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#191505 6-Feb-2016 13:09
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My niece is going back to full time study for 3 years and won't have time to work much (nursing). She is looking for a cheap to run car, that is reliable. 


Just before Xmas I managed to pick up a swift with 50K for just under 5K, but was a bit of a fluke. 


Nissan March seems to fit into her budget, she doesn't want a Mazda Demio. Nissan Note reviews a little better.


Anything I should be avoiding specifically? 

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Devastation by stupidity
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  #1486461 6-Feb-2016 13:57
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Along with a lot of other people, I would recommend a vintage Corona or Corolla. Not a car to make your pulse run faster, but the best value for money in a vehicle I have ever had. A Diamante might be a good choice for another reason. They are not particularly well made, but probably for that very reason, the second-hand price is about half that of other comparable vehicles. I regularly see 2003/2004 models going for less than $3,000. I have a 2003 AWD in perfect mechanical condition that I got for $3500. I did have to replace the overdue cam belt and that, along with some other minor things, brought it up to nearly $6,000. There is no way I could sell it for that, but I am happy with the car and hope it will stay trouble-free long enough to get my money's worth out of it.


Edit: I went OT a little. Obviously a Diamante is not a good choice for a compact, cheap to run car, but I stand by what I said about the Toyotas.







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  #1486495 6-Feb-2016 15:10
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Stick with Japanese cars- Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi. Parts are cheap. 


Echoing Rikkitic, can't go wrong with a Corolla, but you will pay the Toyota tax, which can be a few bob. 


Having just bought a new car, I can recommend the ist and vitz. If you don't like the centre dash console, you can look at the Toyota Ractis, same 1.3, but drivers side dash.


Both come with chain driven cam belt, so no expensive cam belt to replace.


Neither will win any races but remarkably cheap to run, and both use the same engine as practically every other Toyota so parts are plentiful. 


For a bit more, there's the Corolla runx and allex, both also come in 1.5l models and at just over a hundred HP aren't slouches at the lights. 


I have a 1.5 allex run about, very happy with it. Just done a quarter tank and 170km on the clock. My brother managed 630km on a tank on his runx, same 1.5l. 


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  #1486733 7-Feb-2016 06:26
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  #1486749 7-Feb-2016 07:26
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The go-to cheap car has to be a Toyota Corolla.  

Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be the Batman

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  #1486757 7-Feb-2016 08:14
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A car for me is only, and always going to be, a runabout,and three second hand Corollas have happily suited me my entire adult life. I only sold and upgraded from 1300 to 1600 (now wife's) to 2L for towing power and passenger space. Toyota Tax is worth it and only exists BECAUSE they are so reliable 👍

Disclaimer : I also own a converted bus/motorhome which is not as reliable and ridiculously more expensive to run! 😂

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  #1486761 7-Feb-2016 08:39
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Honestly, if you are buying a car in this price range then the standard of maintenance will be a much bigger determinant of reliability than the particular make/model you choose.

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  #1487832 9-Feb-2016 08:26
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Toyota Corolla
Toyota Camry
Toyota Chaser
Toyota Corona
Toyota Starlet

Anything with the engine number: 4S-FE, 5S-FE, 3S-GE, 1JZ-GE, 2JZ-GE


That is a pretty good deal.  It's only got 160 on the clock, it's 2K less than your budget allows and it's a Camry.  Honestly, that thing will hit 300,000 without a problem and I know nothing about this particular car.  I usually see Camrys with this many ks in the 5K ballpark.  If you want to stretch your budget all the way, find a similar car that has had it's cam belt done, transmission flushed and various other bits and pieces replaced.  Because paying someone to service it will cost about the same as the car itself.

We purchased a '97 Toyota Chaser for $1800 recently.  It's a mint car.  But the cam belt is $1200, trans. flush is $400, spark plugs alone are super special ones which are something like $60.00 each and I need 6 of them, then there is regular servicing every 6 or 8 months which is $200-$500 depending on what you want to do.  But we know that is all we'll ever have to do to it.

Sometimes what you don't get is a blessing in disguise!

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  #1487908 9-Feb-2016 10:22
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We have a Vitz for going to work and it's great. 1L and can actually fit two adults and three kids if required, but will be a bit slow!
Big boot with the back seat folded down.


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  #1487978 9-Feb-2016 11:49
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Wife has a 1.3l 2001 Toyota bB, which is pretty much a Vitz with a funkier body shape. The advantage of the square body is that it will comfortably fit five people and a small dog. The bit that amazed me is that I (6'2" tall) can be one of the back seat passengers without causing myself origami, huge amounts of headroom and decent kneeroom.

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  #1488147 9-Feb-2016 15:29
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Honestly, if you are buying a car in this price range then the standard of maintenance will be a much bigger determinant of reliability than the particular make/model you choose.



Perhaps - except that some cars fall into the complete lemon category, depreciate to the sub $5k price very quickly and with low km but should probably never be touched by non-enthusiasts regardless of how well maintained they appear to have been. 

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  #1488149 9-Feb-2016 15:34
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Only thing I'd mention is that some smaller cars cost more to run if you're doing open road driving.




I had a Honda Civic I think it was, 2 door jobbie, 1.3l motor I think from memory.




That motor had to work super hard to keep going on the highway, sitting at around 3,500 rpm in top gear.  Chewed through the gas, the paint flaked in the NZ UV sun and it required wheel bearings to be changed etc.




Just something to keep in mind.  Smaller motor cars do have to work harder to perform than larger motors, which can idle away a lot of the time.


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  #1488197 9-Feb-2016 16:59
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I would specifically avoid March. Zero traffic nip, and I'm guessing bad crash rating. Something else to check on small car purchase.

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  #1488209 9-Feb-2016 17:09
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Mitsi Colt 2004, bought one from Turners a year ago for $3600 and hasn't missed beat. 

Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all...

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  #1493421 16-Feb-2016 20:08
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I found a 2004 1.8l nissan bluebird sedan with 60K on the clock for $4 ish, I think they are pretty sound, anyone got anything to say about those? It's chain driven. My sentra was awesome. 


 If a dealer has a car for 5K what would you expect to be able to negotiate down to ?


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  #1493482 16-Feb-2016 22:13
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We had a 2004 Wingroad, yeah its a wagon but is on the small side and went damn well :) Never gave us a problem, only sold it to upgrade to larger vehicle.



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