How to Buy a Really Affordable Sedan in Europe
Only a few carmakers are still offering these back-to-basics affordable sedan models, and by affordable we mean really cheap. There's the Chevrolet Aveo Sedan, a car made by GM Korea, the equally Korea Kia Rio Sedan, two French sedans called the Peugeot 301 and Citroen C-Elysee and two Czech-built twins, the Skoda Rapid and SEAT Toledo, identical beyond the badges and trim levels. The list of affordable sedans should also include the Dacia Logan, which
First thing you'll need to know is that while all sedans are equal, some are more equal than others. All these cars have seating for five but some are more practical than others. the SEAT Toledo and Skoda Rapid for example are fitted
Another important aspect to buying an affordable small sedan is the engine and gearbox. While small petrol engines sound ideal on paper, offering low emissions and fuel consumption, the reality is most 1.2-liter engines you'll be tempted by are to be avoided, since they never match claimed numbers, are unpleasant to drive in and awful highway companions. For about €900 extra, both the Toledo and Rapid offer the 1.2 TSI 86, which is a turbocharged 4-cylinder and a much better bet than the basic 1.2 MPI. Despite having more power, the turbo usit is 1 l/100km more efficient.
Whichever model you chose, start&stop is very nice to have because it should save you about 0.5 liters per 100 km in city driving, if not more. Remember, you'll have to pay interest on a bigger loan for a diesel engined car, but there's no interest on the fuel used every month, so buy the cheaper car.
Perhaps more important than what happen you spend at the pump is what happens when your car breaks down The standard warranty is: 4 years for the Skoda Rapid, 3 years on the Dacia Logan, 5 years for the Chevrolet Aveo Sedan, 2 years for the Citroen C-Elysee and Peugeot 301 and 7 years for the Kia Rio (read the fine print though). A good relationship with your dealer can't hurt at all. I've heard of Renault warranties being voided because of a seat latch and I've heard of Kia dealers changing the whole front suspension under warranty due to "premature deterioration".
Perhaps the most important factor in your buying decision is the price, which is also the trickiest element. Every market in Europe is somewhat different. The UK, for example, doesn't have some of these car models we've been mentioning earlier since hatchbacks are more popular. In Germany, meanwhile, trim levels are more generous, while in France the locally made models are cheaper.
Stay well away from gimmicks like faux leather seats (they are awful in the summer), complicated infotainment systems with navigation (they age quickly) and large diameter alloy wheels which ruin the ride.
Parking sensors are good to have but it's worth testing if they work well on your particular car. We have tested some cars which wouldn't detect hazards at all and others that would go crazy over a tiny sidewalk that wouldn't hurt anybody. Simply put, every feature you plan on having on your car needs to work well. It's also worth looking into the soundproofing of the car. I believe Kia has optional proofing for the hood which is really cheap to buy, and you should also look out for the door rubbers.
With that being said, we wish you luck in battle with your dealer. Remember to take advantage of the best sales offers, haggle for a discount and maybe get winter tires or a full tank of gas out of the deal.