Mar 232016
 

Hatchbacks don’t have to be boring little shoppers, they can be prestige holdalls with a nice badge.

Why Buy?

Neither model is a current anymore, but that does not make them any less desirable. The Volvo is still the cool Scandinavian that looks sophisticated and modern. By contrast the Mercedes is a tad more brash but it is highly desirable for the simple fact that it is a Merc. And why not?

Which models?

The C30 was revamped in 2007 and was available in well-equipped S, SE, Sports and Lux trim. There are lots of diesel and petrol engines to choose from. Before the CLC was the C Class Sports Coupe. This revised model from 2008 was a far better model with lots of new parts.

Are they reliable?

The Warranty Direct stats are very revealing indeed. The Volvo spreads its faults around with the electrics being the weak spot. On the whole though it is very reliable. The Mercedes has only two weak areas, the major one being the axle and suspension, but the repair costs are lower.

How much do they cost?

Volvos are good value and can start at just under £3000 rising to just under £12,000 for a 2012 model. The Mercedes can cost below £5000. Better to spend £6000 for a tidy 200 CDi that has not done too many miles up to £11,000 for a 2011 example.

Sum Up: The Mercedes is more of coupe, but it is classy and reliable. The Volvo still looks different and is an upmarket hatch.

Volvo C30

Average Repair Cost £318.45

Engine 17.78%*

Axle/Suspension 20.00%*

Electrical 24.44%*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above average

* failure rate

Mercedes CLC

Average Repair Cost £202.24

Axle/Suspension 80%*

Electrical 20.00%*

Warranty Direct Rating: Good

* failure rate

Feb 292016
 

 

 

 

 

 

Which Supermini is better? The stylish French C3 or the Brit built Japanese tiddler?

Why Buy?

The C3 has always been well equipped, and in more recent years it has become much more like a tiny people carrier than a small hatch. By contrast the Micra is a traditional, hardworking small car beloved of first time drivers and older motorists who want a car that won’t let them down.

Which models?

There are two distinct C3 models, the one built from 2002 to 2010 and the revised people carrier style one from 2010 onwards. Buy the most recent. Micras, also from 2002

Are they reliable?

The older C3s seem cheaply built inside and it is electrical issues that give owners the most trouble. Warranty Direct’s figures bear this out. It is a similar story with the Micra, electricals are again the problem even if the price of fixing a Nissan is fractionally cheaper.

How much do they cost?

Safer to pay around £950 for a 2003 example. £3000 a tidy 2006 example and £8000 for a 2012 Picasso model if you want a small van. Again, £1000 is the lowest price to buy at, a £3000 Micra is a 1.2 2009 3 door model. The restyled 2012 five door from 2012 from a dealer is £6000.

Sum Up

It comes down to style and the Citroen looks funkier, whilst the Micra is just odd to some. Regardless, Nissan’s reputation for reliability is strong.

Citroen C3

Average Repair Cost: £280.43

Axle and Suspension: 23.61%*

Gearbox: 13.89%*

Electrical: 25.00%*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average

* failure rate

Nissan Micra

Average Repair Cost: £272.82

Axle & Suspension: 29.85*

Electrical: 32.84%*

Steering: 17.91*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average to Good

* failure rate

Jan 302016
 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want a small 4 x 4 shaped car to get to shops, but off road ability is not essential, then there are two extremes to choose from.

Why Buy?

You will go for the Suzuki SX4 because it is great value for money and it is tough and practical rather than being stylish. It’s the sensible choice. The Freelander is the one that everyone wants because it is made by Land Rover, it looks the 4 x 4 part and if they needed to go off road it is brilliant.

Which models?

The SX4 was introduced in 2006. It is well equipped and the 1.6 petrol model is cheap to run and more than adequate for buyers who don’t do many miles. Although the Freelander has been around for some time this is a revised 2006 model. The diesel versions are the most sought after.

Are they reliable?

Suzuki has a reputation for reliability, rather than excitement, not only that they rarely break down and the Warranty Direct figures bear this out. By contrast, the Land Rover is expensive to fix and is well known for being more of a financial drain.

How much do they cost?

The Suzuki starts at £1700 for a 2006 model and it will be in mint condition. £5500 buys a 2012 example from a dealer, which is great value.

Freelander’s from 2006 start at around £2500 for a three door Td4 example. The best 5 door though will be £5500, so prices vary hugely.

Sum Up: It’s obvious, money to burn, but you want to make a statement: Freelander. Meanwhile, the realist will buy a Suzuki SX4.

Suzuki SX4 

Average Repair Cost: £192.90

Axle and Suspension: 57.69%*

Transmission: 11.54%*

Electrical: 11.54%*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average

* failure rate

Land Rover Freelander

Average Repair Cost: £403.14

Transmission: 22.14*

Electrical: 26.97%*

Engine: 12.47*

Warranty Direct Rating: Below Average

* failure rate