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Is there any such thing as 'overly modern' or 'overly old' when it comes to daily use?


Stinkwheel
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Reading through Barefoot's thread 'What makes a car nice to drive?'

 

I was surprised to see reference to such modern cars in some replies, it got me thinking, as 'autoshiters' should we be prejudiced about much newer or even much older vehicles?

Personally i feel my most modern vehicles of 05' 1.6LX focus or my load lugger '02 Pug Expert are absolutely bang up to date modern cars compared to a lot of things i've owned and driven everyday  and they are still boring yet perfectly capable for my 45 mile round trip (currently the Visa and the Ami are the in use oldies and they are also perfectly capable of the same trip, but are faaaar more fun and interesting at the same time)

Basically,  should we aim to be driving new vehicles as daily drivers? Cos' i can think of nothing worse.

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I don't do many miles in my 'daily' but the 2001 Rover 75 I have had for twelve months or so has never left me stranded, has all the mod cons (heated leather, climate control, cruise control, parking sensors, rear sun blind...) - and cost 600 quid (and another 800 quid across the year to get rear brakes rebuilt, fit a couple of drop links, fix cruise and parking sensors, service, couple of tyres, exhaust heat shield for MOT).  Not sure why I'd want something much more modern.  It certainly doesn't feel like an old shed (although the bodywork leaves much to be desired...).  

 

Saying that there are new cars which I am sure are great fun but for me doing a couple of thousand miles a year in it I don't see the point.  Plus interesting things seem to start at 30k+ and properly interesting things 50k+ (brand new) which is a lot of dough ... and if I set a budget of say 20k I would always be tempted to go for much more interesting bottom of depreciation curve 15 yo car at 20k than 5 yo middlingly interesting at 20k ...

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In a previous life I was a car salesman at a main dealer, so for a fair amount of time I have had a new car as a daily and it's fine when someone else is paying for it and maintaining it. Although CMBS is total shit if you have a habit of playing 'thread the needle' on roundabouts. Adaptive cruise control in a CVT Civic with LKAS is pretty nice for driving home with a hangover. Modern diesels are great for road trips, the Civic estates were hitting 70mpg reliably and they are huge and also pleasant to drive. If you know naff all about cars and just want to go from A-B then your best hope of having something that doesn't explode on you regularly and get you rinsed at garages is probably having something fairly new.

Now that I'm in a job without a company car and I'm responsible for paying for my daily and maintaining it I prefer something that is paid outright in one go and is mechanically simple enough that I can maintain it myself. As a rough rule of thumb I don't like going newer than 2000-2005ish from the point of view that computers are the devil, and that £500-1000 will get you something from the 90's that is reliable, comfortable, user serviceable and cheap to maintain. The downside is of course that people probably think I'm a peasant when I rock up in a beaten up old Volvo, but this is offset by the fact that I'm not really that bothered about what randomers think when they catch a glimpse of me.

Horses for courses then... Does that answer your question?! 😅

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I very much enjoy driving a modern car, so light, so easy, so helpful with all the gadgets. 

Adaptive cruise control - brilliant, actually love it, cruse set, let it take you away, brakes, accelerates etc all on its own. crawls in traffic also, first time i used it it was strange, but I'd 100% spec it on a new car. 

Auto main beams, even turns back to dipped beam if it 'sees' an oncoming car. again great feature. 
 

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The adaptive cruise control and lane assist fitted to my Seat Leon phev is brilliant for when I need to eat my lunch whilst on the motorway, 

The car also auto parks itself too which is ace 

you can pretty much just sit right back relax and feel your ass grow 

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Too old?  Even if you can maintain it ruthlessly, a car from the 70s, say, is likely to throw up issues from time to time.  Granted they can usually be fixed with a pair of pliers, but for daily duty you can do without the downtime.  And I say this as a lifelong devotee of older cars.

Moderns, which for me start about 1996 or so, are too complex for home mechanicing, and since I don't want to be waiting around at my local garage all the time, I feel the way to go for daily use is New.  Preferably on a lease plan where you can just give it back after 3 years and get another newie.  We use Motability, but I'd prefer not to be eligible for that!  (Or in fact, prefer MrsR not to be eligible!)

Of course you also have to think about outside incidents that may befall your car, such as car park dings.  Our Motability Suzuki has two such, both of which happened while it was parked in the Disabled space outside our own front door!  Both times I rang Motability and described what had happened, and they said it's fine, don't worry.  You'd most likely get the same sort of reaction on any lease.  Had the same incidents befallen Huggy parked in the same place, I would have had to cover the costs myself.

We're off down the south coast next week.  We did it twice in Huggy and never will again because the alternator died on the second trip.  We are taking the Suzuki.  Cruise, raised driving position, one-litre engine for economy... it's got a lot going for it.  It has no style but we know it'll get us there, and back.

Conclusion: I love the old stuff with a passion but it just isn't practical.  Middle-aged is a gamble so buy cheap.  New is the tool for daily use.

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My daughters Clio is a million times better to drive than my creaky old Saab 9-3 cab apart from outright performance, it has every convenience you could want, I only drive 20 miles a day so I'm not bothered about the lack of adaptive cruise or android auto but if I were doing double that or more I'd want something new with all the trinkets.

There are quite a few out there who would jump at the chance of getting out of their old shitbox and into a new car if they were offered one for free, despite saying how brilliant their current cars are.

7 minutes ago, eddyramrod said:

Moderns, which for me start about 1996 or so, are too complex for home mechanicing, and since I don't want to be waiting around at my local garage all the time, I feel the way to go for daily use is New.  

I disagree, modern cars are easy to fix, there is a huge knowledge base out there and modern diagnostics make things much easier, spare parts for some older cars are getting hard to come by.

 

7 minutes ago, eddyramrod said:

Of course you also have to think about outside incidents that may befall your car, such as car park dings.  Our Motability Suzuki has two such, both of which happened while it was parked in the Disabled space outside our own front door!  Both times I rang Motability and described what had happened, and they said it's fine, don't worry.  You'd most likely get the same sort of reaction on any lease

You wouldn't, you are charged for every dent and scratch that is outside the 'guidelines' and this is one of the reasons I will never lease another car, motability is very different, lease companies are ruthless.

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I feel once we get towards the end of the 1980s the driving experience to far less compromised than 1960/70s cars.

Back in the late 1970s early 1980s I used to drive over 3,000 miles a month in a Triumph Vitesse and thought nothing of it. Now my Vitesse is my summer outings car. Yes maybe it is me become old and soft. My daily driving cars seem to be 1990s cars at the moment with a splash of earlier cars in good weather.

The longest time I have spent behind the wheel of a car in one go was eight years ago, 7 hours Milton Keynes to Edinburg on a Friday afternoon in a 1988 BMW 735i and it was a completely painless, in fact it was enjoyable.

Photo was on the return home journey.

 

P1210767.jpg broad.jpg

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I think there's two ways of running a modern. Bite the bullet and finance it. See if a fixed monthly cost suits you and the benefits of having a new warrantied car. 

Or go for something that's nearing the bottom of the depreciation curve but still modern. 

The danger zone in my eyes is something about 7-12k. It's out of its warranty. Things may start to fail with age and mileage and if something big breaks, you're still 10k in and kinda snookered either way. 

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2 minutes ago, Spurious said:

I think there's two ways of running a modern. Bite the bullet and finance it. See if a fixed monthly cost suits you and the benefits of having a new warrantied car. 

Or go for something that's nearing the bottom of the depreciation curve but still modern. 

The danger zone in my eyes is something about 7-12k. It's out of its warranty. Things may start to fail with age and mileage and if something big breaks, you're still 10k in and kinda snookered either way. 

I agree with this.  The scariest thing one could do is finance something like this - https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202108226522156?model=RANGE ROVER&postcode=se91la&make=LAND ROVER&include-delivery-option=on&radius=1500&onesearchad=New&onesearchad=Nearly New&onesearchad=Used&price-to=15000&advertising-location=at_cars&price-from=10000&sort=price-desc&page=1 - yet I am sure plenty of people do ...

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9 minutes ago, Spurious said:

 

The danger zone in my eyes is something about 7-12k. It's out of its warranty. Things may start to fail with age and mileage and if something big breaks, you're still 10k in and kinda snookered either way. 


Hehe... that's pretty much exactly the route I've taken with my daily. Bought a 2017 Fabia with 6 months left on its warranty for 8 and a bit K last year (cash, not finance). It's been the model of reliability so far, but I'm buggered if that changes! :D  However... I'm actually in quite a good position with it thanks to a combination of low miles done during the last year, and the sudden spurt in used car prices. It's apparently currently worth slightly more than I paid for it 18 months ago!


Anyway, onto the main question - no, I personally don't think there's such a thing as overly modern for daily use. Sometimes I just want to get in a car, go somewhere, be reasonably sure I'm going to get there, and not feel like I've been suplexed into a rockery by the time I arrive. I love older cars, but there are days when I just can't be doing with their bullshit. That's when my modern comes into play!

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I was put off modern motoring by a MK1 Mégane that cost me a fortune in repairs so spent 10 years running 20 year old cars I could fix myself.

We've now reached the point where a 20 year old car is as complex and modern as that Renault.  I was going a bit older but struggled with reliability so now have a MK2 Focus which is ace at just being a car and a collection of older tat to tinker with if I ever have time.

I wouldn't like to run a car new enough to need to worry about the resale value because I always end up with marks and scratches.

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I think late 80s to early 90s are the best mix of capableness and character.

I have daily driven all of the following:

1990 Lada Riva

1993 Citroen AX

1985 Mazda 929

1994 Rover 218/418.

1992 Rover Metro

1989 Austin Metro

And many more. Currently this is my only car!

 

 

IMG20210817133355.jpg

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5 hours ago, Stinkwheel said:

Basically,  should we aim to be driving new vehicles as daily drivers? Cos' i can think of nothing worse.

I fully agree, I have had to drive new cars due to my job and they are very dull.

Someone told me years ago that if you get out of your car and walk away without looking back you should sell the car. I believe that was very good advice.

I have recently bought a Mercedes E320 estate which is 2002 and I thought far too modern but it is surprisingly nice to drive.  Not as great looking as the Cortina’s and Granada’s but nearly as nice to drive and amazingly economical.

The main problem with new cars, putting aside their blandness is depreciation and cost to service and repair.

The main problem with old cars is parts availability and the fact they stand out from the crowd.

The only thing I like about the new cars I have had is the anonymity and fuel economy.

You pay your money and take your choice but it is an old car for me every time, preferably from the seventies or early eighties and ideally a good spec. ‘82 Cortina.

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Anything new enough to have emergency braking assist or whatever it's called. I've had a couple of cars perform random emergency stops which could have resulted in a serious accident if anyone was behind me at the time. It seems to be a safety feature that actually makes the car less safe, and modern Volvos and Mercs are particularly bad for this. The most memorable was an XC60 that nearly sent me through the windscreen after getting spooked by a stationary car parked up in a lay-by.

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The early 2000s is where I draw my line for now. 

My 2005 ex @Kiltox laguna 2 was a wonderful* thing, but a whole other beast to keep running, would have needed a proper laptop with hooky software on to run one long term.

Early 2000s is OK as long as you stick to common things. Nearly everything that could go wrong has and is documented and usually fixed with a soldering iron and new wire. 

I pick common and cheap to run and maintain any day. I've hopefully got my xsara to the just add fuel and drive stage for the foreseeable for maybe £400 tops including buying the car. As said above, that's a nice number. Best case, it s a nice cheap reliable* car. Worst case it's worth £300 as scrap and I've had £100 worth of tangible use out of it easily! 

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4 minutes ago, MrGTI6 said:

Anything new enough to have emergency braking assist or whatever it's called. I've had a couple of cars perform random emergency stops which could have resulted in a serious accident if anyone was behind me at the time. It seems to be a safety feature that actually makes the car less safe, and modern Volvos and Mercs are particularly bad for this. The most memorable was an XC60 that nearly sent me through the windscreen after getting spooked by a stationary car parked up in a lay-by.

My dad's ioniq did that to me! 

Rolling down the a1 by welwyn, L1, busy traffic but good speed. White van comes off  a tiny little slip road and basically lunges at us. Speed matched entry to me. 

I hit the brakes and get on the horn, watching the rear view mirror like a hawk for whwn the car behind hits us and the next thing I know we're braking ALOT harder than I was pushing the pedal. The hazards have come on too. 

Thankfully a car in l2 spots this and flashes me across. Great, back on the power and turn right... No power, the car's still stopping. Took a huge boot full of throttle to snap it out of it and let me get across to l2. 

Looked down at the dash to see all sorts of things lit up. Dad phoned the company's phone number on the van and made a complaint! Dickhead... Tbh though, if I was in the xsara it wouldn't have braked so smoothly. I think thays part of the reason I didn't fully notice l, because it was proper smooth and straight, but far too detached from reality. 

I nearly fell asleep driving down the a1 in it too from Yorkshire. Again, too fucking soft and detached, I rely on the shaking and feedback from the rear boot plastics on the shit I drive to keep alert! 

I can't trust the radar braking either. Dad made me try it once and fuck me nope! I mean fair play to it it does work but nope, its not natural... 

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This sort of question annoys me because at some point every car was new and was expected to give reliable daily service. People think I'm mad because I daily drive a 36-year-old Porsche but (relatively speaking) it's simple as you like and if well-maintained (like every car should be in an ideal world) it just continues to work - and when it does break the garage love working on it because it's a piece of piss. I reckon I could lend it to my mechanical arse of a best mate and get it back a year later none the worse for it.

Dunno what my point is really, other than being annoyed at the question. Even my Range Rover - which has possibly one of the worst reputations of any car ever - is easy to sort now because what was electronic witchcraft 25 years ago is a walk in the park now. And all the bits underneath are still extremely Land-Rover shaped, so usually a big hammer is order of the day - what could be easier!

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I think it depends much on the user, their attitude to running repairs and what they intend to use the vehicle for. I have used all sorts of stuff as daily drivers over the years, it does sometimes help to have back up vehicles.

In 1987 I was using a 1937 Morgan as my only car. It would get me where I needed to go, but not at speed. Longer journeys took longer, it was a 50mph on the motorway car with a break every hour or so to give it a rest. Local journeys no problem as long as you made allowance for stopping distances as it had cable brakes.

That's a good few years ago and I now wouldn't fancy all the greasing, oiling, adjusting and tightening things up that were part of the weekly routine.

A fifty year old car now would be something from 1971, pretty much the same would apply to use it as a daily driver today, probably fewer greasing points.

I'm now lazy and my daily driver is a 2020 Fiat, just over a year old and on 16000 miles. Not over burdened with driver aids and so far something I don't have to think about (drove it from South Wales to Glasgow and back in a day a few weeks back) The 1990 Mx5 I'm sure would have done the same, but I would have stopped more often and been keeping a closer eye on the gauges, plus the chair I was going to collect wouldn't have fitted in it.

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I used to commute 25 miles each way and decided that after my Alfa 156 shat it’s clutch buying a modern was the way forward and bought a brand new Fiat on PCP followed by a brand new BMW on PCP.

I soon questioned that nice though both these cars were, what did they actually offer me that an older car didn’t? So I decided to hand back my £255 per month BMW and buy a 1997 Saab 9000 to complete the commute. And the answer? Well yeah, the BMW was slightly better on fuel, and had a digital Radio and a sport mode button. But the Saab is comfier, better to look at and cost £600 to buy! (Less than three months payments). On top of that it has gone wrong less than the BMW in a similar time frame and mileage. 

These days my commute is 8 miles each way. The 2CV can handle that commute with ease, and does regularly. But the Saab still reigns as the ultimate in commuting.

Sometimes I do drive modern cars and think ‘ooh I do like the mod cons’ but honestly I’d not enjoy it as much. For me there’s something about driving a car which is so unusual that if you see another you feel compelled to wave as it’s an uncommon occurrence.

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Went from a leased 2017 Golf R back to my old Ford Puma, to a high mileage E39 and now on a 130k 2006 3 series touring. It’s had issues but is nice to drive, has nice indicator stalks and best cup holders of any car I’ve had. Found in some ways the Puma more fun than the Golf R. The R should have been the perfect car: all rounder, rapid, every gadget, DAB for 6Music and could still crack 37mpg on a run with 5 doors too.

It was just too fast though. Unlike the little 1.7 Puma you couldn’t thrash it without getting seriously locked up. I wonder if a manual GTI or late 90s hot hatch with 306/Focus handling is my ideal car.

The Golf did have automatic cruise control though which was magical. I’ve never owned a faster car in my life but never driven so sensibly on a motorway. Just set the ACC to 70mph and let the car take the strain…

 

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For me, if I needed a car to get to work every day, or if I had children to cart around, I'd lease something brand new and reliable - an appliance. 

 

But in terms of enjoyment I think mid 90s to mid 00s was the sweet spot - cars were lighter/smaller then and did have some safety features, but not ridiculous amounts of electronics.

 

A lot of cars from the last decade would be tricky to work on yourself - and recent cars with a million sensors, electronic screens etc are going to be really expensive to maintain when they're older. How will you keep a twenty year old car going if it needs a new screen to display the speedo etc? And what would it be like driving a car that's reliant on twenty year old cameras/radar/lidar etc or it'll slam on the brakes on the motorway? 

 

I currently have a 2001 Ford Puma and love it. Agree with @Longbridge Apologist that a lot of modern hot hatches etc are just too fast to enjoy on the road. 

 

 

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I have found out , only yesterday that a 2007 Mini is too old fashioned, according to my wife. The plan to run that , her Boxster and whatever disastrous heap of an S Class or 7 Series I can get for a couple of Grand has just been blown out of the water.

The Mini has good a/c , DAB and Bluetooth but not auto lights and wipers or cruise, plus you have to plug a lead in to your phone for music streaming- oh the hardship!
She has taken my e class until she gets what she wants, a Discovery Sport, because she loved her old Freelander 2. Looks like when the E class gets, traded, I’ll be driving a fecking Mini.

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That emergency braking thing sounds absolutely dire. My mate has recently bought a 2018 Micra which apparently has it, and he's quite worried about the prospect of it getting confused and jamming the brakes on when he has the situation under control, and actually causing an accident (causing someone to run into the back of him etc). He doesn't think there's any way to turn it off.

As for me, I'm going to keep my Rover 600 going as long as possible. I saw one at the weekend, a really battered Nightfire Red 620si, early one on an L reg. I had a chat with the owner, who said he bought it for £350 ten years ago and it's required little more than servicing, tyres and brakes in that time. He intends to keep it going "until the wheels fall off" - what a legend!

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Do any of the older car advocates drive 20k+ miles a year in them?

I've tried various ways for such mileage and by far the best was the leased new car as I got a good deal. I replaced 4 tyres and serviced it twice in 53k miles. 

I did try an older MK3 Mondeo, Peugeot 307 and 325d for similar use and they were only fractionally cheaper to run due to the amount of repairs required and more crucially being self employed - the time off the road/time wasted going to and from the garage during working hours. 

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