Used Car Awards

Seven used cars to AVOID as they’re just not worth the hassle, according to Wheeler Dealer Mike Brewer

Time 11 months ago

Wheeler Dealer and used car dealer Mike Brewer knows a thing or two about buying used cars – he’s made his name doing just that.

However, using his years of experience buying and selling cars for Wheeler Dealers and selling cars in his own dealerships, there are some models he’d turn his nose up at as they’re simply not worth the hassle.

‘I’m not saying these cars should be avoided at all costs, but let’s just say if I was putting my money down on one I’d be giving it to the mechanical experts first to check over very carefully indeed,’ said Brewer.


‘Getting a thorough mechanical check on any used car is very sensible whatever you’re buying but even more so with this list.

‘I’d also suggest consumers buy one from a reputable dealer – like those who win our Car Dealer Used Car Awards – while dealers should purchase these with their eyes wide open.’

The deadline for Used Car Award nominations is 5pm tomorrow (December 2) so make sure you get your name in the hat. Do it here.

Renault Clio – 2005-2012

Nicole? Papa? Can you hear them calling? They’re shouting at each other because they want to know which of them is calling for a taxi to get them home because their little French hatchback has broken down yet again. Electric faults and gearbox issues are both common and not cheap to fix.

Ford Kuga – 2008-2012

You’d think a Ford SUV would be pretty bullet proof wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong. They look good and sell well, but there’s a wide range of issues with these cars. If you want one make sure you get it thoroughly mechanically inspected because if you don’t, they’ll be tears.

Nissan Qashqai – 2007-2013

Now when I was researching this list I was surprised to see the Nissan mentioned so often, because I’ve sold loads of these and have seen few return. But talking to a few dealer mates of mine, they tell me that when they do go wrong they do so big time. Clutch problems are common, as are issues with trim and leaky windscreens. Not to mention they’re impossible to spell correctly.

VW Passat (diesel) – 2005-2015

You can’t go far wrong with a German car, your mates will tell you, but they haven’t had one of these to contend with. Problems with suspension and steering on high mileage models are especially expensive to fix, so beware! Not to mention they’re about as exciting as watching paint dry.

BMW 1 Series – 2004-2011

I mentioned these in my list of cars never to buy and they’re back here again as ones to avoid. People love these cars and they’re bought by people from all walks of life, but two thirds of the respondents in a What Car? survey had problems with theirs – that’s a worrying number and means you need to check them out very carefully indeed.

Vauxhall Astra – 2004-2009

Are you a gambler? If you are, take your chances with an Astra but don’t come crying to me when it goes wrong. It’s a case of pot-luck with these models and the common list of problems is long, including false dash readings, suspension issues and electric window failures. The 1.9-diesel engine is the one in particular to give the largest socially-distanced wide berth to. 

Land Rover Discovery – 2004-2017

Every time I do one of these pieces the old Brit pops up again and it’s the one I have a real issue with. You see I like a Disco (the bottom jiggler type and Land Rover sort), but if I was slapping my own cash down I wouldn’t buy one. Air suspension is dodgy, electrics can be wobbly and the software has a mind of its own. Not what you need when you’re negotiating your way out of a muddy field.

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So, there you have it – now go shop carefully and don’t go moaning to me on social media when you ignore what I say and do it anyway…

More Mike Brewer features like this one can be found here

Our Used Car Award nominations close at 5pm tomorrow. Have you nominated yourself for a Used Car Award? – Do it here

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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