The five used cars you should NEVER buy according to Wheeler Dealer Mike Brewer

Time 1 year ago

Wheeler Dealer star Mike Brewer and current car dealer knows a thing or two about buying and selling cars.

He’s bought thousands of them over the years in his career as a used car dealer and as a presenter on TV’s Wheeler Dealers.

To mark the upcoming Car Dealer Used Car Awards – which will highlight the very best dealers and models to buy in the UK – Brewer has written exclusively for us about the cars that definitely won’t be on our winners’ list.


Here, he rounds up the cars dealers and consumers should avoid like the plague.

Land Rover Freelander / Discovery

They’re the workhorses of the 4×4 world and don’t get me wrong I love the way they look – but my word I wouldn’t buy one. The Freelander has long been an unreliable second hand buy although they look cheap compared to other SUVs out there, they’re a bargain for a reason.

And it’s the same with the Disco – great looking car, functional and capable, but highly likely to leave you waiting for some flashing amber lights to arrive at the roadside. 

1.0-litre Ecoboost Fords

When the Ford EcoBoost 1.0-litre engine was launched, much was written about how the tiny engine could fit on an A4 sheet of paper. What they failed to mention, because no one knew at the time, was just how much of a pain in the backside it would be to fix.

If you’ve got a spare three days type ‘Ecoboost problems’ into a well known search engine and read the horror stories. It’s been enough to out me off buying them for good – and should be for you too.

Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra was named European Car of the Year last year

Not only is it a little – how can I put this delicately? – totally and utterly unreliable, but it’s also about as interesting to drive as watching paint dry.

Yes there may be thousands of them on the roads, mostly due to many people having absolutely no imagination whatsoever, but that does mean there are more of them out there to fail. However, I’ve heard enough bad stories about Astra to make me socially distanced from them for life.

BMW 1 Series

German cars are reliable, you say. They’re great second hand buys, you say. Absolute codswallop, I say.

The 1 Series might look the part but when they go wrong – and they do quite frequently – be prepared to give your credit card a bashing. In a recent poll it topped the list as one of the most unreliable car out there with average, I repeat average, repair costs of £1,500. They can jog on.

Subaru Impreza WRX 2.5

I do love a Scooby – and what an iconic car the Impreza is. It’s got rally pedigree, is blooming great to drive and looks pretty damn cool too.

Shame, then, that the Japanese made the head gasket out of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. I wouldn’t buy one without first putting librarian levels of detail into the research first. You’d need forensic levels of history for one of these and a thorough check up before buying. Or take my advice and just don’t.

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Ok, so you might not agree with me, but those are the cars I’ll be avoiding like Covid-19 – and you can take my advice or leave it, but if you ignore the above don’t come moaning to me if you do shell out and they go wrong… 

I’ll be hosting the Used Car Awards in December with Car Dealer founder James Baggott and you can nominate your favourite used car dealerships by clicking this link.

The deadline for nominations is October 30 and the awards will be broadcast on this website at 6pm on December 16.

  • Car Dealer Mag issue 151 out now – Read it here
  • Have you nominated yourself for a Used Car Award? – Do it here
  • Which is the best car manufacturer to represent? – Find out 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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