Well, well, well – a long time and no blog entry. I mostly keep this up because I pay to keep the url and associated email service as well. I’ve plenty to say but figure it’s not really of interest to anyone so rarely pull the trigger on any posts which is kind of sad.
Right now I have something I do want to get out there because it’s too detailed for both Twitter and Facebook and I don’t think anyone wants to read about my ongoing indecisiveness on the subject at hand. What subject is that you ask? Buying a new car – second hand but still new to me.
I’m hopefully going to lay things out fairly clearly for anyone who has been unfortunate enough to be drawn into this messy, often hilarious saga and finally see the epically most underwhelming conclusion EVER!
For the past 4 years I’ve been driving around in a Mk3 Mondeo Zetec-S TDCI. Like all 10 year old cars it has lots cosmetic damage – in this case a large key mark down the drivers side and the scuffs you’d expect from living in a supermarket car park for most of its time in my ownership.
It looks the part with a sporty front bumper and 18″ alloys but it did have problems when I bought it. The tyres were knackered and the alloys corroded but it took time to find out the extent of the damage and I chewed through tyres.
Additionally it has also had the dreaded rattly Dual Mass Flywheel which was a nasty £1,000 bill to get fixed but I knew that was coming someday given my choice of car and my general driving habits.
Enough about the car though – I originally bought it as part of a deal with myself to clear myself of what was honestly crippling credit card debt. It’s taken me nearly four years to do so but by having a car that I wholly own I have been able to plunge money into clearing that debt.
However after four years of semi frustrating ownership (given the frequent garage bills) I am fed up of the car and want something a bit faster and newer. A fair bit of scouring the internet and visiting a few local dealers to get a feel for what was out there I have my heart set on 1 of 2 different cars – lets meet the contenders!
Skoda Octavia VRS:
Actually based off the Golf platform this would seem to be in a different class to the Mondeo I would be leaving behind but it has surprisingly grown over the years it’s been out. Each revision gets a little bigger and this almost matches the outgoing car for size and dwarfs it for boot space which is always impressive.
Specification wise I’m picking the top of the range VRS because I honestly miss the features of an old Golf Mk V I had from new (which probably didn’t help with the future debt….) on which I specified Bi-Xenon headlights. With the power to blind bus drivers on dipped and light up entire houses on full beam they were a revelation to night time driving and something I really miss now I don’t have them.
Additionally I want the top spec because I want a quick car that’s also practical and having the VRS gets the nice 2.0 turbo engine that does the job nicely.
To grab one of these at the 4 – 5 year old mark I’m looking at somewhere between £7k – £10k depending on mileage, transmission, options and dealer/seller bias and optimism. It seems fair to me for what is a lot of car which has taken it’s depreciation hit and gets me something that should last for a long time to come. It’s rival?
Ford Mondeo Titanium X Sport:
‘Another Mondeo!?’ I hear you cry? Well yes. Despite the numerous garage bills I’ve had with my existing car the vast majority of the expense has been standard running costs and MOT required repairs which is really just keeping the car road legal.
Again I’m looking at the top spec model but I am rather fussy as I also want the Sat Nav built into the dash as it vastly improves the look of the vehicle. Again the high spec gets toys everywhere and the impressive 2.0 turbo unit which is mated to a 6-speed semi-auto which puts it on par with the Skoda above.
Being slightly more expensive and horribly common cars they depreciate like crazy despite the high trim level and extras they pack into the cabin. They also fall to the same price bracket although the cheaper end of the market gets a manual 2.5 litre Turbo which obviously has a slightly different appeal but is an incredible engine as well.
I’ve been looking for months now and I’ve finally found a car I really like. I’ve watched it plummet in price on Autotrader for a couple of weeks which made me wonder. Right car, amazing spec yet something felt odd so I held off on doing anything about it. It dropped again and finally being on holiday I bit the bullet and made the call to ask some questions.
Much to my surprise everything about the car checks out and the seller sounds both genuine and happy to do what he can to shift the car which certainly eases my mind. After that call I went to investigate loans and see what I could really afford.
Whilst not a firm offer it seems I could get a great deal in terms of financing and then I sat and thought about it some more.
Do I really NEED a new car?
Honestly, no. My current car works very well for me. It takes me to work, manages long trips fully laden with IKEA furniture, camping gear and excited wrestling fans. At also ferries me to Knockhill on a semi-regular basis to watch racing and grab photos of cars, bikes and all sorts of other odd vehicles doing what they do best.
For now I’ve decided to listen to my gut and hold on for now as until my car breaks it’s simply extra expense I don’t need. That could change by the morning mind.
I could also put that money to good use elsewhere in the form of savings and y’know – planning for the future.
I figure this means I’m growing up. Shit.