There was outrage in the comments under the article about the used Octavia under 200,000 CZK that it would be better to set the record straight. Just because the Octavia III is a good car doesn’t mean it’s the best and you have to buy it. It’s just a good car, but we can find good alternatives to it, and some of you will surely suit it better.

However, there is not such a large selection in the range up to ten years old, mileage up to 200,000 km and price up to CZK 200,000. Nevertheless, we found a few acceptable cars on the Czech market. Of course, the biggest selection in this category is precisely among Octavios (but you can also buy, for example, a decent Rapid), but that is already the rule of the Czech market, where the Škoda brand has roughly a third of all cars.

If you don’t want a Škoda out of principle, but you don’t mind a company car, you can buy an interesting and underappreciated Seat Leon with the same technology. But now let’s take a look at the aforementioned “non-corporate” alternatives to Octavia that are available on the market.

Opel Astra K

Photo: Dalibor Žák

People in bazaars ignore the Astra quite unnecessarily, because it is a very pleasant, spacious, comfortable and overall good car. Yes, we know that some gasoline engines are not completely bulletproof, but it’s not such a disaster. And the diesel 1.6 CDTI did well.

The most attractive will probably be the last generation marked K, which has been on the market since 2015. But you can also buy the last pieces of the previous generation, which are usually for really good money. This is a successful car with a sober design, which will primarily appeal to more conservative people. In our budget up to CZK 200,000, you will only find 1.6 CDTI diesels in the station wagon variant, usually with a manual transmission and a higher mileage close to our limit of 200,000 km. Opels, however, handle long runs well and their interiors can last in good condition.

Diesel has been improved and, for example, the EGR circuit no longer has such problems as it once did, remotely operated cars will not have problems even with a particulate filter. But already a few engines had to get a new timing chain, some owners complain about the low life of the clutch, and it will also be a question of how carefully the car was serviced in company fleets and “from the garages”. An interesting version with a classic automatic and without the mandatory AdBlue is rare and quite expensive. The petrol 1.4 Turbo costs from 250,000 CZK.

Ford Focus III

Photo: Dalibor Žák

There are clouds of focuses and you have a lot to choose from. Unfortunately, many cars have had a hard life behind them (it can be seen on the interior), the service history is difficult to verify, and some engines are ticking time bombs. So choose carefully.

In the session from 150 to 200,000 CZK, there is a wide range of Ford Focus, especially in the station wagon version. They are most often with the three-cylinder 1.0 EcoBoost and the 1.6 TDCI diesel, later the 1.5 TDCI. The Focus is popular for its driving characteristics and more advanced chassis, although compared to the simpler solution of, for example, Octavia or Astra, it requires regular geometry adjustments and maintenance becomes more expensive. So far, the Focus III is pleased with decent anti-corrosion protection, it’s a little worse with the fluctuating quality of the interiors. But it is also a question of how much mileage all those imported used cars without any history really have…

The three-cylinder 1.0 EcoBoost is a bit of a controversial choice. And while it can be a reliable engine, plenty of owners have had to deal with problems with cooling, turbo, intake carbon fouling, oil consumption, and even a piston can crack. But it is a lot about service, maintenance and operation. However, we have no illusions about how business drivers treat this car. Diesel will be more suitable for those who drive longer routes. Pay attention to the oil service, the engine still has the unfortunately shaped oil pan, from which the entire old filling cannot be drained. Have the condition of the diesel checked by a specialist with diagnostics to look at the injectors and try to estimate the remaining life of the particulate filter.

Peugeot 308 II

Photo: Peugeot

The 308 station wagon is quite a spacious car and does not drive badly. It is especially popular with diesel. But the habit requires its strange solution to ergonomics, and many people will simply be put off by the tiny steering wheel.

The Peugeot 308 in the practical SW version is also a widely used car. You will most often buy it with a 1.6 HDI diesel, which is practically the same engine as in the Focus, albeit with a different emission control system. Engines can be reliable, just change the oil on time and fill up with quality diesel. Sometimes the turbo regulation or a sensor here and there fails. It is worse with the verification of history, many imports from abroad have no records anywhere.

You can also get a three-cylinder 1.2 PureTec, but this is a bit of a risky engine due to sensitivity to handling, service and fuel quality. Cars with no history with this engine are a ticking time bomb, because their timing belt can corrode due to low-quality oil (and still diluted with gasoline). This clogs the suction basket of the oil pump and the engine seizes. So be careful! However, Peugeots have very good anti-corrosion protection, they are quite well made and there are no problems with them. If you don’t mind the weird non-ergonomic steering wheel, you’ll be happy.

Hyundai i30 II and Kia Ceed II

Photo: Dalibor Žák

There are more used i30s on the market, the Ceed tends to be quite expensive. Maybe its “German” interior does it, while the second-generation i30 is still quite a Korean car. But they are both good cars.

There are also quite a few Hyundai i30 and Kia Ceed SW station wagons in the ads, which are technically related cars. Most are cars of the second generation, but sometimes even a modestly equipped station wagon i30 of the third generation drops below 200,000 CZK. The safe bet is the 1.6 CRDI diesel, which is a really good engine. The older version of the U2 with chain drives and robust mechanics is one of the best small diesels on the market. All you have to do is change the oil, fill up with quality diesel and treat the car with a sense of the cold. Well-maintained parts can easily cover half a million kilometers.

The mechanics of Korean cars tend to be very durable, but here and there a car bearing hums or a tired suspension knocks. It is not a rule, but in such a case, prepare for a more expensive repair if you solve it in the form of original parts. However, secondary production is already starting to fill up, so hopefully it won’t be so terrible. Fans of petrol units have a choice between the 14-litre MPI (quite good, although barely enough engine for a loaded station wagon) and the 16-litre GDI. The 1.6 GDI engine runs better, but it has sensitive direct injection and can grow carbon if you don’t change the oil in time. At least these “Koreans” are not rusting yet, which unfortunately cannot be said about the first generations of Ceed and i30.

Renault Mégane III

Photo: Renault

With the 1.5 dCi diesel, the Mégane is actually a great family car with low operating costs (consumption up to 5 l/100 km) and quite bearable service prices. The younger and less used the better. But it should last up to 300,000 km only with routine maintenance.

Up to 200,000 CZK, there are also a few dozen Renault Méganes of the previous generation, which is not a bad car at all. It has good anti-corrosion protection, a fairly decent chassis and already reliable electronics. Most of the time, only routine maintenance is dealt with and from time to time some small thing on the chassis, but this applies to all decent used cars. They simply go through normal wear and tear, and the owners simply delegate some less necessary repairs to the next buyer. The only thing to definitely avoid is the 1.2 TCE engine, which is a notorious high-risk troublemaker. Even if you drive outside the city, change the oil “after ten” and fill up with premium gasoline, you never know what this engine has behind it. Don’t take!

On the other hand, a good choice is the 1.5 dCi diesel, already trained for high reliability here. If you don’t trouble it with low-quality fuel and delayed oil service (change the oil every year or at the latest after 15,000 km), it can handle high mileage. Also remember the belt distributions, so that you don’t encounter this somewhere. Simple double-clutch automatics are not bad either, they are certainly less risky than the “small” 7DSG in octavias and related concern cars.

Citroën C5 Tourer in Berlingo

Photo: Lemon

Sometimes you can come across a large and spacious C5 in a budget of up to 200,000 CZK, or even the popular “working” Berlingo. But pay attention to the overall condition and history of the cars. You don’t want a bent C5, however this car can handle 300,000 km with a finger in its nose.

Sometimes you can come across a car from a slightly different category that might interest you. You can buy a large Citroën C5 very “cheaply” in a station wagon version with a great 2.0 HDI diesel and sometimes a classic automatic. But he will have a lot of mileage. More often, however, you can buy a manual within 200,000. Although hydropneumatic suspension is not standard, there are cars with it. This is definitely not a bad car, the engine is reliable and the car does not know corrosion. If everything in electronics works now, it will probably always work.

The second interesting option in this budget is the last Berlingo (and related Peugeot Partner) classic concept, most often you can get it with a 1.6 HDI engine. It’s the same proven unit we’ve already mentioned in the Focus and Peugeot 308, so the same applies to it. At Berlingo, pay attention to cars after accidents on their side (sliding door mechanism) and also to the overall condition of the interior. It tells a lot about what the car has behind it. For someone who occasionally needs to drive something big, the Berlingo is an absolutely great car.

Fiat Tipo

Photo: Martin Jánský

The station wagon version is spacious enough to think of it as a family car. But it will require a 1.6 Multijet engine for highway movements. The naturally aspirated 14-litre petrol gets pretty hot.

Many compare this Fiat to a Dacia, but it is a good car with quite reliable technology and it is also slightly larger. If you take care of it (Italian cars need more careful oil service and quality oil), there will be no problems with it. Even popular rumors about the naughty electronics of Italian cars avoid the tip. A few small things are being addressed here, but rather they are “bullshit” in the form of a too cheap and non-functional key or a faulty infotainment system. And this is not only a problem for Fiat, but practically all modern cars. Just update it.

The 1.6 Multijet diesel engine is reliable, and if you take care of the necessary servicing (filters, oils, distributions), it will go a long way. The 1.4 and 1.6 l gasoline engines do not inspire with dynamics or consumption, but they are very simple and reliable units that don’t mind short distances and can handle regular gasoline. The sixteenth can be had with a nice torque converter automatic, but unfortunately such cars are very rare in our market, and when they do appear, they tend to be quite expensive.

Of course, you can also come across a completely different car, but the above-mentioned cars are fairly well represented in our chosen criteria (up to ten years old, up to 200,000 km mileage, up to 200,000 CZK price) and there is plenty to choose from. Make up your own mind if you would prefer one of the above mentioned cars, or the Octavia III, for example, with a 1.2 TSI or 1.6 TDI engine. We do not impose anything on anyone. You will drive that car, so choose according to your preferences and options.