Buying a European Midsize Car on a Budget

I will show you the search results for buying a car with a budget of about 8000,- euro, This is about 9125,- dollars in US currency.
In this video series we look at 10 year old cars, all mid-size cars from various brands starting with European cars, Japanese cars and eventually American cars.

The following variables are kept in mind while searching for a capable mid-size car.

You drive around 15.000 km a year (less then 10.000 miles a year)
You prefer to drive a gasoline engine, you want a safe car for you and yours, and the power of the engine must be between 150 to 170 hp engine, off course the more the better. I will even explain the technical state of the vehicles based on research.

First we will go shopping in Europe.

Brands & types that come to mind;
volvo s60
Volvo v70, starting from the models from the year 2000 up towards 2007
Volkswagen Passat from 2004, a 2.0 litre engine (b5 and B6 models)
BMW 3 series touring from 2005 (e46)
Mercedes c-class w203

Volvo s60

The volvo s60 came to light in early 2000, it is a 5 door sedan from the Swedish manufacturer Volvo. These cars are quite popular in Norhern Europe. Build quality is outstanding and many cars have astronomical milage. Famous are the 5 cyclinder oldschool volvo engines, these engines are though, but make sure they are well maintained. If not, you can encounter some surprises along the way. It is not a big deal to buy this particular model / engine with a millage of 125.000 mile or more (that is 200.000 km for European standards)

This first generation was build between 2000 and 2009, so there are still relatively fresh examples on sale today.
Prices range between 2000 euro and 18000 euro, if you want a nice car be aware to bring about 7000 euro’s with you.
Great features of these cars are the reliability for the engines and the many safety features that swedish cars are known for. Definately worth a look if you drive a lot or if you want a representative car that also needs to accomidate the family in the weekend.

Volvo v70

If you like the s60 but you want a little more space for you and yours, then look no further then the v70 from Volvo. The first edition was build between 1996 and 2000. These cars still drive on our roads today. They are icons for Volvo and are a true statement of the build quality and endurance of the Volvo brand.

Offcource the design might be something that is not up to your liking, but to be honest you can get quite a lot of car for you money. Back in the days these cars where the best in their class apart from the German cars. If you are not a very dynamic driver and want to travel in great comfort with enough space then look no further then the v70.

Prices begin at least then a 1000 euro for cars that are from the nineties to early 2000’s with lots of experience to about 30.000 euro’s for a car that is 6-7 years old. Offcource then we talk about the second generation of v70 that came on the market in early 2000.

Essambly of the V70 took place in Sweden and Belgium, furthermore there was a factory located in Thailand.
The V70 also had the R variant, the series with lots of preformance. 296 HP to be exact.

There was also a cross country variant for sale, this Volvo was raised a little on its wheels, next to that it was equiped with ALL WHEEL DRIVE capabilities for a little offroading.

Let’s go from Sweden to Germany.

Let’s start with the oldest of the three, the B5 volkswagen passat.

This car is still interesting since it has all the VW old school engines, not TSI no TFSI, just old school 1.6 and 2.0 naturally asperated engines. Also these cars still occupy our roads today, but honestly they are getting old. This passat was introduced back in 1997, i suggest you go to the facelift models since they look a little sharper and up to date.

There is a whole variety of engines from patrol to diesel. All TDI engines, these are the turbo diesel engines are known for it high milage, this was one of the best diesel engines around in the nineties. Still to this day the TDI is around, but since then it underwent many adjustments to bring down CO2 emmisions and economics.

The interior is quite black and has lots of plastics , if you go for the highline models you will find leather and wood. The highline would be the pick of the range since they look good from the exterior and the interior, also these cars have most gadgets like cruise control all electronic windows and mirrors, heated seats etc.

If you look hard you might even find a w8 passat, these cars where only produced for a very short time since nobody bought them… If you go for a w8 you better be good friends with you local garage since the engine requires special treadment, the engine itself is quite complicated, if i say it correct the w8 engine consist out of two vr4 blocks coupled together by one crankshaft. Very nice hardware but expensive to repair if something goes wrong…. keep that in mind. Oh yeah, the power output of the engine was about 275 HP.

Let’s stay in Germany and go to Stuttgard

In the early 2000’s the Mercedes W203 hit the market to rival the BMW 3-series. Mercedes is always known for it build quality and outstanding drive. The build quality of this machine was not exactely what you aspected from Mercedes. Many of these early models of the w203 suffer from rust. There are specific areas you should look for when you buy a car like this.

offcource if you tread chassis with textile and check every winter for rust in the usal places, than this car can still blow you away by what it has to offer for the price you pay in 2016.

The car was manufactured between 2000 and 2006.

In Germany many of these cars are still for sale today, if you are lucky then an old grandpa bought it and looked after it all these years, and kept it in the garage out of the sun and rain. No disrepect…german grandpa’s

Since it has gotten more offordable sometimes the younger generation also found its way to this w203. I suggest you buy a stock car, instead of a car with spoilers and new LED lights, just to be sure.

This W203 is a rear wheel drive car, if this is your first rear wheel drive car then be sure to make a testdrive before buying it to experience the difference to a front wheel drive car.

The engine can also handle high millage, but make sure that the previous owner did regular maintenance to this car, otherwise you will be in for an unpleassant surprise. And then you will know for sure that you drive a Mercedes since the bill you receive can be quite shocking.

Then again, parts are cheap, labour in the garage is expensive.
You can save money by doing some maintenance yourself, and keep specialistic work for your local dealer.

Now let’s take a trip down south to Munich to look for a classic BMW

Here we take a look at the last contestant the e46 BMW 3-series

This car is also getting older now, but is probably one of the best documentated cars around. You can find milions of pictures, video’s and communities online. This car is still very popular so you can still spend 8000 euro on a mint looking car from about 16 years old.

The number one reason to buy a car like this is its sportiness, its a rear wheel drive car, it is aimed at the more sportive driver. This also means that the suspension is a little stiffer then for instance the Mercedes. Take this in mind when you do long journeys with a car. It might get irritating after a long journey, but that all depends on the driver and his/her preferences.

The car is quite small so if you want more space go for the touring, which is the stationwagon.

Since these cars are getting older there is much that pottentially could fail, for instance electronics, the engines are also quite reliable but only when regular maintenance has been done to it. If you drive a diesel engine be sure to check what has been done to the swirl flaps, there are some horror stories you can find online, sometimes these flaps break and are sucked into the engine, and when you are unlucky end up in your turbo, this can result in big engine damage and sometimes your car will be totalled…

You can have these flaps removed by a BMW garage just to be sure, sometimes a recall has been executed in the past, be sure to check if your vihicle already had a recall.

A long list of engines are available for these e46 BMW’s

Most iconic are the 6 inline engines from BMW, the offer good preformance, but they like to drink fuel like a germen drinks beer at the october fest, also keep in mind that these powerfull cars will eat up more tires then you would like.

Good examples with low milage are hard to find, high millage should not be a big problem but the car needs good maintenance. Always check the tires when you buy a car like this, it will tell you a lot abou the driving style of the previous owner, plus BMW’s have a very precise steering gear, if something is not alligned the correct way, you can tell by the way the tires are worn out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.