlin and have a very modest budget. If that budget reflects all you have to spend on a car, then it's really not financially sensible. Don't forget that in addition to the purchase price you have got insurance, tax, servicing, HU, a spare set of tyres (and changing/storing costs unless you have time and space to do it yourself) and parking. With your budget, you may also run into issues with getting something "green" enough to use in Berlin. 

Financially, it looks like you'd be way better off renting a decent size vehicle as and when you needed it. Sure, it's a bit of a pain going and hiring a car, but it's a lot less time intensive to visit a hire company a few times a year (or even once a month) than have to deal with the garage visits to maintain the older car you are considering buying. I bet you'd find the rental costs way less than the annual upkeep costs of the vehicle - that means you could spend the 2.5-5k you were looking to spend on a car on something else instead.

If (as people often like to do) you would prefer to ignore that advice, then I would suggest that in your price bracket you go ugly and go for something like a Citroen Berlingo. There are tonnes of them about (Peugeot and Fiat do their own versions of the same car), and you'd be amazed how much stuff you can get in one - WAY more than in any estate/station wagon.  

https://suchen.mobile.de/fahrzeuge/details.html?id=297166081&cn=DE&damageUnrepaired=NO_DAMAGE_UNREPAIRED&fuels=PETROL&gn=Berlin&isSearchRequest=true&ll=52.516071%2C13.37698&makeModelVariant1.makeId=5900&makeModelVariant1.modelId=5&maxPrice=4000&pageNumber=1&rd=10&scopeId=C&sfmr=false&fnai=next&searchId=b907b5ec-fbd1-44be-84d9-19b5cde879b1

 

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I would recommend Toyota Corolla e12 with petrol engines. The car is not engineering advanced like the same age European cars but it is very reliable and mainly requires only maintenance. In addition, it has a timing chain which don't have to be changed regularly like a timing belt.

 

If you can find it with fresh TÜV or 1 year left, it is also a good sign. If it has some scratches (not to the metal) and / or small dents, it reduces the price without the lack of the technical quality. Don't trust the mileage but look at the tear of the driver seat, buttons, safety belt, armrest etc. 

 

I personally have e12 wagon and am quite satisfied with it. 

 

You can look at other vehicles with the similar specs: petrol, timing chain, simple suspension (MacPherson front, torsion beam back) 

 

The cost of renting a car might be cheaper, but not everything measures in money. I don't like rental equipment and prefer to have all things I use regularly.

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On 5/13/2020, 12:56:16, dstanners said:

Words I never thought I'd write - don't buy a car, you don't need to.

In post-corona world, owning a car will be more valued, as it avoids mass transit systems.

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3 hours ago, MikeMelga said:

In post-corona world, owning a car will be more valued, as it avoids mass transit systems.

 

There is currently a boom of e-bikes, like a serious boom.   And it is good timing because this year they were finally getting good.

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On 5/23/2020, 6:50:16, MikeMelga said:

In post-corona world, owning a car will be more valued, as it avoids mass transit systems.

Seems this way. My colleagues are getting skeptical of me travelling in a train and want me to buy a car. I was initially divided but gave thought for it. Being my first car, I would like to get a kleinwagen. I am 185 cm so would need some legroom. I am not sure on how to proceed as I am paying 170 Euros p/m for really bad DB connections. Enlighten me my dear Toytowners:::

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I would suggest a car 3 to 5 year old, so somebody else paid the high depreciation of the first years.

If you have to use the autobahn, driving a car with little more power -150PS- is less stressful. Pedal to the metal when you have to overtake and your are on the right lane again.

Otherwise a little Corsa/Polo/Skoda/Peugeot etc. would do.

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If it is your first car in Germany and you want an small one, a VW Golf can be a good option.

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I have a question: why isnt LPG more common in Germany for private use? In Portugal it is very common to convert cheap petrol cars to LPG and then you fuel costs drop to almost half.

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My Peugeout 207sw costed me something near 5k 3yr ago, 8yr old and 90k on the clock at the time.

Since then it costed me an average of 79eur/month, including petrol tax insurance repairs.

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1 minute ago, MikeMelga said:

I have a question: why isnt LPG more common in Germany for private use? In Portugal it is very common to convert cheap petrol cars to LPG and then you fuel costs drop to almost half.

 

We had so far 3 cars with LPG and it has been great.   From what I know, plenty of Germans believe that LPG damages the car's engine.   Another issue is the inability for the government to guarantee the LPG tax benefits in the long term, if people are not sure the prices will remain that low for several years then they will not have interest in taking the risk of not been able to recover the investment.  And another thing is that the LPG consume scalates faster relative to speed compared to benzine or diesel, so when you drive really fast the consume skyrockets, and as you know, German drivers like to speed in the Autobahn, this is not a major problem in other EU countries because the max speed is normally 130 km/h.

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4 minutes ago, Gambatte said:

My Peugeout 207sw costed me something near 5k 3yr ago, 8yr old and 90k on the clock at the time.

Since then it costed me an average of 79eur/month, including petrol tax insurance repairs.

 

Ditto :P (Let me guess - timing chain and everything connected to it?)

 

But I sold my Peug only 2 weeks as it reached 13yrs old and 120.000Km.

It was simply time.

 

About to lease an e-Golf

But that's for another thread (and my own reasons)

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40 minutes ago, HH_Sailor said:

 

Ditto :P (Let me guess - timing chain and everything connected to it?)

 

But I sold my Peug only 2 weeks as it reached 13yrs old and 120.000Km.

It was simply time.

 

About to lease an e-Golf

But that's for another thread (and my own reasons)

 I will be waiting to read that new thread 😛

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Have a look at a golf, cheap as chips to buy and run and the spares are available on every streetcorner.

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11 hours ago, HH_Sailor said:

 

 

About to lease an e-Golf

But that's for another thread (and my own reasons)

How much is the extension cable?

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