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

One person’s perspective, interesting observations though.

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Click bait?

Bet it was ghost written. He’s too busy selling cars or filming a TV series.

Vauxhall Astra? Which one, or all of them. I lost count of the number of generations there have been. I imagine he would go crazy over a first generation GTE with the Recaros.

WRX 2.5? Isn’t that the US spec version?

1st gen Freelander (the one pictured). They haven’t been made for 15+ years. I bet any left out there are utterly reliable survivors. Er, like a workhorse. The Indians like them; seen plenty of second gen Pune built Freelanders in India, and they weren’t sitting by the roadside.

Discovery; ditto the old Range Rover based version. Any left now are probably reliable old dogs. The writer probably doesn’t know there were multiple generations, and is just pulling data out of a table, with some standard text to sound like a cheeky cockney. Get past the Rotoflex joints, and its just standard agricultural Land Rover.

I’m pretty sure UK WRX STI from 2006 were 2.5 and there are some later hatchbacks on Autotrader that are 2.5 with 330bhp.

I think you’d have to be careful to get one that hadn’t been thrashed and/or crashed… I’ve not read the article so Brewer might have said similar :slightly_smiling_face:

Hmm, I tend to agree with him, especially if he is thinking about the more recent versions with smaller and overstressed turbo engines.

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Shame a stock photo of a 2005 model was shown then.

When Brewer did an Impreza on WD, he didn’t even check the dipstick for mayo…

I’d stand by that this article was written by someone with zero interest in cars. It might have even been written by a machine, with the Chas and Dave algorithm.


I have a FOCUS 1.0 Ecoboost (125), great car imo. There were problems with the1.0 Ecoboost engines from 2012 to 2014, due to a weakness in the ‘degas’ pipe between the turbocharger and expansion tank that lead to the engine losing coolant, overheating and potential engine failure. The problem was fixed and later engines are as reliable as most other small petrol turbo engines. I’d have no problem recommending FORDs fitted with this engine.

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I too had a125 Ecoboost for a time; and yes, some broke - a bit like ND gearboxes then - but mine didn’t. We tend to sneer at stuff that everyone and their auntie buys but I thought it was amazing , frankly. Incredibly smooth and refined , weirdly without any engine braking at all , and it made a lovely creamy wannabe 911 sound when revved. Apart from feeling like it had a flywheel made by Isambard Kingdom Brunel , and thus being prone to rev hang , it was genuinely one of the nicest engines I’ve ever driven.

I’ve just sold my Astra K series which was excellent and enough kit in it to make an Audi advert…plus I’m sure it won European car of the year for two years running…

Agree John, the 125 engine is very smooth - FORD used a dual mass flywheel to reduce vibrations from the 3 cylinder engine rather than use a (heavier) balancer shaft. Very good torque making for a relaxing drive. Can’t fault it really…

We saw a K registered Astra estate this week. Now that must be ancient!


The pictured WRX is a MY2006 - the headlamp shape is the evidence.

I would say R53/R56 Minis are to avoid.
Anything with an N47
Anything with the 2.0 tfsi pre 2012 I think
BMW cars with ZF7
VW/Audi with DGS

Basically the German stuff.

My friend bought a 1.0 125 focus new in 2013, he only just traded it in this year for a 420i, it had 50k on the clocks and he never had any mechanically issues with it at all, felt pretty solid for a little engine but 3 cylinder are not meant to be great in a long run, say 100k onwards.

The ford was pretty bad on fuel though, no where near it’s claimed figures, his girlfriend used it to get to work everyday and it only returned 35/40mpg.

Mine did too till I l altered my driving style - to changing up at 5000 , or more , as a matter of routine and using at least one , and sometimes two gears lower than usual . That often meant using first as a driving gear in town, and taking third at 55/ 60 and 4th at …err… very high speed . Amazing - I went from 38-40 mpg to 48-50. Counter intuitive - aren’t turbos renowned for low down shove ? - but the change improved both economy and driving fun immeasurably .

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Coming from Wheeler Dealer Mike, it’s a bit ironic.
Personally, I’d not touch one “fettled” vehicle from any of his bash, bodge & dodge TV shows.
One character the new Spitting Image show missed out on…
But, that’s just a fun sideline for him…he does deal in 1st division top drawer exotics.
It’s just…I’d be worried I was about to get my leg lifted in his prestige showroom…thanks to his cheeky chappy antics.


If you ever watch Car Throttle on Youtube, the guy Alex does a really good p**s take of Mike Brewer.
Just a comment on the Ecoboost engine. I work for an engineering company and we get a few of these Ecoboost cranks come in with customer wanting us to regrind them, the problem is the bottom end is not supposed to be stripped down, this is what Autodata state.

Technical specifications | Autodata

Main bearings/big end bearings

Measurement of bearing clearance is not possible by normal methods and should not be attempted, as this will result in damage to the cylinder block and crankshaft. If the bearing bolts have been loosened the entire cylinder block and crankshaft must be replaced.
Ford only list a short block for them.


" Sealed for Life" crank…there’s a first for me.

Unfortunately this is the way the industry is going, you can’t buy pistons them but the bearings are offered in the aftermarket, although how you are going to fit them, who knows. If I remember correctly it’s because the block is prestressed and then the crank is installed, so when you unbolt the crank the main housings go out of line.

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Well, it may be how things are now , but , warts and all , it is far , far better than enduring some of the
horror shows on wheels of the past. Decoke at 40 k miles, running on, misfires , scary oil and fuel consumption and all the get up and go of a tired sloth. They may have been easy to work on , but they needed to be . Groany old A Series , wheezing Viva HB engines, pinking Triumph Sixes and the rest . And the engines which were reliable were often awful - such as the asthmatic Beetle flat four .