I think it’s fair to say that I like to jump the gun when it comes to making car related decisions; it took me well over a year to chose what car I wanted to buy and even then despite sticking with my original favourite I still fell in love with every 4×4 this side of a RAV4 on my way to Beemer-ville. Even now after less than 6 months my mind is already beginning to wander lustfully towards newer luxury SUV’s (I’m hooked I’m afraid), and my brother merely had to express interest in owning a vehicle before I wrote a mammoth post detailing new and used superminis. Yes I’m pretty much addicted to cars and researching what myself and others could buy is something I love to fill my time with, so it’s not surprising that my long-suffering Mum is very wary about putting any sort of time-scale on her getting a replacement for her beloved Jazz.
You see when she came to buy her current car we went all around the houses in order to end up pretty much where she had said originally (ie not in the SUV I desperately wanted her to get). My suggestions ranged from hatches like the Ford Focus through to the third generation Honda CR-V, which I tried to sell on it’s mid-level parcel shelf and nothing else! Still despite being very happy with the Jazz she bought new back in January 2009 I have started to put the feelers out in regards to what she might want to get next…realistically a decision that’s at least 18 months away but still one that warrants me dipping a toe in the water and shouting out ‘Oh did you see that car’.
Given that none of these cars are of particular interest to me personally I am not in danger of turning this into a personal project anytime soon, but it will satisfy me to write a few options down to get hings out of my system if nothing else. Compared to last time I am trying to be relatively successful and as such I’ve tried to keep the size and price of these cars low, and am assuming she will be buying new or ex-demo, plus they should have some degree of practicality and motorway manouverability so no Smart cars thank you very much!
OK so I’m pretty sure that my Mum will not be buying a Duster, and I think that I would dissuade her even if she fancied one to be honest. Still it’s a rugged car with plenty of practicality for the price and should have surprisingly good residuals, although inside quality in this first generation car is below class standards and even with the diesel engine fuel economy could be disappointing – a small engine in a relatively big car does not make for amazing efficiency. Likelihood: 5/10
The 500X has not even been properly launched in the UK and as such it could be a decent choice given it will still look fresh in a couple of years. Cutesy styling and quasi-premium features would probably endear itself to my mum as would the fact it rides high, but Fiat traditionally does not have the best reliability (Mum is planning on keeping the car a long time), and it could get pricey pretty quickly if the regular 500 is anything to go by. Likelihood: 4/10
Maybe the first car in this list which offers a genuine alternative to the Jazz, the B-MAX is a hateful car in my opinion but still not without merit. Ugly styling hides a practical interior which comes with sliding rear doors and no B-pillar, engine choices are decent and while list prices are high they can be chopped down pretty quickly with a Ford dealership. The main appeal here though is low servicing prices which should be on a par with the Fiesta, and at least it’s not as ugly as it’s EcoSport sibling. Likelihood: 7/10
By far the front runner if I’m honest, and after seeing more and more pictures of the third generation Jazz I am getting ever-so-slightly more used to it’s pug-ugly snout and strange rear end. The overall looks of the car are more cohesive but I guess they are at least distinctive, and inside retains the amazing practicality that previous Jazz were known for, although the new touch-centric controls could be off-putting somewhat, and prices are getting porky for what is more of a traditional supermini than other cars here. Likelihood: 9/10
For a while I had thought that Honda’s upcoming Juke rival may have what it takes to earn a place in my mum’s heart; eschewing the Nissan’s polarising design and essentially creating a beefy Jazz with a higher driving position and inevitably a more powerful engine meant it had all the right ingredients to be a choice to satisfy the both of us. However the fact it has morphed into something larger and ultimately more expensive has probably ruined it’s chances; it’s pricing will start where the Jazz’s ends. Likelihood 6/10
Many people find the Soul’s design only second to the Juke’s in terms of controversy, but personally I find the charm of the second generation of Kia’s high-riding supermini to be a little boring and fussy (yes at the same time). It’s still a high quality product though, and although a little pricey for what it is the benefit of a 7 year warranty is going to be a major carrot if I push the issue. Likelihood 8/10
I had never much liked the MINI in it’s first generation until somewhat surprisingly my dad told me that it was a car he would have liked to have owned. Since then I have toyed with the idea of suggesting it to my mum, if only that it’s a nice premium supermini which would serve her needs well, except for the occasional need to carry rear seat passengers above 4ft tall! The new 5dr MINI solves that problem and adds a chunk more boot space for good measure. The only problem is that once desirable options are added the price can swell uncomfortably high pretty quickly, although the TLC package is a major attraction and helps to balance it out a bit. Likelihood 7/10
If money were no object then this is the car I would be forcing my mum to get. Quite simply it ticks every box and does so in a premium model with a footprint minutely larger than the Jazz, but the price of this is quite simply financial, with a decently equipped Countryman coming in at over £20k in most guises. That is definitely going to be too much (especially considering it will be getting on in age by 2016), but maybe a nice ex-demo would be a safe option if it has the TLC pack. Likelihood 6/10
Probably the natural alternative to most Jazz buyers, the Note is basically a slightly cheaper/larger car which loses some of the clever seating and bulletproof reliability of the Honda. My aunt and uncle have just bought a Note though, and to be honest apart from the larger engine choice I think the Note is a poorer choice than the Jazz. Likelihood 7/10
I know for a fact that my Mum does not like the Juke. This is despite it coming with a massive list of pros ranging from competitive price, decent engines, practicality, nice interior and raised driving height. But of course those looks are subjective, and it’s popularity would probably count against it if truth be told. Still maybe if there is a new one released soon things may change. Likelihood 5/10
The vanilla alternative to the Juke, the Peugeot still seems a little bit of a rare sight on UK roads unfortunately. Classy looking outside and premium enough inside, it comes with a touchscreen similar to the new Jazz to control everything and also that tiny steering wheel that Peugeot seem to be insisting on nowadays. For me what lets it down, besides the weird steering wheel and potential Frenchness (ie unreliability) are the underpowered engines and relatively high price, especially when most people would be happy with a Juke. Likelihood 7/10
Captur-ing (get it?) the middle ground between the vanilla 2008 and raunchy Juke, the Captur seems to be doing quite well for Renault. Basically a taller Clio, my Mum’s fond memories of our old Renault 5 may come into play here as may the car’s right-side-of-distinctive styling. I like the Captur and as long as they’ve made it reliable I will recommend it, but it is annoying that you can’t get an engine more powerful than a lawn mower unless you opt for the top spec auto…strange as Renault have access to the Juke’s engine tech too! Likelihood 8/10
Toyota Yaris Hybrid:
The only ‘conventional’ supermini here in terms of outside looks at least, the Yaris’ ace in the hole is it’s hybrid drivetrain. Although a pretty unexciting car, the idea of driving to Morrisons without using any fuel would be highly exciting to my mum, if not other road users. The fact the dealership is across the road won’t harm it’s chances either. Likelihood 8/10
Last but by no means smallest is the Vauxhall Mokka, an attempt to rival the Juke which has ended up Qashqai sized (or near enough). I am a fan of the Mokka and was surprised to find that the base price for a 1.4T is around £16k…not cheap by any means but as it’s a Vauxhall is one where £1k could be hacked off very easily. Yet in all likelihood it’s probably too big for my Mum, which is a shame but I know where not to push. Likelihood 5/10
There are probably a few stark exclusions here (regular superminis for starters), but in regards to anything from the VW stable, she just wouldn’t buy one (otherwise an A1 would have been nice). I’m not holding my breath on anything here, as to be honest it may be even longer than 2016 after she has got a dog etc!