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2003 Nissan Almera N16 2.2 dCi SXE 136 bhp (September 2010 - June 2021)


Nissan Almera of Doom

I traded in the '94 Escort mark 5 b diesel for my 7th car: a 33rd birthday present to myself. Actually bought this while in between jobs so I decided to get something that would be reliable and economical (Ha!). The flashiest and quickest car I have bought and owned - the bar not set too high! Fell in love with the performance and torque which put a big smile on my face on the test drive so I had to have it. Top of the range, too. And I haven't had a blue car before, so that itch had to be scratched. Also first car I owned with air con (well climate control), traction control and satellite navigation.

First year of ownership was absolutely fine, no issues. However after 18 months the clutch failed. Nursed it home and got a recovery firm to collect and repair it. Cost me £1,100. That was the start of a lot of big bills with this car. The towbar should have been an indicator to me that it has had a tough life in the past 6...nearly 7 years. I also replaced the whistling turbo on this in 2015, which was another £1,300. In the almost 11 years I owned this, I think I spent £7,000 in repairs, which also included 2 lots of £500 in brakes repairs and replacing the corroded cross member to get it though one of the MOTs.

Seat comfort was average, not a comfortable as the Escort mark 5b. The small-ish front seats were obviously designed around Japanese people, not Europeans. Fuel economy was average I thought: 39 mpg around town but 50 mpg on a long run. I found the assisted steering to be extremely heavy and the turning circle was crap. Generic dark grey cloth seat trim on this top spec car shared with the baser S spec version I think. It deserved velour upholstery at least. Even it's predecessor had velour. Rear seat space seemed a little tight but it compensated in having a big boot.

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19 hours ago, juular said:

2009 Honda Accord GT 2.2 i-Dtec

The reliable modern.

Does everything pretty well. Is brilliant at nothing.

Goes like absolute fuck. The torque from this motor seems to defy physics. But strangely there's very little joy in it. Engine sounds thrashy pretty much all the time.

MPGs are below average even when babied, the highest we've seen is 44 on a run.

Strange, fidgety ride. Very firm up front but wallowy in the rear. Handles well enough but stubbornly boring. The electric power steering is numb, like trying to drive with a gaming wheel. Has as much entertainment value as a Jobcentre plus.

Very comfortable seats, when you get the driving position right you could sit there all week.

The sat-nav feels like it's from the 1980s.

Already starting to rust quite badly for its age. 

Pretty good an car, but not much more.

I had one of these from 2004-2008 so may have been an earlier model. It replaced 90bhp 1.9 diesel Passat , so did seem very fast at the time. It was also much nicer and better specc’ed than the Passat despite being the base model.
I thought it was quite economical given the performance and used to get 49 mpg on a long run (80 on a motorway), or 45 in mixed use.

Can’t comment on corrosion generally as it was from new (company car), but the alloys were replaced under warranty for severe pitting , so that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the car

As you  say, competent but soulless , but so was most of the competition it had.

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On 6/19/2023 at 5:39 PM, crad said:

2003 renault clio mk2 (ph2 facelift): bloody fantastic. it's a 1.2 so no ball of fire but has a good amount of getup and go, just runs out of puff pretty quickly so you'll need to stir the oil. pretty comfortable, and suprisingly spacious inside, especially with the seats down- was able to move all of my uni stuff in it. piss easy to park as the visibilty is superb. stereo is pretty good, although probably needs new speakers, and the CD player has broken again. electrics are a bit flakey, and the sunroofs always leak (hence the application of renault approved tape), but look beyond that and they are fantastic little cars.

I had one of these in the past, my impressions weren't that amazing but that could be a combination of high mileage example (100K) plus basic 1.2 engine plus one of the lower trim specs made it feel a bit dull. Also it was a step down in size from the predecessor - the Mazda Demio hiding behind the Land Rover here.


Good points - fuel economy, cheap parts, easy to fix, handling was ok.

Bad points - slower than the 1.5l mazda demio it replaced, smaller inside than the mazda, needed quite a bit of maintenance (maybe not surprising given mileage).

Sunroof had been sealed shut by previous owner who warned me not to touch it to avoid leaks. 

Scrapped it when the clutch went as could see a lot of other issues coming up soon, so had no inclination to spend any more money on it.

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Suzuki Jimny (was my parents)


Good points - excellent in snow, apparently also excellent off road but never fully tested its abilities there, easy to park and drive in town, useful tool for towing lower weight trailers.

Bad points - very slow acceleration, wouldn't want to try cornering too quickly, fuel economy surprisingly bad for such a small car, high road tax, tiny inside.


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Triumph Herald



Good points - super easy engine access due to flip front bonnet. generally mechanically simple and easy to maintain, very tight turning circle, separate chassis makes rust a bit easier to repair.

Bad points - separate chassis design leads to less rigid bodyshell, wouldn't want to test limits of handling due to dubious rear suspension design, 1950s design feels out of place on duel carriageways and motorways - another one that feels happiest cruising around 45mph.

c. Triumph Herald.jpg

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1998 Volvo C70 T5 GT


Bought on a whim as I fancied something comfortable, auto and fast. 

First impression : weighty.  The frameless doors are heavy, and the sound they make when closing is the most satisfying thing I've heard. 

The turning circle is absolutely atrocious. Getting stuck doing a turn in the road can sometimes be quite embarrassing. Multi storey car parks are best avoided! The front tyres actually rub on the wishbones on full lock as a normal feature. Weird shit going on there.

Blimey is this car comfortable. Heated electrically adjustable Alcantara seats - some of the most comfortable I've sat in.  There's plenty of room in the back too.

Dolby surround stereo system is the finest audio setup I've had in or out of a car. 

Interior is very upmarket Volvo. Solid, chunky, everything where it should be. Looks and feels great. Peak interior IMO.


Driving it, the 5 cylinder engine is one of the most enjoyable soundtracks I've heard. Snarly, grumpy, meaty. Never thrashy or wheezy. I prefer it to the sound of a V8.  The idle is a lazy, comforting, sort of ASMR inducing burble. I genuinely relish the thought of going out and starting this car.

In first it feels far more sedate than expected. There's a limiter that prevents full boost in 1st gear to stop the auto box turning into mixed swarf. It's still more than capable of wiping the floor with pretty much anything you pull up next to in traffic. In 3rd and 4th this car absolutely flies and in sport mode properly shoves you right back into the seat. Three figure speeds feel merely a blip of the throttle away and it sounds absolutely glorious in the process. Sometimes I wish this car was slower just so I could listen to that engine work a little harder for a little bit longer.

The autobox pretty much gets on with it without getting in your way. In eco it can leave you planting your foot and wishing it would kick down, but in sport it's very snappy.

On the motorway the car is about the most composed and relaxing drive I've experienced. Waft-tastic. 

On the back roads it really suffers from being front heavy and the car feels 'big'. The ride is quite crashy over broken ground and can leave you curling your toes. It's a little bit understeery when pushed, but it's way better than you'd expect probably because of the passive rear steering effort from the delta link setup. The most important point is that it's still a great deal of fun to push onwards and it's very rewarding to kick its arse.

The C70 was a little unfairly trashed as having a reputation for feeling wobbly and scuttle-shaky. Obviously the Coupe doesn't suffer from this and in fact feels like one of the stiffer cars I've driven. Steering is weighty and supremely accurate.

Fuel economy is shite. When pushing on it'll do low 20s. Being good, you'll get 32 -34 as an absolute limit. But that 5 cylinder snarl will never let you do that.

It doesn't have a spot of rust. It's just built really well all round.

Love it.


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2 hours ago, juular said:

1998 Volvo C70 T5 GT


After doing two positive reviews of cars I've had recently that I loved, I'd decided to pick one of the three cars I've owned where I've hated nearly every minute with and was trying to choose between a Rover 620Ti or the Volvo C70, so here's my take on the hopeless fat Swedish slug.

Volvo C70  - A counterpoint.

Pros: Looks good from the rear three quarters, that C pillar looks like a Maserati, from the front it looks like the V70 you should have bought instead.
Dynaudio stereo is one of the best I've ever heard in a car.
Front seats were supremely comfortable, a very nice place to wait for the AA to arrive.

Cons: Everything else.

I liked Volvos before I encountered the C70 but IMO they're one of the most ill-conceived cars I've ever encountered.

Granted mine was the 170bhp non turbo version but I can't believe an extra 50bhp would make the difference, these need 300bhp but the chassis wouldn't stand it. The power to weight ratio is no better than a 1.8 Focus because they weigh as much as the moon, managing to be heavier than the V70 estate version despite having a quarter of the carrying capacity. I must have been too busy enjoying the stereo to hear this famous 5 cylinder warble that people go on about as if it's some kind of budget Audi Quattro, I just remember the engine sounding rough and strained as it tried to haul 1600Kg+ up motorway inclines in 3rd gear. Couple of years ago I ran the 850 estate of many Shiters and to be fair it had a nice thrum to it but it did have a hole in the exhaust.

Combine that with a gearbox that must have been shared with the diseasels because it was far too high geared for such a gutless heavy car, I've never used full throttle in a car so much since I drove a 2CV. I had to move the seat forward an extra inch so I could comfortably access the bottom of the throttle pedal's travel. Diseasel repmobiles wold leave it standing.

The gearbox itself was horrible, long throw and clunky with a long travel clutch which might have been OK in the workhorse estate but felt really uncouth in what was supposed to be a prestige coupe, and it had a really cheap nasty plastic knob. This was a car that cost its first owner the thick end of £30k and in typical Volvo style some of the interior fittings were no better than you'd find in a Kia.
The steering was numb and lifeless and yes, the turning circle is a joke. I've driven large vans that could turn in tighter spaces. The ride wasn't bad to be fair, all that weight had the occasional benefit I guess, but the handling was that of a large heavy and not very well sorted car. The Saab 900LPT I had at the same time felt like a Puggy 106 on the twisties by comparison and with less power would leave fatty boom-boom wheezing when it came to the straight bits.

All in all it was a frustrating disappointment. If they'd done more than simply plop a pretty coupe bodyshell onto the V70 estate they might have had a better car but in terms of driving dynamics it was hopeless. The back seats were useless because no bugger could get into them due to the front ones having backrests a mile thick and very little movement, you couldn't see out the back of it, car parks were a nightmare because even if you could twenty three point turn your way into a space there had to be nothing next to you because the huge thick doors needed a good six feet to open into before you could get out. Fuel economy was mid 20s which I don't mind if a car has something to offer in return but this didn't. TBH it was quite impressive given how hard you had to drive it to keep up with the traffic.

And then the famous Volvo electronic throttle failed. Tow to Volvo main dealer, £500+ for a new one plus coding it into the car, ball park total a grand. I had the money but hated the thing so much I just phoned the scrapman, when its weight came in handy again.



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29 minutes ago, Spiny Norman said:

Granted mine was the 170bhp non turbo version but I can't believe an extra 50bhp would make the difference

Genuinely laughing (and appreciating) the counterpoint review. 

Seems to be a bit of a marmite thing these P80s.

I have tried a NA 2.4 and it really did feel massively underpowered. It's not so much the max bhp figure as the lack of torque and the slightly peaky powerband. It also sounded completely different which is strange as it's almost the same block. The 2.3 T5 really is on a different planet though.

The GT trim also changed the handling quite significantly. The normal suspension felt more like a V70 in drag. The downside is the weight doesn't go well with stiffer ride quality of the GT, hence, crashy.

There was a big drop in quality in post 98 cars with the drive by wire throttle IMO. They already started to feel like Fords by the early 2000s.

Interesting to compare different production years of the same model. My 205 really feels like a pound shop car. Cheap, rattly, a bit noisy. DF2Ks 205 on the other hand actually feels like a much more solidly built car.

I've also driven 1998 P80s that felt like the whole interior was from a Kia, but they were built on a different line from the pre 1999 C70s.

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There may not be much point to this one since your chances of finding one have always been slim, and nowadays I suspect they're anorexic, but here goes.

The only other coupe I've ever owned (I know some people call 3 door Saab 900s coupes, I'm not one of them), the Toyota Paseo 1.5ST.

Bought on a whim from a serial Toyota botherer, he had a minty fresh early Corolla in the drive and a Ph2 Supra turbo round the back, this wee car was in lovely condition and looked a wee sweetie. ❤️

Typical mid 90s Japanese driving experience, maybe a little more 'raw' but it all slotted and slid together nicely. The engine only had about 90bhp but the thing weighed about as much as a cocktail stick so it got up the road pretty well and the handling was quite decent for something that was mostly sold as a basic starter car for US college kids.  It felt a bit cheap inside but it was a cheap little car, undercutting the Tigra by about a grand for the couple of years it was on sale in the UK. It was noisy and in  mine the gearbox whined a bit but it was a nice short shift and low geared to make the most of what little oomph was available. 20mph/1000rpm in top made it a bit frantic at motorway speeds but it never sounded rough or strained and was always on the boil.

It was tiny inside, the seats were thin and pretty uncomfortable although the driver's side in mine had partially collapsed and spares were unobtanium so I put up with it, I'm rarely in a car for more than an hour at a time anyway. I did once manage to squeeze myself into the back to clean the rear screen but I didn't repeat the experience. OK for small kids maybe. Boot was barely adequate too although the back seats doubled as storage space for soft bags if needed.

Very good on fuel, averaged 40-ish no matter how or where it was being driven. In town you could drive on the little motor's decent torque and at speed it really wanted a sixth gear for economy.

I liked it.

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My BMW 545.

It's a pre LCI SE so e60 snobs will look down on you and flick fag ash on your shoes because not M sport.

Low mileage ( 105 k) - 85k when bought by me. Was in generally good shape when I bought it - trader had to spend a fair chunk before he could offer it for sale.

That didn't extend to the valve stem oil seals - when hot there was a fair bit of smoke - I had done my homework on this before buying the car and knew I could get it done for £1k - this includes rocker cover gaskets and upper timing cover gaskets.

What's it like? Surprisingly quick for a two tonne saloon with an auto box - more than once I have clocked passengers suck through their teeth when I have pressed the loud pedal. I think of the Blackadder comment " goes like a privvy door when the plagues in town" to describe how it makes progress.

N62 engine lacks low down torque (535d is better in this respect) however it likes to be revved beyond 3k - American it isn't. Exhaust is too quiet and there are little or no aftermarket zorsts unlike 6 series.

Surprisingly good on fuel - 23 ish back and to to work and mid to high thirties on a run - it's better on fuel than the two litre auto laguna and mitzi galant I owned previously.

Not hard to service - however the N62 engine is a complicated lump and needs an owner not afraid to spend - too many of them now owned by people who bail out at the first big bill cos all fur coat etc. For this reason I wouldn't have another.

It's nice to drive and it is anonymous in a transporter - esque sort of way. And it went through it's MOT the other day without prolapsing.20221108_141845.thumb.jpg.3040f2607b15a6c395bed19a2ee2375e.jpg


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Cheap old Merc - possibly the most expensive car you will ever buy

Especially with no service history whatsoever and tinternet bringing up tails of woe by the tonne for petrol 4 pots

Still i dived in and was rewarded with a host of issues among which were 
Crank sensor , can magnets leaking oil , dash that half failed , leaking gearbox oil cooler pipes which resulted in the need for a rad as well , some other random pipes , serpentine belt tensioner exploded and the last MOT saying it needs more bushes than Kew Gardens .

Is it a joy to drive - YES 
Has it been reliable - well now it is until the next grenading bit of plastic  that is  

Pros - absolute luxury - well for me anyhoo 

Conns - expensive if bits go tits up , early ones are water soluble so facelift on only are the better ones 


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Hire car roundup:

Standard fare we get from Hertz currently is the Corsa. Surprisingly good actually, think they're a 1.2pez and shift alright. The spec that Hertz order them in come with a heated steering wheel and seats plus the obligatory 2 tellies. No satnav unless you plug your phone in. Verdict: not shit even though Vauxhall 

Also had a Leon FR 1.5tsi recently, from Enterprise. Came with the EML on for stop/start not working which was comforting. DSG gearbox, the first I've driven and I can see why they are popular, it just does things fine whether auto or flappy paddle. Interior and general driving uninspiring but felt quick for a 1.5 with the DSG. Verdict: not shit but not quite good.

Today got upgraded to a Qashqai of all things. 1.3 pez "mild hybrid" which seems to just mean stop/start. The stop/start didn't if you had the Aircon on but this was pretty pleasurable to drive TBH. Had radar cruise control and a speed limit detection system which seemed to work on 95% of things even temporary limits on the motorway. Did flash a bit if the limit was exceeded but was useful rather than intrusive as was the lane departure warning. Verdict: not shit.

What is a bit shit is you can barely tell which one you're in from inside. They all have exactly the same dash with one telly for the clocks, one for the infotainment and 300% too many steering wheel buttons.


Despite being tiny pez engines all of the above vehicles were reading low 20s mpg when dropped off by the hire company. A neither aggressive nor conservative motorway drive returned 45-50mpg in all of them.

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2003 Fiat Seicento Active 1108cc 54bhp

While this was a base car for emissions they stopped using the 900cc engine and all Seicento’s got the 1108cc Sporting engine. Also they chucked lots of kit on it as a run out model so it has power steering, electric windows and central locking.

It is a great engine that revs its heart out yet still has some torque. The performance is adequate to keep up with traffic, but you are not going to win any races. It will cruise at 70 mph and is reasonably quiet. I average 42 mpg and I am told that is very low for the car but I only use it for short journeys and not afraid to push the pedal to the floor.

It grips/handles fine but nothing special. The ride is good for such a small light car.

It is a tiny car and gets the last place in the car park that nobody can fit in, yet has plenty of room in the front. The rear has limited leg room. The boot is short but surprising tall giving a lot of capacity.

My main gripe is the tiny pedals spaced oddly.

It puts a smile on my face and I love using it.

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On 6/21/2023 at 11:36 AM, Soundwave said:

It's got that unique 90s Rover smell. Can't describe it with words, it's just an oddly reassuring scent of decaying 90s plastic. And decay it certainly has, on the door cards at least:

If you want that maft canned, get some XCP rust blocker in aerosol. 

Why the fuck it reeks of 90s Rovers I know not, but it's good. 

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The Rover 75.

I've had 3 so I'll keep it broad.

First impressions inside are what it lacks in build quality it makes up for in style. Richard Wooley's exquisitely fluid forms, especially inside are hard to ignore although opinions on it are polarised. The more you look at it, the more cues you notice that nod to Rovers of the 1950s and 60s.  Early cars had a personal line option where you could get the leather in some interesting colours and are really true to the prototype drawings. The soft backlit glow of the dials in winter is comforting to all except those with a swinging brick for a heart. Whilst the fit and finish is nowhere near Audi levels, the doors and handles are still reassuringly heavy. All the buttons on the dash are nicely damped, some beep and illuminate too. 

Even the basic Classic has plenty of seat adjustment. The cloth seats are more comfortable than the leather, unless you have a ZT or Contemporary spec which have completely different sculptured sports seats and are much more supportive.

Specs are decent across the Rover range but disappointing on the ZT (unless the first owner chose a lot of options) , most have A/C, electric windows and a decent stereo. The Harman Kardon system is an excellent upgrade.

The saloons aren't as roomy as you'd expect, the windscreen is shallow and beltline quite high. There's room for 5 as long as you aren't over 6 foot. The boot is on the small side due to the car's tapered buttocks. Tourers are much bigger and have a nifty hinged rear window for quick access. Load lip is low and the opening is wide.

On the move is where a tired example will disappoint.  Ride should be like a magic carpet. It's no handler but should feel weighty and satisfyingly planted. Steering is actually fairly heavy but its a good thing as it makes up for the lack of feel.

I've never driven a V6 but it is one of the creaminest sounding engines I've ever heard.

1.8 N/A is underpowered, 1.8T is meant to be better. They will break but the reputation for HGF is down to the small capacity cooling system. Even a short drop in level will mean the system is starved of coolant.

Diesels are unrefined but incredibly tough and give few significant issues. Not ULEZ compliant though, far from it.

Manuals can have a clunky gearchange and the clutch can be quite heavy. Often, once the silly plastic concentric slave cylinder fails (it's inside the bellhousing too), replacements are never the same and can fail again soon after. The Jatco auto is very basic but does have a winter mode. It's a lazy box that likes to stay in top as much as possible.

Rust isn't really an issue unless its lived next to the sea in Scotland its whole life. Sills can rot out around the jacking pads and in rare cases, the area around the front subframes rearmost mounts can corrode. Rear suspension arms can perforate but they've now been remanufactured and aren't ruinous to replace. The whole car is made of quite thick metal, no expense spared there.

Make sure the chamber that the ECU sits in, under the passenger side scuttle is not full of water, otherwise you'll get very odd electrical issues.

Are they shit? Definitely not. I've encountered a fair few jingoists in Scotland who think they're a gammon's motor, but most normal people now appreciate them to a greater or lesser degree.

I can see why Rover did not survive as they were priced above Mondeos and Vectras but although very stylish, the tide had already turned on D-segment motors after the Granada. This fell between those and a BMW/Audi/Merc and frankly, folk just thought these premium brands were worth the extra. I can't argue with that but will they have a following in 20 years? Absolutely not. 

Fiddly in some ways, graceful and comfortable in others, but definitely never dull.


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2018 Hyundai i10 1.2 SE (June 2021 - present)

The Nissan Almera (reviewed on page 3) was traded in for this. I just fancied a change and resented spending any more money on the decaying Nissan. Fancied a city car this time: a commuter car that will also cope with a modest grocery shop. A stretch of the imagination it may be but I think of this as a modern 'Renault 4'. The 1.2 SE was just the spec I needed - lowest one that had the larger 87 bhp 1248 cc Kappa engine (over the 1 litre 3 cylinder unit) AND air conditioning. I get around 46 - 46.3 mpg . The next spec up is the 'Premium' which looks much snazzier.

Positives: It is such an easy car to drive and is a hoot. Ideal learner car. Very well equipped for a mid range spec. Has been extremely reliable. My Hyundai dealer have sorted some issues out when it was still under the original warranty. Decent performance for a non turbocharged car with 87 bhp on faster roads but needs working through the gears. The blue tooth phone device has come in handy a few times. There is a 3 point rear seatbelt to make this a 5 seater (albeit a bit optimistic).

Negatives: Despite the high equipment specification a few things lacking on this SE that I would have liked are a CD player and an intermittent rear wiper. These are features that the 2003 Almera had. I would have traded in the rear electric windows and cruise control for those. A pair of coathooks above the rear doors would have been nice as well. The rear seats do not fold down flat. Interior is a bit funerial but the higher Premium spec addresses this. Some body roll and can be a bit skittish when pushed.

I  currently have an issue with a squeaky near side wheel bearing or brake at 50 mph+ but I haven't had the time to get it booked in to a mechanics.


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1970's BMW 1502 and 2002 review.

Pretty small 2 door saloon/ coupe which made BMW's fortune. Powered by the legendary M10 4 cylinder engine from 1.6 to 2 litres in capacity. Single carb (15/16/18 & 2002), twin carb (ti), mechanical fuel injection (tii) and turbocharged aspiration choices. Alpina also did  A2S and A4S versions. The A4S being top of the line with a slide throttle.



Roomy interior with brilliant visibility due to thin a, b & c posts. Probably terrible in a crash though.

Massive thin rimmed steering wheel which was not very nice at all to the touch hence why aftermarket (mountney) steering wheels were commonplace. Later BMW's like the e21 also good donors for a more modern wheel, even leather from a 323i if you were lucky.

Ventilation terrible. No vents bar windscreen and footwell. However all models bar the 1502 came with opening front quarterlights which could be turned to direct air in to the cabin or serve as an ashtray you never had to empty. Also the rear side windows opened on a  hinge.

Seats big, soft and comfy but no bolster support even on sporty ti & tii models. Turbos got scheel bucket seats. Fabric tended to disintegrate. Nice supportive headrests though.


Two interior trim levels . Standard and Lux. Lux models were identified by an elongated L under the 02 script on the rear panel. They came with wood front door pockets and trim and a centre armrest for the back seat passengers. Tii's had a clock in the middle of the dash just beside the instrument binnacle.


All the M10 engines were willing performers and quite sporty, even the 75bhp 1502. Oversteer was the dominant handling trait thanks to swing axles at the rear. Good powerful servo assited brakes. Hydraulic clutch. Nice mechanical feel from the Getrag 4 speed manual gearboxes.

Rusted badly everywhere. Lower front panels, lower A posts , front chassis rails, inner & outer sills, floorpan rear subframe mounting points, rear inner arches, rear arches, bottom of rear wings, rear screen lower surround and the boot floor. Real rot boxes, god knows what is under the shiny paint of the £20,000+ restored 02's for sale nowadays.



No idea why the photos are upside down.

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11 hours ago, wheel nut said:

Suzuki Jimny (was my parents)


Good points - excellent in snow, apparently also excellent off road but never fully tested its abilities there, easy to park and drive in town, useful tool for towing lower weight trailers.

Bad points - very slow acceleration, wouldn't want to try cornering too quickly, fuel economy surprisingly bad for such a small car, high road tax, tiny inside.


You forgot zero depreciation. My mother paid £13k for hers in 2013.(new).

WBAC valued it at £13.5k in 2022. 

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Smart Roadster. 

Heap of shit. 

It has the seating position of a canoe. 

And the semi auto box is more woeful than a Saab sensodrive

You have to treat the accelerator pedal as a reverse clutch pedal at low speeds. 

That's sounds obvious doesn't it, but try one and you'll know exactly what I mean. 

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On 6/20/2023 at 12:05 PM, juular said:

2013 Mini Countryman

Absolute worst heap of shit I have ever driven.

Car feels absolutely massive, yet there's no room on the inside.  The seats are designed for people under 4ft. You can't see out of it and the mirrors are symbolic.

Clutch pedal needs legs like Mandy Sellars to operate. Absolutely grim as fuck in traffic.

Speedo is on the centre console. WHY.

All of the switches and instruments are designed to look retro and cool, but turning on the wipers is like operating a rubik's cube.

Handling attempts to be sporty, but is just rattly, crashy and wearisome.

Engine attempts to be rorty, but is just noisy. It's noisy at idle. It's noisy at 70mph. It's tiring and grating.

It looks like a tarted up frog.

Fuck off.

Mini clutches are a lottery as to how heavy they are. I think it's an inherited BMW trait because it's exactly the same with a Rover 75 or MG ZT. 

Sometimes they're ridiculously heavy, sometimes no different to anything else. 

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18 hours ago, Six-cylinder said:

2003 Fiat Seicento Active 1108cc 54bhp

While this was a base car for emissions they stopped using the 900cc engine and all Seicento’s got the 1108cc Sporting engine. Also they chucked lots of kit on it as a run out model so it has power steering, electric windows and central locking.

It is a great engine that revs its heart out yet still has some torque. The performance is adequate to keep up with traffic, but you are not going to win any races. It will cruise at 70 mph and is reasonably quiet. I average 42 mpg and I am told that is very low for the car but I only use it for short journeys and not afraid to push the pedal to the floor.

It grips/handles fine but nothing special. The ride is good for such a small light car.

It is a tiny car and gets the last place in the car park that nobody can fit in, yet has plenty of room in the front. The rear has limited leg room. The boot is short but surprising tall giving a lot of capacity.

My main gripe is the tiny pedals spaced oddly.

It puts a smile on my face and I love using it.

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I learned in my dad’s identical 53 plate. It was a cracking thing, and such odd pedal position and clutch that I can drive anything without thinking about it now - everything seems normal and roomy in comparison! I’ve not driven anything since that was easier to park, apart from the two vans we’ve had. 

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Our first car - a 1995 Citroen AX, bought unseen for £250 from a man near Telford, in Feb 2020. I ignored the ominous oily puffs from the exhaust and handed the man a fistful of crinkled notes. It proved itself almost immediately by jump starting my B.I.L’s car - he’d left the radio on while we sorted out the tax and insurance. 

Didn’t use it as planned that summer for continental travel coz COVID, but it proved itself over the next year/15,000 miles of weekly commuting from London to the South Coast and visiting far-flung relatives. Only a 1.0, and a tired one at that, happiest at 63-65mph. 70 felt cruel for any distance (4 gear remember), but it managed 93 on a private test track, once. 

Bog basic spec - windy windows, manual locks, steel wheels. It was a ‘Cascade’ so it had stickers and a sunroof - fancy! Nothing electrical ever went wrong, apart from a fan switch. It smoked when cold (valve stem seals I think) and about once every 2 months if you were in traffic it would suddenly engulf itself in steamy exhaust smoke. I didn’t really really look into this but I think it was some sort of very intermittent head gasket leak - never used any water and never contaminated its oil. Used to scare our friends silly! 


I miss the old AX - nice spindly steering wheel, proper weighted steering feel, gutsy enough for most usage and fantastic fun on backroads. With hindsight, the 106 diesel that followed was a far better car - the AX leaked, was rusty, and all the bolts were made of cheese. I’d still have it back if I could afford it! 


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Tuned Saab 9-5 Aero HOT

2005 pre Edna model. I bought it with the following mods all done:

Noobtune Stage 3

Abbott large intercooler

Abbott 2.5 inch turbo- back exhaust system

Uprated Garrett turbo

Bilstein shocks and springs

Maptun 360mm front brake discs

Maptun 6 piston front brake calipers

Re calibrated rear brake compensators

Lightweight Revolution wheels

Apart from a Pioneer DVD player and speakers, the interior wax standard, two tone leather.

It produced just over 300 bhp, which isn't that impressive, but it was the way it put that power on the road. I could spin up the wheels in third with no issue.

Never had an issue with it in the 5,000 miles I drove it. The "slipping clutch under power" was diagnosed by the Saab mechanic as cheap tyres and wheelspin.

The only rust it suffered was at the rear of the sills where they joined the wheel arch. Repairs were £200 in welding and repainting.

Insurance was cheaper than the bog standard 9-5 I had immediately before it, the insurer stating that modified cars were generally looked after better.

Biggest expense? Tyres for some reason....20190119_155113.thumb.png.26c2480b34e90158c123875d6aff3168.png


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