What do you drive?

(Mandy Davies) #1

Good afternoon everyone

I was just reading a topic on here and it got a little diverted onto cars and it got me wondering what Brits choose to drive. Have you kept you car from the UK? Do you drive a French car like the majority of the French? Have you stuck to the brand you know like Ford or Toyota or BMW?

I’ll start off. I’m still driving the car I bought when I first arrived in France in 2007. It’s a tiny dark green Ford Fiesta and is now 16 years old. It’s battered and bruised but it gets me where I want to go. Back then French cars had a poor reputation and so I chose a make and model I knew and trusted.

(Anna Watson) #2

The first car I bought in France was an early 1990s RHD Rover 200 that had been imported way back by its previous owners. From memory I paid 350€ for it with a brand new CT, it passed the next CT no problem, and the engine fell to pieces about a month before the CT was due again.
I didn’t have a car for several years after that - when I was deciding where to live, one of my criteria was that it had to be convenient for public transport - and I used the motorhome or borrowed a car if I needed personal transport. Last year I bought a 15 year old Saxo. I paid a lot more for it than I did for Red Rover, it’s prettier to look at but I suspect it’s not going to be as good value for money.

My relationship with cars is funny really cos when I was in my teens and 20s I was car-mad, I kept getting new crushes and swapping my cars - a purple Mini, an AH Sprite, a Ford Capri, a Nova with go-faster stripes, it makes me cringe now looking back but I loved them all at the time and spent lots of money on gadgets and accessories. Then in my 30s I suddenly I lost interest and started buying cars that I wouldn’t have dreamt of owning a decade earlier, and keeping them until they fell to bits. These days I go weeks or even months without getting the car out of the garage. Though I couldn’t live without my motorhome.

(Véronique Langlands) #3

I had a couple of Renault Espace, v handy when you have 5 children, then a Renault Trafic (best car ever) and now an enormous Mercedes which actually takes up more room than the trafic did, while being able to carry fewer people :frowning: I think my favourite car was the Trafic even though it wasn’t glamorous and didn’t go at a zillion kph etc etc (not that I go at that speed except when allowed to, on German motorways)

(Andrew Hearne) #4

Day to day it’s my business’ Fiat Doblò van and with three seats up front it meeans I can pick the kids up from school in it too :smiley: Fiat Stilo SW for family trips/holidays, OH has a Fiat Panda, before that she had an Escort estate and I had an Opel Astra, all LHD all bought here, OH still doesn’t dare drive a RHD car when we hire one on our yearly week’s trip to the UK. Why Fiat’s - you can pick them up 2nd hand for loads less than a Renault or PSA and they’re just as good IMHO :wink:

(Dave Ellen) #5

Lhd skoda yeti…betty the yeti…french reg so all good. Down 130 bhp on my last but hey ho

(Ann Coe) #6

You have given me a touch of nostalgia here Andrew. We drove down to France ( many years ago) in an old Fiat Panda that towed a small trailer with almost all our worldy goods. I loved that car, she seemed like a Tardis in that we could stuff her full of things and still have pockets of space, the back seats were sort of supported on two poles that could easily be re arranged. We had her changed to French plates, big surprise that she passed the mines control ! At that time there were some really good deals on ‘cash back’ if you bought a new car. Well we traded her in and bought another Panda, this one was shiny :slight_smile: When my mother came to live here with us 2 doors weren’t practical, especially as mum was disabled! Another good deal with Fiat, so we changed her (sniff, sniff) for yet another Fiat, this time a Doblo, she gave great service but was underpowered and eventually ‘died’, she was shipped off to Belgium to be replaced by my current Citroen Berlingo, shipped from Belgium at a very good price. I still miss my little Panda though, she was so easy to drive and park. I must admit if ever I had the choice I am ‘attracted’ by the Dacia range! :slight_smile:

(Timothy Cole) #7

Nissan Qashqai +2 and Ford Transit.

(Andrew Hearne) #8

I had one of those first Pandas too, then a later one, a 500, they’re great little cars! The Doblòd are good too but it’s well known the the smaller engined ones struggle too much - I’ve got a 1,6 105cv which has plenty of umph but not quite up to the nice 1,9 120cv block in the Stilo. The Panda is horrendously slow though :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

(Mark Robbins) #9

Never had a Fiat. Borrowed one from a mate and drove to Berlin to see “the wall” concert. Came back via Hamburg…long story​:zipper_mouth_face::blush: but it never let us down.
Now have an old Land Rover Discovery 3, oh has an even older Citroen C3. Both really need changing, Landy has done 300,000 km!

(Steve Boddy) #10

Like many have alluded to here circumstances frequently determine what you drive.

We had had 4, consecutive Citroen Xara Picassos (as we had 4 border collies) and went to get a new one but they were no longer produced. Started looking around for similar big boots just as the new version Dacia Duster models appeared in the UK 3 years ago. I bought a laureate but not 4WD as the spare for that is in, rather than under, the boot and one dog is bigger that average so wouldn’t have been able to sit up. Brought it to France and reregistered it here. It was an expensive way of doing it but we wanted a RHD car for UK visits to family - one or other of us goes about 5 times a year.

A year later we rescued a 5th collie and so got a 2nd hand Seat Inca van here in France to transport them about. Now, I use the term “2nd hand” very loosely. It was indispensable for many, many tasks, but after 18 months we realised we needed air conditioning and, that if we had to visit the UK as a family, it would need to be in a van suitable for the journey. Consequently, we took delivery of a new Peugeot Partner and are very happy with that. Of the two, the van does the most kilometres.

A farmer in the next village bought the Inca for a price which surprised me and was happy to wait for the Peugeot to arrive. We still see “Diego” several times a week but I noticed he now has a dent in one of the rear doors. Somehow, I feel sad and a tad guilty!

(Mandy Davies) #11

Really enjoying reading all these posts.

Before I came to France I was fortunate to own a Porsche 911 which I sold when I left the UK. I loved it so much and was so proud of it. Attach a pic below. I also had a well paid (but very stressful) job and owned a lovely house but gave it all up for love and a new life in France. Never regretted it for a second.

(Gordon Barnes) #12

We came over with a RHD Renault Espace - swapped it for a LHD Grand Espace - very practical but unreliable - as has been shown by many Motoring Reliability Surveys.
Moved onto a Volvo XC90 - very comfortable but each time it went in for a service (1 and a half hours to the nearest dealer) it seemed to always be a 1,000 euro bill!
Swapped that for a Hyundai 4WD - used more fuel than the Volvo then was written off by a French driver on the wrong side of the road - did me a favour!
So we sold the caravan and bought a Citroen C4 Picasso from the local dealership - brilliant car - so we changed my wife`s car to buy another so we each have one!
Means you are familiar with the controls whichever you drive and our local French mechanic is brilliant - the French equivalent of Ed China of Wheeler Dealers!

(Lawrence McNamara) #13

Jaguar XF S Portfolio, LHD and French model. Had it since new in 2010 and have just completed the twice yearly wheel change from summer wheels/tyres( 20") to winter wheels/tyres (18").

(Tim O'Connor 2) #14

Not yet full time here yet. Spend half the year at our home in France (in chunks of between two weeks and three months at a time.) Still have a business in the UK to keep an occasional eye on. So we do need a car that can make those regular journey’s reliably, reasonably economically and comfortably.

When we first moved we swapped a Toureg 4x4 for a VW Touran. Not exciting but it was called the shed because of it’s huge capacity. Did many trips absolutely full to the roof (as well as often towing an equally full trailer) as we gradually brought more stuff across and the 7 seats were occasionally useful when we had visitors with children.

Recently passed the Touran on to our son and acquired a BMW X3, still UK registered. So that is now the vehicle we use for our commute to and from France except for when we bring our aging Peugeot Boxer based camper over. That spends the summer from June to October in France as well as a trip in the winter when we often head South for a few days.

A used Seat Atltera came up for sale near us in the UK. LHD and French registered which contributed to it being very cheap. So we bought it and brought it back to France. That stays here. It’s useful as a smaller vehicle when we come across in the camper. It’s insured for any driver, so friends can borrow it when they visit (relieves us of the strain of having to host and ferry all the time!) and it’s fascinating experiencing the different ways people react to us in the LHD French car compared with when we’re in a RHD UK registered car.

I also have a 60 year old motorbike (Ariel Huntmaster,) but that is for sunny days.

(Jane Williamson) #15

We share my Mercedes C220 estate RHD.
I bought it for £13,000 in 2006 and it has given us marvellous service.
It is wonderful on long drives, which are now becoming more infrequent.

(Véronique Langlands) #16

My grand espace was excellent and reliable but we just outgrew it, hence the move to a trafic!

(Mat Davies) #17

You outgrew a Grand Espace! - is this possible!

(Véronique Langlands) #18

Oh yes! Children grow and with 5 of them vehicle space gets tight very quickly! Also they seem to attract other children so you seem to end up permanently ferrying 7 or 8 of the creatures and cooking for a battalion… I thought boot space in the Grand Espace wasn’t fantastic, I had to get a roofbox which made my 3 sun-roofs a bit redundant :cry:

(Mark Rimmer) #19

My current car is a lhd 2000 Volvo V70 diesel. I have owned it for almost 3 years & love it. When I was looking for one I wanted the proven Audi engine (which Volvo has fitted for years) but in the “new” shape car. In 2001 the engine had electronic injectors - expensive when they go wrong!
The car was very cheap due to its high mileage (417000 kms) although its CT showed nothing horrible & it now has 506000 kms. I have changed the cambelts, changed the oil & tyres as necessary & have replaced the aircon pump & crankshaft pulley. To me a high mileage car is just a low mileage car which has proved its reliability!
Rhd cars are far cheaper to buy but I feel that it wil always mark you out as a brit. They are also a pain at petrol stations & peage if you do not have Telepeage & overtaking can sometimes be a little hazardous.
Modern cars seem to have more & more “refinements” which do not really improve the car but certainly add to the cost of maintainence! I have just replaced the pulley on a Jaguar alternator because it rattled. It has a one way clutch in the pulley for no discernable reason but it cost over 100 euros for the part. Older cars do not have this refinement but do not have alternator problems. It goes on my list of silly engineering along with dual mass flywheels & dampener crankshaft pulleys!

(John Withall) #20

Mark, bad news is those pulleys are common to most cars with aircon. They allow the belt to wind down rather than an abrupt stop