Ford Focus equivalents

I want a car about the size of a Ford Focus or a bit smaller. It's been very many years since I did any driving and I've completely
lost touch with what models are available.
Is there a chart or page which groups manufacturers' models by category (small family, subcompact, etc) so I can draw up a shortlist?
Right now, so many cars look the same to me and few look familiar.
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On 04/11/2016 00:30, pamela wrote:

Yes there is a lot of choice. Without knowing anything about anything, I think Seat or Skoda offer good value as they are based on VW underpinnings. However, once deciding on the manufacturer, then there are numerous other decisions: Petrol or diesels. Hatch, estate or SUV derivative. Most of the pain of new car ownership is shabby quality control and the problems which comes with that.
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On 04/11/2016 00:30, pamela wrote:

Your best bet is a petrol Ford Focus, arguably one of the best in class and available everywhere.
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On 06:46 4 Nov 2016, MrCheerful wrote:

What is used reliability like? This site suggests new models (which I'm not in the market for) have slightly lower than average reliability. which is not encouraging.
http://www.autoblog.com/buy/2016-Ford-Focus/reliability/
On the other hand.......
Review 1: "I absolutely love this car."
Review 2: "Without doubt one of the worst cars I have ever owned. Without doubt one of the worst set of car dealerships and customer services I've ever dealt with. "
http://www.carbuyer.co.uk/reviews/ford/focus/hatchback/owner-reviews
This isn't going to be easy for me, is it? I'm wilting before I've started.
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pamela wrote:

The mark one Focus, discontinued in 2004 so too old for your budget, beats just about everything else in its class, including so-called 'prestige' marques, for reliability, and that was confirmed by surveys in Germany.
The later Focus is still a very good car, although a bit larger.
If I were only to be driving 4,000 miles a years, I would buy the best mark one Focus I could find. I would look for a Ghia with a 1.8 engine. I would look to spend a maximum of 1,000UKP, and put the rest towards running costs.
Disclaimer: I bought a new Focus in 1999, then replaced it after ten years with a 2003 which I still have. I keep looking to see if I should replace it, but it just keeps going. (I only do about 5,000 miles a year.) I still love driving it, and even new cars don't seem any better to drive.
Averaged over those 17 years, I haven't spent 100UKP a year on non- maintenance repairs.
They are the best cars by far that I have owned in 52 years.
Chris
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On 14:14 4 Nov 2016, Chris Whelan wrote:

I was more aware of car models back in 2004 when you say the Mk1 Focus was discontinued. I remember the Focus was very well regarded. But isn't such an old car (12 years plus) a bit long in the tooth and major parts will start wearing out?
The ?1000 price tag looks very affordable (it would bring a smile to my bank manager's face) but can such an old car really be reliable today?

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pamela wrote:
[...]

If properly maintained, yes.
I would happily jump in mine and drive it anywhere that I would go in a new car.
Chris
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On 04/11/2016 20:50, pamela wrote:

(looks outside at X reg Citroen with 218k on the clock...)
Most of the cars I see broken down by the side of the road are younger than ours. And I drive a car which many people would run away screaming from as the absolute pit of unreliability - they're wrong, but it does make them cheaper to buy for me :-)
The P and R reg Corollas I know were still running well - well, until the P reg one met the back of another car on the motorway. They seemed pretty idiot proof.
The Toyotas my MIL and FIL drove/drive also seem very reliable. The Starlet was retired at something over 200K miles - we have yet to see if the replacement Fiesta will do as well.
The late 90s Ibiza a friend drives just got its MOT with no problems.
Basically cars are just a lot better than they used to be. Chris swears by his Focus - but all cars have improved in reliability in the same way in that time. Consider how car engines used to be - the engine bay would be this black oily hellhole. These days they're surprisingly clean. And the bodywork doesn't fall apart in the same way things from before the 90s did.
It is of course all a risk. If your life or job depends on absolutely 100% reliability, I'd not necessarily get something that old. But very few people are in that situation, and there are other things you can do to mitigate the risk - eg membership of a suitable recovery operation who will help you hire a car if it all goes T/U.
(note also reliabilty is a feature of you too - the reliability of the abovermentioned Corolla was no longer useful after it had been crashed...)
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It's a very different matter running a well maintained older car you've had for ages and is worth very little, from expecting to being able to go out and buy a decent one the same for that price.
The vast majority of bangers are sold because they are simply getting too old and costly to keep running. And usually because very expensive repairs are imminent.
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On 05/11/2016 11:32, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Yeah. I run a 1995 Saab 9000 2.3 full turbo auto, over 20k miles a year. Car is smooth, fast and quiet on motorway; you get the feeling this is how good cars should be made. Kick down with APC is mind blowing fast. I do simple servicing myself, otherwise use a good independent if something crops up. The trick is not to let anything fester, or it will be much more expensive to repair. This is my second 9000, the first I was sad to sell at 280k miles, it was still running fine.
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On 04/11/2016 20:50, pamela wrote:

Mine is 16 and a bit and perfectly reliable, when needed, parts are cheap and widely available, everything still works as it should, it was written off last year due to superficial damage, but it can carry on indefinitely as far as I am concerned.
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On 04/11/2016 21:32, MrCheerful wrote:

My 15 year old Mk1 Ford Focus is still going strong and I consider the 600 mile round trip I will be doing in the next couple of weeks a very low risk for unreliability.
In the 13 years I've owned the car I've had a few annoying problems but generally its been very reliable. I have spent an average £200 per annum on maintenance/repairs. DIY for oil and fluid changes, filters, wiper blades, lights and brakes. Non-dealership garage for exhaust manifold, clutch, belts and fuel pump. Mid range tyres (Firestone/Dunlop) at £50. First sign of superficial rust spotted this year (limited to a few inches at the bottom inner of one door) and treated with phosphoric acid, re-sealed and repainted.
I have driven later model Focuses as hire cars and I prefer the interior of the older Mk1 but the later models have been Ok with respect to driveability - much surer handling than some of the recent French branded cars that I've had on hire. I prefer petrol models rather than diesel but perhaps that's more to do with I'm used to driving.
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On 23:22 4 Nov 2016, alan_m wrote:

I think I have to be careful in such a group as this about what I mean by reliability.
A very long time ago I used to have a "reliable" car but it was only reliable because as soon as a tiny problem reared its head it got investigated and fixed. That car got regular maintenance and even more frequent check-overs just to make sure all was well. Anything looking worn got vchanged well in advance of failure. The trouble was that this was a lot of work and, yes, it never broke down on the road but it did need a lot of parts replacing and things fixing.
On the other hand there's reliablity which doesn't need frequent checks or preventative repairs etc. A friend had an old Mazda from new and never had it serviced or ever did anything to it except oil and petrol and he says it ran without problems up to 120,000 miles. That's an extreme example of the other sort of reliability.
There's high-maintainance reliability and then there's low- maintainance reliability. Maybe you're talking of the first type and I'm thinking of the second type. I need to be careful about how much car-care anyone considers normal and make sure I see it the same way.
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On 05/11/2016 07:32, pamela wrote:

I service cars for a living. Japanese cars have the lowest annual bills, end of. Focuses are next. VW are middling. Vauxhall are next. Modern French cars and Land Rover are by far the worst.
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On 07:42 5 Nov 2016, MrCheerful wrote:

What about Korean makes like Kia and Hyundai?
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On 05/11/2016 07:54, pamela wrote:

I turn away stuff like that, along with Daewoo, Chrysler etc. etc.. Subaru are very good, IIRC they come top of the JDpower reliability index, up there with Honda and toyota
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MrCheerful wrote:

we have had a Peugeot 306 1.9D for 17 years now on 198K miles and is used every day for local deliveries the only non service/consumable item that’s had to be replaced is the front brake flex pipes. ok and the radio stopped working some 12 years ago :(
-
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Mark wrote:

A low-miler! A family member has a 2003 VW T4 Transporter on 350K now, still original drive train. In fact, very little has been replaced or has broken.

How on earth do you manage? ;-)
Chris
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Chris Whelan wrote:

yes i know the mileage is not exceptional but its a 20 year old French car which dont have the greatest reliability record, probably helped by not having any electronics at all like elec windows cent locking, it does have a digital clock which is still working it just that you can no longer change the time :( and its still completely rust free as well which is something else you cant say about many cars of that price and age
-
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On 06/11/2016 00:07, Mark wrote:

oddly enough, my sister also had a peugeot 306 with the same lump, it was extremely reliable and cheap to run. Apart from crash damage and electric window failure it was bullet proof, her clarion radio also went on the blink! The car was only replaced as my sister was getting older and found the clutch was a bit too heavy for her, so she bought an auto C3 from a friend, it has cost more in a couple of years use than the 306 did in 15. The most recent insult being 700 quid on solenoid replacement on the auto box at 5 years old and 25k miles.
The fuel economy is also pants at about 30mpg compared with the 306 50+mpg.
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