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    Default Citroen as 1st car

    Hello*
    The years have flown by and my baby has grown into a level headed, beautiful young lady who is about to celebrate her 16th Birthday.*

    I am very pleased that she is looking to expand her independence by gaining her learner drivers licence as soon as possible. Kind of a bit scary (where did the years go if nothing else!) but I am proud of her attitude.*

    She will start off with the Saab 900 to gain competency with a manual and it is a solid old thing. I think it is quite nice that she is learning to drive in the same vehicle that took her mother to hospital and her home after she was born.

    She has been working part-time and saving diligently for a car of her own. On Christmas day she was having a conversation with her Grandfather about cars she might be interested in. He was talking up Corollas, Mazda 3 etc but she quite resolutely announced that it would be a Citroen for her.

    Great, fun car shopping! I joined in the conversation and asked her what she might be interested in - possibly a C4 hatch or most likely a C5 wagon.

    A wagon? Yep paddle board and bike on the roof, heaps of room for friends and camping gear. Comfortable. Can sleep in the car at music festivals. Wow you have thought this through.

    So anyone with a C5 or Xantia wagon - preferably manual, preferably 4 cylinder petrol - in a day's drive of Brisbane and you are thinking of selling it in the next 12 months. Pencil me in as a possible purchaser.

    A bit of an unorthodox choice but makes sense over the hipster's selection of a Kombi or the default little tin can.*

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    Or do you think that a Camry/Commodore/Falcon wagon would be a better 1st car choice to do all that she wants without the potential of a major surprise ($) that I will probably have to cough up for?

    2017 is shaping up to be year of multiple car purchases.

    Cheers
    Jason

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    The SAAB's odd pedal placement introduces a layer of difficulty that a new driver can possibly do without. I find the auto C900 enough of a hassle after driving another car. A friend told me once of his companion driving the unfamiliar manual and hitting the brake instead of the clutch pedal at speed.

    An older C4 manual is probably a good option and quite conventional, yet unusually styled. Early 1.6 petrol (not the EP6 THP) or 1.6 HDi (select carefully!) manual are bargain options and gain the benefit of being a design generation up from the Xsara and Xantia. Look at the crash test vids, particularly side impact and you decide what best fits the bill. What you thought was 'solid' in the past doesn't always apply today due to the use of various high strength steels in even quite small cars designed to do well in NCAP tests.

    There are not a lot of C5s around as a manual and 2.0 4 cyl petrol is your only option in our market. All will be early cars with a few facelift hatches pre-2008 in manual form. They do have their issues and weaknesses. I can point you towards an early high km wagon in Sydney if need be.
    Last edited by David S; 1st January 2017 at 06:49 PM.

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    G'day,
    they say, if you have French cars as a hobby, you will not have enough money to buy drugs. You may also substitute motorcycles, photography, and any number of other worthwhile activities.
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    Not an early C5 Noooooooo!
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    David has it - a C4 1.6 or 2.0 petrol manual. Never an AL4 auto. Stylish and roomy.

    Station waggons whether Camry or C5 tend to cost more and good C5 station waggons don't come up often. Even then, 2008 onward (X7 series) only, and they are diesels.

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    Personally ... a 2005/6 HDI C5 is my weapon of choice.

    With roof racks.

    Fab.
    Once upon a time:


    Many R4s (incl. fourgonnette), R5LS, R16TS.


    GS 1015, 1220, sedans and wagons.
    CX 2200, 2400.
    ID 1966, 1969, DS21H, DSpecial, DS23 Pallas.
    C5 2002, 2004 petrol and diesel.
    D Special 1974
    Xantia Activa 1998 (look out Gulargambone)
    GS 5 speed sedan (what a tale)
    1986 2CV6
    CX25GTi 1985 auto
    CX2500 IE Pallas 1985 auto
    DS23EFI 1975 Pallas

    And now:

    C5 2.2 HDI 2005 wagon
    DS23 1973 Pallas

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    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    You can get the renault wagons with proper gearboxs ... that would be my choice. I don't trust any Citroen slugomatic gearbox that is in my price range

    You might even be able to chase up a megane 225 or something really fun like that for not many $$$

    seeya,
    Shane L.
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    '72 DS21 ie 5spd pallas (last looked at ... about 15years ago)
    '78 GS1220 pallas
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    Yay ... No Slugomatics


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    JBN
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    Although the Xantia wagon would probably be perfect and at a giveaway price, I wouldn't start a young driver on a hydraulic Citroen. They drive too differently to anything else that she would graduate to.

    I started my daughter on a automatic BX. She would commute from southern Sydney to Wollongong University along a road that can be interesting at times. On a lovely, sunny day with little traffic on the road, the trip turned interesting when the warning light came on indicating that she had low hydraulic oil. Fortunately, she neared the end of the freeway and was able to take the first off-road to the left....and then phoned Dad. I think that the fanbelt operating the hydraulic pump had broken or it was some other hydraulic oil loss, can't remember. These are the pains with old hydraulic Citroens.

    She never learned to drive a manual which could have been useful since she has lived in London for the past 8 years, but even the Poms tend to drive automatics these days. On the other hand, she never learnt to operate operator-connected, round dial or party line telephones, but she helped to get me started on my first smart phone.

    John
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    Our daughter's first car was a Renault 12 wagon, the second a BX wagon. Now she has a Peugeot 306. All manual and were/are very reliable but not 100%, but all were over 20 years old after all.

    There may still be the odd really good manual Xantia around, and ours did many years of completely reliable service. One thing they aint is a design with 5-star safety. I reckon that safety would be my first criterion. Personally, great as they are in many ways, an ageing C5 wouldn't be my choice (not least thinking about WHO would be sorting out the issues!) and the C4 suggestions (in manual) tick my box, not that they are huge. Staying French, an early 308 or Megane wagon perhaps. Being a convert in recent years, I reckon it is hard to go past a series 2 Scenic and the odd manual comes up for sale - there are a couple now on the east coast if you go looking on line. They are huge inside, great to drive and surprisingly compact on the road.

    There's a very good Scenic for sale right now - go to "Cars for Sale" on this website. It is a properly maintained, near immaculate, one-owner from new car, run by an enthusiast. Auto.

    No shortage of choice, is there!
    Last edited by JohnW; 2nd January 2017 at 09:40 AM.
    JohnW

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    Someone once told me the best model Citroens ( or any car) for young drivers are those models which stop faster than they go!

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    JBN
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    At the top of the list is the 2CV. Over braked with the disc brake version and underpowered in all versions. For people that have a fetish for manual gear change, the 2CV has that disguised as a cryptic crossword. It provides a constant source of amusement to passengers as the driver pushes the handle towards the windscreen or pulls it away. One does wonder for what unforseen circumstance one needs to know such peculiar slight of hand actions. Perhaps useful for aspiring magicians?

    I personally doubt the use of a young person having a manual when the motoring world is on the edge of self driving vehicles. In the 1960's when I learnt to drive, I had an MG TF with a gearbox that had the synchro rings ground down to just act as spacers. This gave it a crash gearbox which made it theft proof and gave me plenty of practice at changing gears accurately. Generally useless information. Around town I would prefer an automatic any day. Keeps life simple. Stop or go. Point and shoot. Concentrate on missing other road users, be they pedestrians, cyclists, motor bikes, cars or trucks.

    John

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    2CV crash safety rivalled only by that of the austin seven, which sez a lot.

    "Which" were trying to get them banned in the UK for years. Most unreasonable of them, but they did have a point, at least when looked at from the boring, bossy, OH+S/Mandatory online competency point of view.

    Learning on a manual gives you a level of mechanical sympathy you'll never learn on an auto. Also means that you can drive anything. Daughter learned on 205GTI and 404 and still refuses to even look at an auto. Most of her contemporaries ( she's 30 ) barely know what a manual is and certainly couldn't drive one.

    Which means that it's hard for them to steal one - it is a sad fact that even a manual gearbox, let alone a crash gearbox, provides a degree of theft protection these days.

    The rot started when they invented synchromesh!

    Andrew


    Quote Originally Posted by JBN View Post
    At the top of the list is the 2CV. Over braked with the disc brake version and underpowered in all versions. For people that have a fetish for manual gear change, the 2CV has that disguised as a cryptic crossword. It provides a constant source of amusement to passengers as the driver pushes the handle towards the windscreen or pulls it away. One does wonder for what unforseen circumstance one needs to know such peculiar slight of hand actions. Perhaps useful for aspiring magicians?

    I personally doubt the use of a young person having a manual when the motoring world is on the edge of self driving vehicles. In the 1960's when I learnt to drive, I had an MG TF with a gearbox that had the synchro rings ground down to just act as spacers. This gave it a crash gearbox which made it theft proof and gave me plenty of practice at changing gears accurately. Generally useless information. Around town I would prefer an automatic any day. Keeps life simple. Stop or go. Point and shoot. Concentrate on missing other road users, be they pedestrians, cyclists, motor bikes, cars or trucks.

    John

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    The 2CV was statistically the safest car in Finland, based on number of lives lost compared to number of registered vehicles. A 2CV with an experienced 2CV driver can avoid a lot of accidents with its braking, front wheel drive and its ability to handle off road conditions with aplomb. Being good at the latter means it is always part of one's crash avoidance strategy. The Austin Seven doesn't rate on any of those criteria.

    My old man had an Austin A70, the car on which I learnt to drive. It had a 4 speed column shift. I used to love to hoon around changing gear by "flat changing" - moving the gear shift as fast as possible just punching the clutch instantaneously at the right moment. Wasn't too good when your hand/foot coordination was a bit out. Comfortable seats but dreadful in all other departments.

    If one looks at modern cars and driving techniques, many drivers these days have automatics and use cruise control for long distance journeys, satnav to tell them where they are and where to go (in the old days they used thumbs and verbal abuse). Now the latest fad is "park assist". However much "mechanical sympathy" knowing how to drive a manual car may impart, today it is unsympathetic ("pathetic" for short) electricals that determine whether you will complete the journey at your speed or that dictated by the computer.

    John

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    Really, its not THAT important.

    As it happens, I realised that my daughter has been a passenger in a C5 for Ĺ of her life, learned to drive in a C5, and has virtually driven one exclusively since getting her licence.

    I did give her a go in the (turbo) Activa ... and I'm sure if she pursued it, she would have enjoyed it (a bit of a hoon)... and a manual, of course.

    I reckon "back in the day" da kidz were grateful for anything with 4 wheels that was operational.

    There is "a bit to be said" for an underpowered, underbraked car to learn more about defensive driving.
    Although I also drove Citroens at the time, the R4 was an abject lesson in getting your driving chops together.
    Once upon a time:


    Many R4s (incl. fourgonnette), R5LS, R16TS.


    GS 1015, 1220, sedans and wagons.
    CX 2200, 2400.
    ID 1966, 1969, DS21H, DSpecial, DS23 Pallas.
    C5 2002, 2004 petrol and diesel.
    D Special 1974
    Xantia Activa 1998 (look out Gulargambone)
    GS 5 speed sedan (what a tale)
    1986 2CV6
    CX25GTi 1985 auto
    CX2500 IE Pallas 1985 auto
    DS23EFI 1975 Pallas

    And now:

    C5 2.2 HDI 2005 wagon
    DS23 1973 Pallas

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    A learner needs to be allowed some protection from their own errors. Sure, you may learn from them if you don't die, but the road conditions have changed a lot even in the last decade and people's thinking about what constitutes a 'safe' car hasn't necessarily moved with it to reflect reality. Avoiding an accident is obviously the single best thing to do, but sometimes another driver makes an error or circumstances just arise unexpectedly and there is nothing you can do to avoid the result.

    The cheapest of cars are now quite capable and probably offer more power than a leaner needs to get into trouble easily. At least most of them handle better than in the past and have some assistance systems, so the ability to recover is also improved. There are also more vehicles on the road at any given time, they are likely to be driving faster and more aggressively (drop in the gap) than in the past and many of them are larger and heavier than in the past and driven by distracted and frustrated drivers. Short of a high speed offset head-on, the T-bone is probably the most devastating accident to be involved in because so few cars have really good side protection and there is no crumple zone at the side.

    If you hit or are hit by another car, then you may have the issue of mismatched mass and momentum, which is made worse in a higher momentum collision due to the construction of recent cars. In a significant collision, a car with a soft crumple zone and a rigid passenger cell will effectively use whatever is softer in the other car as a crumple zone once its own has been crushed. So, a collision between a smallish car of modern construction (soft front, rigid cell) versus a large, older car made of softer steel all over will tend to mean the larger car may come off worse despite the mass mismatch. Some of the crash tests show this and it will be the reverse of what many people expect.
    Last edited by David S; 2nd January 2017 at 04:44 PM.
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    Well said David. I would go for a newish small car. I would also ask the young driver what they would want. Citroen is not often the badge of choice for young people and peer group pressure plays its part. One aspect with popular cars is the ease of availability of panels. Parking by ear is often quite common with young folk. I was very thankful one of my daughter's had a Lancer. She was a hairdresser and drove/parked like one.

    I have had Citroen since 1984. The worst aspect with the breed is finding a mechanic that will work on them. The local Peugeot mechanic refuses to work on them, including replacing a timing belt on a Peugeot engined BX.

    John

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    Agree that the 2CV trumps austin seven on primary safety any day

    Numbers killed per car registered not necessarily a valid comparison, depending upon when study was done. At least these days they are commonly driven by crazed hairy old men like me who have gone through the process of natural selection of the early driving years and who have some ability to use the primary safety.

    Wouldn't like to be T-boned in either a 2CV or an Austin seven ( petrol tank in one's lap adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the equation. )

    Still want a 2CV though! Annoying thing is that dad and I had car no 83 from Slough ( unrestored ). When he died it was explained to me that it would have to be surgically disempacted from my rear end if I brought it home, so it was passed on

    Agree that electronic thingies make it all to easy to drift along in a haze of bad music and inattention. One notices this particularly strongly as a cyclist - watching people attend to everything except driving is terrifying.

    Best Wishes

    Andrew

    Quote Originally Posted by JBN View Post
    The 2CV was statistically the safest car in Finland, based on number of lives lost compared to number of registered vehicles. A 2CV with an experienced 2CV driver can avoid a lot of accidents with its braking, front wheel drive and its ability to handle off road conditions with aplomb. Being good at the latter means it is always part of one's crash avoidance strategy. The Austin Seven doesn't rate on any of those criteria.

    My old man had an Austin A70, the car on which I learnt to drive. It had a 4 speed column shift. I used to love to hoon around changing gear by "flat changing" - moving the gear shift as fast as possible just punching the clutch instantaneously at the right moment. Wasn't too good when your hand/foot coordination was a bit out. Comfortable seats but dreadful in all other departments.

    If one looks at modern cars and driving techniques, many drivers these days have automatics and use cruise control for long distance journeys, satnav to tell them where they are and where to go (in the old days they used thumbs and verbal abuse). Now the latest fad is "park assist". However much "mechanical sympathy" knowing how to drive a manual car may impart, today it is unsympathetic ("pathetic" for short) electricals that determine whether you will complete the journey at your speed or that dictated by the computer.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by FNQ1000 View Post
    Hello*
    ...but she quite resolutely announced that it would be a Citroen for her.

    Great, fun car shopping! I joined in the conversation and asked her what she might be interested in - possibly a C4 hatch or most likely a C5 wagon.

    A wagon? Yep paddle board and bike on the roof, heaps of room for friends and camping gear. Comfortable. Can sleep in the car at music festivals. Wow you have thought this through.
    ....
    A bit of an unorthodox choice but makes sense over the hipster's selection of a Kombi or the default little tin can.*

    ...

    Cheers

    Jason
    Back to the original question from the OP - Hi Jason - much in all as I love 2CV's!

    You have suggested your daughter is interested in a C4 or C5 wagon and it is "a bit of an unorthodox choice". Given er requirements for space for friends, camping gear and sleeping in car at music festivals, then perhaps a C4 Picasso or Grand Picasso would be a choice with space and would stand out from the crowd. Fairly conventional mechanically. However I am not aware of the reliability or common issues, a search on here may help in that regard.

    The Scenic is also a viable choice/alternative to the Picasso. Both are likely to have seen soft use as shopping trolleys and kiddie pickups if purchasing second hand so no real hard use either. Certainly likely to have been treated better than the alternative school pick up bus, the ubiquitous all wheel drive, from the Japanese/Korean makers.

    Manual or auto is an interesting topic, as can be seen by the comments thus far, but personally if there is much stop start commutes involved in the large urban centres then an auto would be my choice. You can then concentrate on what all the other road users are doing around you and it is not as tiring. As John said "Around town I would prefer an automatic any day. Keeps life simple. Stop or go. Point and shoot. Concentrate on missing other road users, be they pedestrians, cyclists, motor bikes, cars or trucks."

    Different if living in the country or a large country town (say like in Vic) where the commute is relatively short and rush hour is measured in minutes or seconds compared to the capital cities.

    My nephew has recently purchased himself a second hand Subaru outback as he is in a band and needs the space for his instruments. He is quite tall too and can sleep in the back with the seats down if needs must on occasions. If she wishes to look Japanese this may be an option to look at.

    I guess you and she will have to refine the likely use the car will get, not just the occasional country trip to a music festival, but the everyday use it will have. That may help you determine what is needed as opposed to what would be nice. Does she play an instrument that needs transporting? for example will factor into the equation. And remember (as I had to when my girl bought her first car) she is buying the car to meet her needs, not for your desires or wishes! Sounds like she already has a pretty firm idea of what she wants though.

    Good luck, hope this helps
    Peter
    1950 11BL
    1970 AZUA "La Poste" van
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter O View Post
    And remember (as I had to when my girl bought her first car) she is buying the car to meet her needs, not for your desires or wishes! Sounds like she already has a pretty firm idea of what she wants though.

    Good luck, hope this helps
    So right. Good lesson to learn early!!! Speaking from experience too.
    JohnW

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    Depends who will be paying for running costs. Check out local wreckers for parts availability and what the local mechanics are fixing. limit her a choice with that in mind if you are paying. A commobore or foulcan ute make a lot of sense. You have use for those yard and hardware store runs. The daughter gets a standout car with cred ( especially if a Canargo Pub sticker). Bikes and festivals no problem with a swag. Make sure it has a tow bar and nudge bar to assist parking. Less risk of distraction from young passengers and fits the P plate after 12 rule. Parts at the corner store and oil changes a breeze. I have learnt that after our three learners having citroen a as first cars...an expensive option

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    A 10 year old C4 HDi manual is a very good choice for a first car, cheap to run, plenty of power, comfortable and safe. Go for it but look for a good service history by people in the know. C5 manual wagons are a bit like looking for rocking horse poo so a C4 to me makes more sense.

    My daughter started off with a 306 manual, then another 306 manual and now a Holden ute 6cyl manual which has prooved to be the biggest pile of dog droppings we've ever owned and everyone tells me it's normal Holden reliabilty, just shows we've been spoilt with our French cars.

    I wish all teenagers were a sensible as your daughter
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    I don't get this "French is expensive - get a Holden/Ford/Toyota". People are unfairly compariing French dealer cost$ with non-dealer supplier costs with the others.

    My young fellow bought an oldish Pug (his money, not mine), kept it for many years and spent little (regular maintenance items and a muffler I think). I was impressed by its reliability.

    A mechanic mate was impressed too. He had a business built on Holdens and Fords.
    Last edited by seasink; 3rd January 2017 at 12:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by seasink View Post
    I don't get this "French is expensive - get a Holden/Ford/Toyota". People are unfairly compariing French dealer cost$ with non-dealer supplier costs with the others.

    My young fellow bought an oldish Pug (his money, not mine), kept it for many years and spent little (regular maintenance items and a muffler I think). I was impressed by its reliability.

    A mechanic mate was impressed too. He had a business built on Holdens and Fords.
    Your right, comparing my daughters VY ute everything we've bought (and it's a big list) has been dearer than the same part for a Frenchie. The only advantage is we can buy them at Repco/Bursons etc.
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    JBN
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    Quote Originally Posted by seasink View Post
    I don't get this "French is expensive - get a Holden/Ford/Toyota". People are unfairly compariing French dealer cost$ with non-dealer supplier costs with the others.

    My young fellow bought an oldish Pug (his money, not mine), kept it for many years and spent little (regular maintenance items and a muffler I think). I was impressed by its reliability.

    A mechanic mate was impressed too. He had a business built on Holdens and Fords.
    I bought my first Citroen because I couldn't believe what you got for such a cheap price. All the other used Citroens were bought on the same basis. The most I paid for a Citroen was $7,500 for my first CX in 1984. After it was written off, I collected $9,500 from insurance. My last Citroen, a Xantia for my wife, cost $2,000 in 2009. Still going strong for the price of a song.

    Basically, I can't AFFORD anything other than Citroen.

    John
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    Both my girls learned on and had a BX as first car. Brilliant in that power and chassis competence were well matched. A C4 would be my recommendation for the same reason even though nowhere near as good as a BX.
    Mine

    CX Prestige
    Toyota Prius

    In the family

    Xantia SX

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