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A reliable petrol car under 3500 €

Accord vs. Vectra vs. Passat vs. Mondeo

20/01/2014 08:44 |  Comments: 
3500 Euros to buy a safe, powerful, convenient and reliable 1.8 or 2.0 petrol car.

Totalcarmagazine's own Buyer's guide

Dear Friendly Car Dealer,

I’d like to buy a safe, strong, convenient and reliable 1.8 or 2.0 petrol car. I won’t be doing more than 10-15 thousand km a year, which is why I have disqualified diesels, besides being afraid of their service cost. I would use the car for longer distance trips: I’d do 100-150 km mostly on motorways, but I would also drive to work, so I’d like the consumption to stay under 10 l, even in the city. The Honda Accord 1998-2003, the Opel Vectra 1999-2002, the Volkswagen Passat V, and the Ford Mondeo 2000-2007 would meet my criteria, the latter being closest to my heart. The price can’t exceed 3500 euros, and I’m ready to spare 7-800 more for service. Which model would you suggest of the ones I mentioned? Do you have any other suggestions in the same price range? What typical shortcomings should I keep an eye on regarding these models?

Dear Reader,

The Accord 1998-2003 is my personal favourite. It’s reliable Japanese technology at its best. Of the ones you suggested, it’s the Vectra that tends to rust the most, you can generally expect rust to show up on the wheel arches, the sills, and the edges of the doors. The Passat is a less problematic car. The petrol Mondeo is fine, too, one of my friends drives one and he hasn’t experienced any problems whatsoever for 5 years. So, from your list I’d pick the Accord, the Mondeo, or the Passat, but you might also consider buying an Avensis or a C Vectra.


The Friendly Car Dealer 

"Dear Friendly Car Dealer" is a regular column in the Hungarian edition of Totalcar Magazine. Our Agony Aunt has been trading cars for over 20 years and knows just about everything there is to know about used cars. Should you have any questions for our expert, please send your email to

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