Piston Slap: Have a SEAT in Spain?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Phil writes:

I am going to Spain for 2-3 years for work but I have decided to sell my truck and only ship my motorcycle. Once I am there I will be looking to buy a cheap used small car, preferably a hatchback with a manual transmission. I am aware of some European brands like Seat, Alfa, Peugeot, Renault, etc. but do not know much about their modern line up. Gas or diesel is fine, can you help me with some recommendations?

Sajeev answers:

Since I don’t live in Europe and don’t know your budget–what’s up with you people not telling EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET how much money you have to spend on a car?–I say what I usually say: test drive a lot of cars in your price range.

And do a lot of virtual touring via Google Image search to see if you like a particular design.

Me? After seeing the SEAT Ibizia in person, I’d kinda go for that. Or a Rio Brown MKI Ford Sierra Ghia… no wait, that’s already been done. Plus, SEAT is the Spanish offshoot of VW, with nice regional flare inside and out. Lastly, depending on your budget, repairing a warranty-less VAG product in Europe is far easier/cheaper than in the Toyota-centric U.S. of A.

Luckily you have a motorcycle, there’s no reason to rush into anything. Enjoy the buying process, and enjoy the local flavor by brand. Me thinks you’ll have a preferred brand in no time. Of course you can’t go wrong with a MKI Ford Sierra Ghia…even when you do.

Off to you, Best and Brightest!

[Image: Shutterstock user Loveshop]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Jbartolomero Jbartolomero on Sep 16, 2014

    As a Spaniard, I'd say if you want to have fun, go for something fun. Depending on your budget that could take you to different places but I'd say Alfas can be fun (specially the older ones: 156, 147 and maybe some of the fastest newest MiTo's), the older compacts Peugeots and Citroens can be fun (306, Xsara) and you could go for something kinkier and buy a Peugeot 406 like the one in Luc Besson's saga "Taxi" (a bunch of crazy French films where people drive like maniacs for 90 minutes non stop). If I recall it correctly, it even did have a 3.0 V6 version with 200Hp even though it was a really bad engine from the 80's. I'd stay away from Seat. They are dull and kind of boring unless you go for the Cupra versions of the Ibiza and the Leon. Those are hot hatches that deliver around 180-230 Hp and are good enough for our roads and traffic cops. But my general advice would be: - Don't go diesel unless you plan to drive over 35.000 Km/year. Second hand diesels are highly overrated and gasoline versions can be found really cheaper. They also tend to have fewer miles on their bodies. - Stay away from second hand lots. There are a lot around here and they are known to fiddle with the cars' odometer to a point where it becomes so obvious it's almost a joke. (You can find cars that are 17 years old with "guaranteed" 17.000 km - Those are 10.000 miles in 17 years). Use autoscout24.es , coches77.com and segundamano.es (this last one is our craiglist so be extremely careful) - Forget about the Horsepower frenzy you Americans suffer overseas. Around here, 90 HP are good to cruise around 80 mph. Anything above 120 HP can easily be seen hitting 100 Mph in our freeways. People buy cars over 150 Hp only when planning on loosing their license points pretty quickly (or when abduced by our common SUV/CUV obsession) - If you live near the sea or in the Pyrinees, look for rust. Otherwise, don't worry too much unless you go for really old cars. - Don't buy anything without A/C unless you plan to live really up north. (And even so… ) Our summers tend to be Arizona hot and tourists suffer everything from heat strokes to sunburn. Good luck and I hope you enjoy our weird, hot and lazy country. Jbartolomero

    • Scuttle Scuttle on Sep 18, 2014

      Thank you for the websites, that will be very helpful in my search. I may also look to add another motorcycle, do you recommend those websites for that as well? I'm glad I asked about diesel ahead of time so I know to avoid it now.

  • DeadFlorist DeadFlorist on Sep 16, 2014

    Barkas B1000. You already have a motorcycle and it hauls more than a hatchback. You can customize it to taste and if you ship it back to the US, it'll be the only one in town.

  • Scuttle Scuttle on Sep 18, 2014

    The question was mine, great replies from everyone so far. I think I will have place fun and availability compared to the states above reliability in my shopping criteria. I'll be sure to email Sajeev again next year once I make my selection.

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    • Scuttle Scuttle on Sep 18, 2014

      @Pch101 I do not yet other than I'll be renting, I should know more in the coming months. I'm actually more concerned with finding some kind of enclosed or "back yard" parking for my motorcycle. I guess I can always roll it through the front door of wherever I am staying and park it in the entry way. Ill be looking at cities west of Jerez like Sanlucar or Chipiona.