Searching for a new car is difficult

Posted by under Life, on 23 May 2013 @ 11:58pm.

Bear with me, this is going to be a wordy post…

After my whole issue with the Passat over the last 14 months, enough was enough and it was time to start looking for something else. There is lots to think about when looking for a new car, and one of the biggest is your budget. Part of the problem for me is that the Passat isn’t paid off yet, I still have over £1200 to pay on it. That said, I could pay it off any time, but of course that then immediately leaves me with that amount less in my bank account.

Remaining payments aside, I had to work out how much I could reasonably spend without looking into a new finance deal. This figure came out pretty small. After paying off the Passat. which I have to do before I can sell/part exchange it, I would be left with about £1000 to spend on a car, plus the (likely) £2000 the Passat is worth, so call it £3000. To get something decent for that would be a struggle.

Originally I was looking at a Ford Focus 1.6TDCi, 2010. It was £8000 or so. It’s a nice car, but after a test drive I wasn’t so sure if I liked the engine as it seemed a bit under powered. For that reason I hesitated and needed to put more thought into it. A few days later I suddenly thought to myself, “why am I thinking of spending so much money on a car?”. It’s a good question. Is it really worth spending that much on a car? I decided it probably wasn’t so that idea got scrapped pretty quickly.

So what now? I set about looking at what I could get reasonably. The first car to spring to mind was something I had owned before, a Peugeot 306. I knew them well, I knew they were reliable and not particularly uncomfortable (I’ll get back to this bit). I had a look on Auto Trader and there were a few to look at. I made some phone calls the next day and managed to arrange to go and look at one.

It was a 2001 306 HDi, the electronic version of the engine. Surely a big mistake but when I got there it wasn’t an opportunity I could dismiss. It was £900, a bargain really considering its condition. I snapped it up on the spot and the next day I picked it up. It needed a little TLC in the form of one new tyre and the injector lines needed tightening, but besides that it was in good shape. I couldn’t get those fixed until the weekend so I kept driving the Passat.

It took a few days to get the injectors right and in that time I drove it a fair number of miles. Every time I drove it I just kept thinking “I don’t like this”. It took me a while to figure out what it was, but I realised that I missed the luxury of the Passat. In comparison the Passat is a dream to drive. It’s smooth, comfortable, quiet, doesn’t rattle or squeak, etc (even if it is unreliable). I mentioned it to my friends and one replied saying it’s because I had driven a cruising car and I would find it very hard to go back. He was dead right. I just couldn’t see myself going back to a smaller more uncomfortable car, even though I’d owned the same car twice before.

What have I done with the 306 then? Nothing. It’s fixed, but it’s just sat outside the house not getting used, so I’ve offered it to my Mum to drive while I wait for the V5 document to arrive so I can sell it, but that’s a few weeks away. It’s not a big loss though. I’ve spent £35 on it since I got it on a tyre and fuel. Fixing the injectors was free besides the time. I will easily be able to make my money back as they are still fairly popular cars if the guy I bought it off is anything to go by. He said the phone never stopped ringing for viewings when he was trying to sell it.

So this outlines how hard it is to find a car. No wait, it’s easy to find a car, but it’s not easy to settle on one. Some people won’t care about some of the things I have as at the end of the day, it drives – it gets you from A to B, and hopefully back to A when you’re done. But I couldn’t get used to it. I still don’t know if it’s just the comfort I missed or if it was something else as well. All I know is that it’s not the right replacement to the Passat and I need to keep looking.

What do I get? That’s the big one playing on my mind, simply because every car has it’s own set of faults. There isn’t a single car in existence that doesn’t have problems and that makes it a difficult choice. I decided 6+ months ago I would never touch another VW, or anything by the VAG group (VW, Audi, Skoda) ever again – first impressions and all (VW didn’t do much to help me either). I’ve thought about Ford considering lots of people in the family have owned Fords without a problem. I’ve also thought Peugeot, but newer than the 306. One friend keeps trying to get me to go Volvo, but again I just don’t know. At the end of the day I think it’s going to be a “choose something you like, look up it’s faults and deal with it” situation. Time will tell, but for now I am keeping the Passat but I don’t know how long for.