Car Advice - Mummy Cars!



  • Right, I know there are loads of blogs out there and auto journalism is plentiful, but I don't want the views of these guys. I want the views of the real experts - the everyday users, the weekly shopping, running the kids to school, picking up the pissed up husband from the golf club ..

    I'm looking at buying the wife a spanking new car, never done that, and want to do that at least once in my life. It'll be in the UK, and after discussions with the wife, we are looking at either Mazda 3, VW Golf, BMW 1 series or Audi A3. For some reason she refuses anything made by Vauxhall / Ford (no idea why) and I refuse anything made by Skoda ... and I think cars in the UK are cheap enough so there is no need to look at Hyundai (even though I reckon the I30 is a cracking looking car) / Kia etc.

    So, anybody on the fern, or partners of the fern, have experience of owning these cars? Living with them everyday? Our offspring are 2 and 4, so legroom isn't that much of a consideration at the moment.

    All thoughts appreciated!



  • We have the last model A3, nice car, more boot room than the bmw. I'm not sure about the current model but it appears to have a roomy boot. If you want boot room I'd look seriously at the Audi. Otherwise the golf is a nice car to drive, I find the beemer to be a little less roomy



  • @MajorRage said in Car Advice - Mummy Cars!:

    I'm looking at buying the wife a spanking new car, never done that, and want to do that at least once in my life. It'll be in the UK, and after discussions with the wife, we are looking at either Mazda 3, VW Golf, BMW 1 series or Audi A3. For some reason she refuses anything made by Vauxhall / Ford (no idea why) and I refuse anything made by Skoda ... and I think cars in the UK are cheap enough so there is no need to look at Hyundai (even though I reckon the I30 is a cracking looking car) / Kia etc.

    The Audi A3 is the same platform as the Škoda Octavia and VW Golf. I know a couple of people with the RS wagon and they're great.

    The i30 isn't just a good-looking car, it's excellent. I've used them heaps as rentals and think highly of them.



  • I share Mrs MR's dislike of Vauxhall's. We used a couple as rentals over here before buying and they were pieces of poorly designed crap. The worst thing about them was visibility and ability to accurately judge where corners/sides of your vehicle are due to the roof and pillars being narrower than the body.
    I'm sure you get used to it after a while but given the narrow roads around here I like to be quite comfortable in knowing I'm going to miss something.
    The wife often gets given a work Skoda to use and says it's a nice drive both in town and on the motorways.



  • @MajorRage As Antipodean said, the Audi A3 is the same platform as the relevant Skoda and VW. What you get with Audi though is better spec and (I feel) better build quality. For sure Skoda have upped their game and VW has good previous in build quality but the standard you get with Audi is significantly better. Put simply, it is just a much nicer environment in which to sit.

    We've had a series of Audis over the last few years staring off with an A3 1.8TFSI and then two S3s. We currently run the latest model S3 and it's brilliant. Bloody quick though so you might not want the mem-sahib running it around down to Tescos each day as the fuel consumption matches the performance. Good leg room for a mid sized hatch and good luggage space. We took four adults down through France from Calais to Nice in the summer with no issues at all.



  • You guys earn to much.. or spend to much on cars.

    My wife drives a Suzuki.... she has not complained.... or I wasnt listening.



  • @Baron-Silas-Greenback we have one of them too, although the wife makes me drive it more and she drives the big car 😕

    I take the little car, she gets the kids, I think that is a fair trade off....



  • I borrowed a Suzuki swift aka a 'faggotmobile' from my Mum for a few months when my ex wife ended up with the Holden. It was great for getting in road rage incidents and I needed a tin opener to get in and out.

    Ran on the small of an oily rag though, I do miss that.



  • Wife has a Golf GTi that I was a little rude about on another thread - but only because it's parents are the Beetle and Kombi. It is actually a really good car. So good that I bought it back from Hong Kong to NZ and we still have it. 10 years old now. Fast, practical, safe. A little light in the power steering (at speed) is my only complaint.

    Have driven A3 when my Audi has been in for service and quite liked it. Audi build quality is usually good. The opposite can be said of Vauxhall these days. I did have a Chevette 30 years ago and got it to 300,000km but have had rentals since that were awful. Never driven a 1 series but the 3 series have always been good cars.

    What I can recommend is a single cab (kids go on the back with the dog), 4wd (dragging boat off beach), flat deck (sheets of ply) hilux ute. Around the turn of the millennium was a good vintage.

    I'm sure none of that helps whatsoever.



  • @MN5 Suzuki Swift? That and the Nissan Micra are the only two cars that are legally made from bacofoil



  • @MajorRage if you go and test those 4 cars you mentioned the biggest things you will probably notice is the road noise (Mazda 3 the worse) and the handling around corners (A3 being the best). All of them are a solid build, but I found the difference in traction is something that you will pick up.

    If you are willing to spend that little bit extra I would go with the Golf GTi. It's a fun car to drive, won't break the bank like the S3 and there are I found considerable improvements from the standard Golf models and the GTi.



  • Just wait a while and get a Tesla Model 3 😉



  • Thanks for the replies! Alot of good points raised

    @Snowy - the hilux points helped out a lot! I will 100% buy a Hilux at some point, for sure - but not right now, but once I get the hobby farm cranking, for sure. At the moment, it looks like my daily drive will be a Discovery ..

    @Baron-Silas-Greenback if I was in NZ, no way would I buy a new car and I'd happily go the Suzuki (for the wife ...)

    @Catogrande S3 would be great, but yes, this is just for the missus who has zero no-claims as we have only had one car here. So the insurance would be a killer

    @ACT-Crusader thanks for the road noise heads up on the 3, we are test driving one on Thursday, will take note of that

    Seems like the forum likes the A3 ...



  • Vorsprung Durch technik



  • Thoughts on buying a European model in NZ? higher costs for parts or servicing??





  • @Paekakboyz Absolutely. The dealership service departments will gouge you big time, but you can save by using an independent workshop. We have some up here owned by guys who broke away from the dealerships. Still more expensive than your average Japanese car I'd say



  • A full service for a jap or holden/ford is around $280-320

    I Imagine it would be the thick end of a $1000 for a Euro?



  • servicing most vehicles through their 'dealerships' is always pricey and they will always try to tell you they are the only ones that can do it...

    I had my vehicle serviced a month back for it's 15k service, $170 vs $500 at Dealer...and mine is a NZ new Jap car.

    I had a Hyundai (our own one) and it was about $400-$600 for the dealer services, my old work Hyundai was more, but I didn't care cos I wasn't paying.



  • @Hooroo yup. Once bitten, never again



  • @Hooroo

    I go to an Audi approved independent and can get a full service for around $400.

    Don't mention tyres though

    Still rather have a nice European motor any day.

    It's not losing your license that's the challenge - all them horsies under the bonnet wanting to go for a gallop



  • @MajorRage Ha! I wasn't really suggesting an S3 as a mummy car, but any model A3 is pretty good. 2.0TDI might be the trick, good economy and still has a fair bit of poke. As for the insurance does Mrs MR not have any no claims due to accidents or just because she's not the named driver? If the latter you ,might want to consider multi-car insurance which allows you to be named driver (and therefore get the NCD) on one car and Mrs MR on the other. I'm doing this for all my lot and get a pretty good deal, plus Mrs Cato now has 5 years NCD and one of the smaller Cats has three years NCD.



  • We never take Mrs CFs 1.4 out of the city limits, very economical but not a total slug. The steering and brakes are much lighter than my Bavarian battleship



  • @dogmeat Using the dealer for the service is helpful if you buy new as they're pretty hot on warranties and will use any excuse to invalidate them. I pay about £250 for my Audi and about £450 for MY car (911) but that's only every two years so pretty reasonable really. Mind you if you add on a full brake fluid change it ups it a bit.



  • @Catogrande She's down as a named driver, but I've only recently learned that she doesn't accrue NCD as only one driver can accrue that. Wish I'd known that as would have changed her to the named driver after 5 years, in which case she'd now have 3 years.

    S3 and 911 as your two cars. Very good. Very very good.



  • @MajorRage said in Car Advice - Mummy Cars!:

    @Catogrande She's down as a named driver, but I've only recently learned that she doesn't accrue NCD as only one driver can accrue that. Wish I'd known that as would have changed her to the named driver after 5 years, in which case she'd now have 3 years.

    S3 and 911 as your two cars. Very good. Very very good.

    MR, don't you have an insurance history from outside the UK that you can transfer over for her? I managed to get the NZ AA* to send an email confirming lifetime NCB for all named drivers on our cars. Reduced our UK insurance from "completely fucken stupid rip-off" to "I guess if that's what I have to pay then I will"

    • this is despite NZ not really having NCBs any more. They surprising still keep note for the purposes of insurance history overseas


  • @Crucial No, we've only had one car the entire time we've been in HK, and as you can only accrue for one, then it is what it is. I will try all the tricks in the book though!



  • @MajorRage Worthwhile getting a quote from Admiral or Aviva for muti-car insurance. I've even known Admiral to sharpen their pencil a bit if their quote is higher than elsewhere.

    Yes, I'd be a rich man if it wasn't for my degree of petrol-headedness.



  • @MajorRage said in Car Advice - Mummy Cars!:

    @Crucial No, we've only had one car the entire time we've been in HK, and as you can only accrue for one, then it is what it is. I will try all the tricks in the book though!

    Yeah the system over here beggars belief at times. It has less to do with risk assessment/management of the customer and more to do with ticking boxes and risk management of the flunkies employed to take orders. I assume you are using a broker to work around some of the crap?
    My son is about to go through the insurance nightmare over here and one thing we discovered is that they won't even acknowledge the fact that he has been driving since the age of 15 with a clean record because their systems throw a wobbly when confronted with a number that doesn't fit with the UK driving age. So basically he loses 2 yrs of clean experience which is worth a lot of £ per annum.

    The insurance market over here (and in Oz) only confirms my argument against compulsory insurance in NZ. As a consumer you are far better off over all if you remove the type of driver that won't pay for insurance from the claims pool.



  • Hmmm, I'm not sure I agree with all of that Crucial.

    I take your point of about not being able to fit in people of outside age etc, but I can see why they would be unwilling to bend outside the laws that govern your country.

    I like the way that it's basically impossible for younger drivers to get higher powered cars. Despite being a bit of a petrol head myself, I was also a teenage driver, and in my view, there is simply no justification for younger drivers to be able to have access to sports / higher powered cars. When you are a new driver in the UK, you can basically only get insurance for 1-1.2 litre cars. It's impossible for a 17 year old to be behind the wheel of a sports car. Which is the way it should be.



  • @Catogrande said in Car Advice - Mummy Cars!:

    @MajorRage Worthwhile getting a quote from Admiral or Aviva for muti-car insurance. I've even known Admiral to sharpen their pencil a bit if their quote is higher than elsewhere.

    Yes, I'd be a rich man if it wasn't for my degree of petrol-headedness.

    What else have you owned apart from the 911?



  • @MajorRage said in Car Advice - Mummy Cars!:

    Hmmm, I'm not sure I agree with all of that Crucial.

    I take your point of about not being able to fit in people of outside age etc, but I can see why they would be unwilling to bend outside the laws that govern your country.

    It's nothing to do with bending laws. Retail insurance is all about grouping together a set of customers then on-selling that risk to another insurer as a group. If, for example, their re-insurance is geared around clean, older drivers with garaged cars then obviously they will set obstructive premiums (or refuse outright) someone that doesn't fit that bill.
    If you have calculated your risk level at drivers with, say, over 7 years clean experience and are offered a customer that fits that profile it is counter to your model to then refuse to acknowledge 2 years and turn them away.
    Basically they have decided that it isn't worth the bother to have exceptions that their call centre staff can't deal with and are willing to turn those customers away. It probably does make sense profit wise given the %s, but nothing to do going outside of laws.
    As an example, we have 'special' plates on our car and although this has no bearing whatsoever on our risk profile (are we more likely to have an accident or not lock our vehicle because it has non standard plates?) we had to go to a special broker who had arranged a special policy with an insurer to cover this.
    The only thing stopping other companies from providing the insurance was that the non standard plate couldn't be entered into their system.



  • @jegga It's my second 911. It's a 991 variant Cabriolet S. I had a straightforward 997 variant Cabriolet before that. Previously I had a Merc 350SLK which was good but not as raw as the Porsches and my first out and out sports car was a Boxster which was great fun if a little under-powered.

    The latest one is my favourite, partly because of the way I bought it. Mrs Cato was away for a week in the Med with her family and when she got back there was the new car on the driveway. She was not best pleased but couldn't say Jack because she'd just had a holiday with the out-laws.



  • @Crucial Motor insurance in the UK is a bloody basket case. You're right about anything non-standard is nowadays a straightforward "No" from all the mainstream insurers who all have scalability in their underwriting as the main driver of what is acceptable or not. As a for instance, just over a year ago when I was shopping around for cover I couldn't get cover from Aviva (the biggest UK insurer) because they couldn't input the value of my car - basically it was in a tickbox that wasn't on their screens.

    Another thing that gives me the shits is insurance for young kids. I don't have a problem with the premiums being higher to reflect the risk but it is getting out of hand with the result that there are growing numbers of young lads who just won't bother with insurance and that leaves the rest of us carrying the can. An example of the craziness was Ms Cato no2. As a learner and a secondary driver for a Mini One the cost for her was about £350. Once she passed her test the premium went UP to over £1,000. It was at this point I discovered multi-car insurance.



  • @Catogrande how does the multicar insurance work? We didn't add our son as a driver onto our car as it shot the premiums up too much but it may be worth it to balance out his own car.



  • @Crucial said in Car Advice - Mummy Cars!:

    @Catogrande how does the multicar insurance work? We didn't add our son as a driver onto our car as it shot the premiums up too much but it may be worth it to balance out his own car.

    Basically you insure all your cars on the one policy (we have three). My car has me as named (ie main) driver and this benefits from my NCD. My car also has Mrs Cato as a secondary driver. The family car has Mrs Cato as main driver (to qualifies her for NCD - now she has five years), then me and Ms Cato No1 as secondary drivers. Third car has Ms Cato No2 as main driver (racking up her NCD as we speak) and the rest of us as secondary drivers.

    You get the standard price if you insure one car and then get discounts across the board as you add further cars.

    It costs me around £1,800 a year to insure as follows:-

    Porsche 911S: Me plus Mrs Cato
    Audi S3: Mrs Cato plus me and Ms Cato No1 (aged 25)
    Mini One: Ms Cato No2 (aged 21 and no NCD as yet) plus the rest of us.

    All fully comprehensive insurance.

    BTW it took a bit of bargaining to get the premium down from just over £2K initially, so always worthwhile trying.



  • @Catogrande I thought the original Boxster was pretty gutless. But that was 20 years ago and they've made a lot of great changes since then. In 2011 they brought out the SS, it was a genuine grunt car but with the convertible and sleek look. My favourite of the lot, however I'm hearing great things about the 718.

    I've never owned a Porsche, they're not my cup of milo, but friends own a Prestige car dealership that specialise in Porsche, so always get their hands on the latest for me to take for a cruise 😎



  • @ACT-Crusader said in Car Advice - Mummy Cars!:

    @Catogrande I thought the original Boxster was pretty gutless. But that was 20 years ago and they've made a lot of great changes since then. In 2011 they brought out the SS, it was a genuine grunt car but with the convertible and sleek look. My favourite of the lot, however I'm hearing great things about the 718.

    I've never owned a Porsche, they're not my cup of milo, but friends own a Prestige car dealership that specialise in Porsche, so always get their hands on the latest for me to take for a cruise 😎

    Yeah the original Boxster was gutless. Clarkson famously said it did not have enough power to pull a greased stick out of a pig's bottom. That was the 2.5l version. Then came the 2.7l which was upgraded a few times. I had the 2.7l second generation (I think). It was certainly quick but the chassis could handle so much more. The S version and then the GTS were much better. There was also the short lived Boxster Spider which was a stripped down version and was actually something special but no creature comforts at all. I went to the launch of the 718 at my local Porsche dealership and it does look to be the nuts. But alas I am now hooked on 911s.



  • @ACT-Crusader Re Porsches not being your cup of milo. I totally understand, such things are very much a matter of personal taste.

    Some people I do business with have good connections with the local Ferrari dealership and occasionally we get a bit of a jolly. Last year I got to have a blast on some local roads in four different cars. A Maserati Ghibli diesel (I kid you not), a Maserati Quattroporte, a Ferrari California and a 458 Italia. To be honest I was only taken with the Ghibli and the 458.

    The Ghibli was a really easy car to drive, fast, comfortable and handled well and the engine sound was just great. When I asked how they got a diesel to sound so good they looked a bit sheepish and said something about a speaker system within the exhaust system 😆

    The Quattroporte was just a lump. The California was OK but TBH it offered nothing more than my 911 and did not have the same wow factor.

    The 458 was a totally different kettle of fish and was just amazing. I had about 20 minutes driving in it and when I got out I was buzzing but it felt like I'd been driving for two hours. The sensations were just so immediate.

    The 911 is a car you can easily pootle around town in, but then set in in sport mode and it becomes a beast. Put it in sport plus mode and it's like being back in the 458 but not quite the same level of performance. On a longish trip up to London (about 200 miles for me), I can AVERAGE over 70mph and still get 32 mpg from the 911. Not planet saving I know but not too shabby for the performance levels.



  • @Catogrande I like hatchbacks with a bit of zip. I've had Polo and Golf GTi's, A3 2.0, 147 GTA.

    A couple of months ago tested the A45 AMG, M135i and RS3. For overall performance as both a general use car and something to have a bit of fun with, the A45. But for pure grunt I found the RS3 more punchier than the A45. I was pleasantly surprised by the M which has a base price that is heaps cheaper than the other two, but BMW always has those expensive extras which other brands tend to include as standard. The M did seem a less heavier ride than the A45 even though it carries the 3.0 six against the 2.0 four.


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