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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HiI everyone,
[posting on here about actual realities of our life in France always makes me a tad emotionnal as I remember the posts I posted on here years ago about wanting to try out the french life :)]

Anywayyy. So we are in the market for a car. I am french and my family is helping me look but when it comes to car, I wanted to get the opinion of my fellow expats and esp american expat :) As all french, my family always exagerate one way or another and I want some other opinions.

This will be my first car in France. We have owned 2 honda Jazz/fit in the US and a 2005 prius II that we adored and just regretfully sold in the US.

I always like the renault styles. Our faves are the renault modus, the renault megane, the peugeot 1007 and hubby loves fiat bravo which we rented a couple years ago.

I also found a 2006 silver prius and a honda jazz.

Here is the thing
I always complained about styling of US cars (we hated most of them, so we got a prius since at least it was better fuel efficiency). Dreamt about a european styled car. Now that I can buy one, I am worried about reliability.
We dont have much money, our budget us 7000 euros and while I can find tons of these cars in my price range used, I ve also read that their diesel versions (better fuel efficiency) had major motor problem. Especially the renault ones. (we are in dept 83)'. I am using the old auto plus/la centrale/le bon coin websites.

As far as the 1007, I am worried about resale (might have to resell next year if we dont stay) and the electronic doors. Plus it is prob too small.

And the fiat bravo.. well according to my parent once we have it, we will have it for life as no one really knows/owns that car anymore (case in point, there is only a few for sale).

Sooo.. What is your experience with french cars? Should I take the risk with the modus and not worry about what I read?
You have to understand we have NEVER had any major issues with any of our cars . Our Prius had 70K miles when we bought, and never had a problem. We sold it at 100K miles and I am sure it will go easy til 200K. Both Jazz were newer models under warranty.

I have looked into long term rentals but they are $$$ and probably not available for 12 months to self employed people :)

one more note: we were planning on using the car to drive around Europe/France but judging for the cost of our one way trip from Paris to Toulon with a very fuel efficient car (=120 euros one way with tolls and gas), we prob will fly/train.
I am also looking for a car that would keep its advertise fuel efficiency to less than 6L/100 so that our real life fuel efficiency is not too crazy.
 

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My Fiancé has a Renault Modus and I can't wait to get rid of it. I normally try to do minor repairs and serving myself but so much cannot be done without removing considerable parts of the engine!
For example, changing a headlight involves either; removing washer bottle, removing front bumper or removing wheel arch trim. Imagine trying to do this in an emergency on the road

I also have a Reanult Trafic for work. Whilst it is very spacious, it is very poorly put together. I bought it new but so many things have fallen off or broken and I have only driven 35000km so far. Other Renualt Trafic owners have said that after 1000000kms you need to get rid of it as it will start falling to pieces at this point.

So, in summary, avoid Renault.
 

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Cars are such a personal thing, it's hard to recommend one brand over another.

But one thing I have noticed here is that it pays to have a good dealer who you can count on for repairs and maintenance. I've always had Toyotas, and I was thrilled to find a family run Toyota dealership not too far from where I live. They're teasing me about my 18 year old Toyota, but when and if I need to replace it, I will go to them - if not for a new car, then to buy one of the used cars off their lot. (Have already talked to them a bit about getting a used Prius, though I'm kind of hoping my car will hold out until there are used Auris hybrids on the market.)

According to my Toyota people, they don't really make much on selling used cars, but they are required to take them in trade (if they hope to sell the new cars). So find a dealer with a brand you like and who has a good reputation as garagiste. Then go see what they have on their used car listing (probably best to stick with their brand, if you can). It may cost a bit more than buying from an individual, but it pays to develop the contact for repairs and maintenance.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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one more note: we were planning on using the car to drive around Europe/France but judging for the cost of our one way trip from Paris to Toulon with a very fuel efficient car (=120 euros one way with tolls and gas), we prob will fly/train.
I am also looking for a car that would keep its advertise fuel efficiency to less than 6L/100 so that our real life fuel efficiency is not too crazy.
€120 for 900km????? My Peugeot 407SW diesel will just about go that far on one tank full for €80. If you have 6L/100km then you would use 54 litres at 1.40 per litre = €75.

Follow Bev's advice and go to the dealer, and if you can do it pay on terms. They have to provide a warranty for the period of the terms. Personally I like the Peugeot range and there are hundreds of them around here with Citroen pushing Renault into third place or lower.

Happy motoring
 

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€120 for 900km????? My Peugeot 407SW diesel will just about go that far on one tank full for €80. If you have 6L/100km then you would use 54 litres at 1.40 per litre = €75.

Follow Bev's advice and go to the dealer, and if you can do it pay on terms. They have to provide a warranty for the period of the terms. Personally I like the Peugeot range and there are hundreds of them around here with Citroen pushing Renault into third place or lower.

Happy motoring
David, have you done much driving on the French autoroute (i.e. tollway) system? The tolls are a bit "surprising" for a first time user.

According to Mapy, driving Paris to Toulon will run you 108,74€ in gasoline (68 litres at 1.602 a litre, and that's the cheap stuff!) and 59,50€ in tolls. Gas is a whole bunch more expensive on the autoroutes and 1.602 is pretty close to what we're paying currently here in the Paris area for the 95 octane stuff.

Even with a diesel and prices at 1.414€ a litre, Mapy calls for 55L or a total of 78,39€ in fuel costs plus the almost 60€ in tolls.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
ok.. So overall Bev has a toyota (clever gal) :)...), jamesOK has a bunch of renault and is not happy, ... I am now leaning towards the honda jazz. I think the prius is too big for the small mountainous roads we have been traveling on. (just went to see a house in Salernes, which by the way is pretty cute)

As far as the cost Paris-Toulon.. we were dirving a brand new renault laguna (their highest end model) and fuel efficiency was awesome.. But as bev mentionned, the tolls got the best of us. We knew it and were prepared. They were actually more expensive than the gas!

My parents are all into Citroen. With hubby being 6'2, we have had no luck finding something comfortable from them. I was looking into the peugeot 307. Not a big fan of the style but not so pretty and reliable would be better than pretty and on the side of the road :)
Turns out the models that we can afford, used, have some pretty motor issue as well on the diesel versions.. And the essence one seems to not so efficient.
ahh... What to do..
 

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Hello,

I used to own a garage in the uk a while back and from this experience, I would never buy a renault or a fiat. If you want economy, buy diesel, 5 or 6 manual gears, probably Peugeot, or Japanese if your budget allows.

I recently sold my car by reference to Lacentral, then sold next day on leboncoin, so you're on the right track. However, in my opinion, a visit to a local used car dealership, preferably one linked to a franchise would be a better solution in terms of peace of mind and after sales.

Good luck,

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks John, I really appreciate your input!! You guys are confirming all my fears and putting us on the right track :)
Looks are not all what matters especially in our situation.
Modus is out, so is fiat bravo!
I will keep looking at out options. with japanese and peugeot
 

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David, have you done much driving on the French autoroute (i.e. tollway) system? The tolls are a bit "surprising" for a first time user.

Even with a diesel and prices at 1.414€ a litre, Mapy calls for 55L or a total of 78,39€ in fuel costs plus the almost 60€ in tolls.
Cheers,
Bev
Ouch - I stand corrected, those tolls are horrendous

I actually haven't seen a toll road on my travels yet <sets Garmin accordingly> and Ill now to my best to avoid them

Cheers
 

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Ouch - I stand corrected, those tolls are horrendous

I actually haven't seen a toll road on my travels yet <sets Garmin accordingly> and Ill now to my best to avoid them

Cheers
The toll roads here are in impeccable condition and usually are the most direct and efficient way to get from one place to another. (Not like the dreadful shape most toll roads in the US have fallen into.) There are also standards for the frequency of "aires" (the rest stops along with road).

I'll also give a small unsolicited endorsement for the autoroute system here: We spent the weekend at a donkey festival in Normandy. The route was one hour on the autoroute and then one hour on back roads, mostly through fields and woods, with few, if any, places to stop along the way - whether for convenience stops or for fuel.

The night before my return, I suffered a "gastro" attack and by the time I had to leave for home, was calculating quite precisely how long it would take me to reach the autoroute, where I was guaranteed a "rest stop" every 20 km or so. Not something you think about the first time you encounter the tolls here, but I was more than happy to pay the 11€ in tolls to drive "in confidence" once I reached the autoroute.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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The toll roads here are in impeccable condition and usually are the most direct and efficient way to get from one place to another. (Not like the dreadful shape most toll roads in the US have fallen into.) There are also standards for the frequency of "aires" (the rest stops along with road).

I'll also give a small unsolicited endorsement for the autoroute system here: We spent the weekend at a donkey festival in Normandy. The route was one hour on the autoroute and then one hour on back roads, mostly through fields and woods, with few, if any, places to stop along the way - whether for convenience stops or for fuel.

The night before my return, I suffered a "gastro" attack and by the time I had to leave for home, was calculating quite precisely how long it would take me to reach the autoroute, where I was guaranteed a "rest stop" every 20 km or so. Not something you think about the first time you encounter the tolls here, but I was more than happy to pay the 11€ in tolls to drive "in confidence" once I reached the autoroute.
Cheers,
Bev
Excellent point Bev. The toll roads in CA were immaculate and cheap ($1.50) and very uncrowded. No rest stops though - funny thing is we all in the UK believed Motorway Service Stations were an American invention, never saw one in the US :confused:

Cheers
 

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Chucking in my €.02 worth - My experience having crossed France North to South a few times is the toll roads are well worth it, nice easy motoring. If you want to see the countryside then go of piste but once you hit two towns on market day the autoroute seems a far better idea.

Nick
 

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cheap and reliable

Cheap and reliable cars are plentyfull

Hybrid
Honda Insight (Civic) is far cheaper than Prius Toyota, you could find a recent car for 12 000 euros with less than 30 000 k on the odometer. Family car but not a Porsche

small french car
strangely, automatic cars with petrol engines are cheaper than diesel and manual gear box.
Same price range as above, for a Peugeot Cabriolet 307 CC, with automatic roof, nice in southern France. Similar model Megane Renault.
real 4 seater, but not 5 seater

other options
Mercedes are cheap to run and super reliable. A car above 5 year is cheap on insurance. They retain high value on resale for vehicles with low mileage. Same budget as above. Diesel are overpriced.
Large Renault Espace (MPV) are reasonable to purchase and superb with a family . Low mileage and history book are compulsory. Avoid diesel, but select the engine withe the lowest petrol consumption.
Ford and Renault sale flexfuel cars that run indifferently on E85 (ethanol less than 1 euro per liter) and petrol. This could be a solution if you have PETROL STATIONS with E85 around your place (more in northern France than southern France)
 

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Chucking in my €.02 worth - My experience having crossed France North to South a few times is the toll roads are well worth it, nice easy motoring. If you want to see the countryside then go of piste but once you hit two towns on market day the autoroute seems a far better idea.

Nick
I completely agree...in fact, I'd go so far as to say France has the BEST road system in the world!

On the 'car' note...we just bought a used Audi from a Renault dealer...it has a 12 month 'warranty' and they are a large dealership with a large 'garage' which instills confidence.
 
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