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Peak Car.


Roverageous
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I realise that this will be highly subjective, but I'm very interested to see what everyone values in their 'ideal' car. I suspect a lot will be due to people's ages, and what cars they grew up around too!

For me, the car peaked in the early 2000s. Modern enough to have AC / electric windows / heated this and that etc... rust resistant enough to (mostly) still be plodding on, economical enough to justify running & reliable enough (with maintenance, obviously) to be viable.

I have two nominations, which for anyone who's seen any of my threads, won't be a surprise...

Rover 75: This is the emotionally charged entry. I've been in love with the Rover 75 since it was announced (I was 10), and have done most of my life's motoring in them. I've owned every engine / transmission option, and they've all been superbly reliable - I've never been left by the roadside by one. On the flip side, I do understand why people don't like them - the styling is subjective, and the 1.8 engine has its issues.

Volvo P2 Platform: This is the sensible entry. A great range of 5-cylinder engines, and the cars are well capable of silly mileages. Estates and 4x4 models are superbly practical with a 7-seat offering in the XC90. Styling is perhaps not as characterful as the Rover, but probably slightly better materials and screwed together very nicely. There isn't much more you could need from a car.

Over to you...

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Screenshot_20221130-145425_Google.thumb.jpg.77c9c1eefeb4b9219b028c52b1cf411c.jpg

This. Top of the range ones had fuel injection. Enough extras to keep most happy. Reasonable economy and great reliability. Not overly complicated and most could look after them.

Generally killed off by rot / neglect and low values - remember how common they were?

For me, peak motoring.

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I suspect there'll be quite a lot of overlap here with this thread:

Your own suggestions are pretty sound. I'd add the '94-98 B5 Audi A4 (pre-facelift), which I know many folk loathe but mine has been completely viceless for 14 years and is easy enough to work on.

And, yeah, they can cost a lot of money to fix if you need to point them in the direction of The Proffeshnuls for a big job, but E39 5 Series (probably 528i/530i) has to be up for the award of Most Competent Car ever IMO.

 

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Just now, Bren said:

Screenshot_20221130-145425_Google.thumb.jpg.77c9c1eefeb4b9219b028c52b1cf411c.jpg

This. Top of the range ones had fuel injection. Enough extras to keep most happy. Reasonable economy and great reliability. Not overly complicated and most could look after them.

Generally killed off by rot / neglect and low values - remember how common they were?

For me, peak motoring.

I was going to go mark 3. Less rot prone. But otherwise yep, your right

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There's only one answer:

Used Ford Focus MkI buyer's guide | | Auto Express

All right, two answers:

Used Ford Focus review | Auto Express

They do everything you need, little you don't and are good to drive.  The early Focuses excel at nothing (other than handling), but the corollary is that they fail at nothing.  They are slightly better than average in every category one can think of, which is what an ordinary family car should seek to do.  The best ordinary car of all time, in my opinion.  

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Actually screw it. Mk1 Mondeo. 1.8 GLX. Drives well, rides well, comfy, safe, well equipped, mechanically dependable, Nobody really needs any more car than that. From an actual merit outflanking nostalgia or image perspective, it's probably the best car Ford ever made. And kind of a dry run for the Focus.

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I would've said Mk2 or 3 Cav until I discovered the Volvo P2. The early P80 gets a solid nod too, as long as it's not too far into the blue badge years. The only real downside of the Volvos as An Car is fuel economy, otherwise an 850/x70 will not let you down for anything. The estates will even save you a fortune in van hire!

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i personally don't think there's a better car in every single department than a mk1 C5 automatic

i can't get enough of them, i adore them!

i'd go so far as to say they're easily one of the best cars of the 2000s, and i dare say one of the best cars ever made

i mean i've had 2 now, and without a shadow of doubt if mine got written off etc i'd buy another

so for me at least, they are peak car

Used Citroën C5 Hatchback (2001 - 2004) Review | Parkers

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Mid 90s there were a lot of contenders.  The manufacturers had figured out how to make electronics by and large reliable, and OBD systems had got smart enough to help with diagnosis where necessary.  Rust proofing in many cases had got really very good.  Plus most had economy, performance and safety measures that meant that they still make solid dailies today.

I still reckon a well sorted Series II Xantia is a solid choice for being An Car.  The only real fly in the ointment is the diabolical approach to heritage parts supply that PSA take.

A lot of people are afraid of the hydraulics, but in all honesty they're nowhere near as scary as people make out.  Plus by the days of the Xantia and C5 they'd pretty well nailed it and the systems are actually bloody reliable.  The only major hydraulic issue I've had on a Citroen has been a blown brake hard line on a car which had been sitting for many years - and that could have happened on any car, even without fancy hydraulic suspension.  The only gripe trying to sort it was the line vanishing up over the rear subframe so it was a pig to get to.

If I could find a slightly less worn out example than my first 1.9TD (in fairness it did have 198K on the clock when I bought it!) I could see that being everything I needed from a car for several years.

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200d. Manual . Keep fit windows. Wheel trims. Blue cloth. No extras.

The wiper clears 86% of the windscreen. The tail lights are designed to be visible in filthy weather.  Standard front fog lights. Warning triangle built into the bootlid.  Heated washer jets. Standard ABS brakes. first aid kit in case you go head on with a Volvo at 60mph, in case the Volvo driver has a few cuts and bruises. the best door close in the business. 

You can get a beige one that smells a little like Pilsner and sick, or one  built by Porsche if your budget is a bit bigger, with plenty in between. 

I'm all about the base.

merc-w124-mechatronik-1.thumb.jpg.2ae3e3b4a856647d5cce156265b52ead.jpg

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58 minutes ago, Roverageous said:

Volvo P2 Platform: This is the sensible entry. A great range of 5-cylinder engines, and the cars are well capable of silly mileages. Estates and 4x4 models are superbly practical with a 7-seat offering in the XC90. Styling is perhaps not as characterful as the Rover, but probably slightly better materials and screwed together very nicely. There isn't much more you could need from a car.

Over to you...

I'd nominate the P80 platform over the P2, mainly because the earlier you go, the less you see Fordy influence and build quality.  Even the '99 onwards P80s started to suffer a bit when they introduced electronic throttle bodies over simpler and more reliable cable linkages.

Peak car overall has got to be somewhere between 1990 and 1999 though.

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Haven’t we had this thread recently? I remember I was on my own in saying 1981. I stand by this as I believe the 1982 model Cortina’s ( available from October 1981) are the best cars ever made. I am so sure of this that I have recently agreed to buy more for my collection. You must all be children on here or I am older than I like to think, I think mid nineties was general consensus on here last time

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Another vote for late 90s early 00s stuff. I've had xantias for about 15 years now.  I've taken a lot of stuff to a lot of places in supreme comfort at over 50mpg and without a single FTP. Mine is getting quite tired (and very rusty!) now but I'm struggling to know what to replace it with! It doesn't have an easy life blasting around the Cotswolds on rubbish roads full of stuff, but it just keeps on going!

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I was about to say W140 S-Class (incredibly well engineered, still good part availability, fast, comfortable, quiet, not hard to fix, bullet proof drivetrain aside from the diesels that nobody wants) or E39 BMW (excellent build quality, excellent driving dynamics, durable i6 engines, still feel modern etc). The W140 suffers from expensive degrading engine wiring harnesses and bad fuel economy though, and E39s like to rust out their jacking points and eat many of the plentiful suspension components.

So its probably going to be the W124. As well built as the W140, parts availability is excellent and parts are cheaper, they dont rust as bad as E39 in certain areas (right...?), suspension is less complex, still very usable every day. Something like a E320 estate possibly for maximum practicality.

Used 1993 MERCEDES-BENZ E-CLASS W124 E320 ESTATE AUTOMATIC 7 SEATS For Sale  (U226) | Seymour Pope Ltd

If cost is no option, E39 M5. Allround epic car.

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The Rover 200/400 series in R8 form is peak car.  Just enough toys to make them nice to live with, just simple enough to be repairable, pretty rust resistant and surprisingly tolerant of neglect.  There's a body shape and engine/gearbox combo to suit practically every need too.

20180325-03.thumb.JPG.182909d9bea5c6ea44b019de98588901.JPG

Only problem is they're so good at being peak car, they're kind of boring.

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For me, it’s the mk3 mondeo ST. 
 

I owned 3 or 4 of these all in hatchback flavour. I never had an estate (but I did have a titanium 2.2 between STs) and they were all brilliant cars. Comfy, economical, well spec’d, reliable…. I really miss owning one. They were fairly straight forward to work on too, not overly complicated. I drove everywhere in my old ones. I wish I’d had the estate version at some point but never bothered. I loved how interchangeable they were. Everything that bolts to a ghia X or ST will bolt to a base spec LX. My first was an LX 2.0 petrol. It ended up with ghiaX wood trim dash parts, leather steering wheel, ST half leather interior, zetec alloys…. Loved it. Would have another tomorrow but it’d have to be mint. I even had a head on crash in one at 60mph. Saved my life. Walked into the ambulance. 👌

 

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Early/mid 90s to early mid 00’s. By 2004 cruise, air con and good handling were abundant. Decent reliability, power and economy. No fancy stereo to age like milk, but adding an aux in line for tunes was just a cheap cable off eBay.

PSA 80’s into the 90’s then does downhill. I don’t hate the latest ones, but if the Peugeot model ends with 7, no thanks.

BMW slowly reaches peak in the early oughts, starts dropping, then shits the bed in the past few years. 

For one car I’d say e46 3 series. Any 6cyl but I’d be very happy with a 320d. 

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Best car at being a car I’ve ever owned is… 

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Saab 9000. Hands down.

Motorway blast   
A Road chuckable   
Manoeuvrable enough for the city
Big boot  
Space for the family  
Comfy  
Over 30 MPG  
Reliable
 
What more could you actually want. 

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