Friday, July 20, 2007

Shopping for cars

Every three years Ned and I get to shop for a new company car each.

Three years ago in October we took delivery of two Nissan Primera estate cars, not because they were the most beautiful cars on gods earth, for anyone with more than 10% vision in each eye can see that they are exactly the opposite, if they were a child they'd be the one that gets pushed to the back of the school classroom photograph.

And it wasn't because of their incredible acceleration away from traffic lights, although the twin turbocharged 2.2 litre diesel engine is no slouch until you hit the point around 60mph in third when the carbon emission sensor in the exhaust detects that you are being too dirty and cuts the fuel supply, forcing you to be cleaner to the environment until it decides that you can go fast again - some sort of hippy japanese fuckwit designed that special feature and I have him to thank for the countless numbers of soiled underpants that I now own when the engine fades away as you're overtaking a bus.

No it wasn't for either of these reasons that we contract hired the Nissans, it was because they were cheap.

In fact they were dirt cheap, in fact it is no exageration to state that the total monthly hire cost of two Nissan Primera estates came to the same sum of money that I was paying out for just one of the Peugeot 307's that they replaced - they gave the Nissans away because they couldn't sell the ugly gits.

But in October they go back to the hire farm and Nissan don't do anything similar now, they've replaced the ugly Primera with an even uglier four wheel drive semi-monster truck thing called a Qashqai which I pronounced "Quash-kay" in the Nissan dealership but the haughty salesman pronounced something like "Key-key", fucking stupid name for a car and so I don't want one.

Our friendly local Peugeot dealer has been making overtures to us again and with the budget I have been given by our head office I can get the top model of the 407 range, but I'm finding it rather bland and while all of the toys inside are rather nice, including a big colour monitor, a 40gig music hard drive and a mobile phone built into your dashboard, the outside just screams "company rep" in a choice of bland colours.

So we called in at our local Audi dealer and when he asked which car we were interested in I answered "the A4" because I knew our budget wouldn't stretch to an A6 - how wrong I was, in fact its the A4 that our budget won't stretch to but an A6 falls well within the boundaries and we got quite excited for a while until I'd followed a few on the motorway and realised why they were flogging them off cheap - they look so boring that they are doing a Nissan and getting shut of the last of them as cheaply as possible ready for a new model launch.

I've looked at the Saab 93 - nice small-ish car on the outside, horrible tacky interior that hasn't been redesigned since 1972, I spent some time searching in vain for the eight track tape player that should have been in the dash, the hole was there but time had moved on although the saab interior designer hasn't.

I spent a pleasant half hour in the company of an Irish Mercedes rep at the Leeds dealership looking at the new C series, a nice car, looks nice, feels nice inside, price is not so nice, price is fooking outrageous to contract hire at 25000 miles a year, fooking outrageous.

So we keep coming back to the Peugeot, its insides are top spec, I can't fault its inside specification and the optional hi-fi system that still fits within my budget s far better than the one I have in the house, its just very, very boring on the outside and I'd have to buy a trilby and some driving gloves if I ended up with one of those cars.

Suzanne has always liked Fords.

I've only ever had one Ford and that was the old style Granada Scorpio which was a fantastic car to drive, rather like taking your old leather settee out for a spin on the motorway together with the walnut brandy cabinet, you didn't set off very fast in the Granada for fear of spilling the brandy but it could go fast, eventually.

And so yesterday I called in at the Ford main dealer in Leeds, and was pleasantly suprised by the new Mondeo Titanuim X, and even more suprised by the fact that I can have this top of the range model with the top spec diesel engine with the top spec automatic gearbox with those F1 manual over-ride gear button thingys, and still have loads of change every month from my budget, something must be wrong somewhere because Ford are giving away their new Mondeo and if you are walking past a Ford dealership at any time in the next month or so you will certainly be given one of the overstock of old style Mondeo's even if you give it straight back, because they can't sell the buggers.

So what's it to be.

Test drives arranged in the next couple of weeks and then whichever one is chosen it will be a black one, for I covet a black car.


Jonesy said...

Saab... nope
Audi... deff not!
Peugeot... errrr!!!
Mercedes :)

Gary said...

The new Merc C series looks and feels like, well perhaps not feels like in a literal sense, the dogs bollacks and I would like one please.

But like all Merc dealers they have overvalued the worth of the badge on the front of their car by a factor of two to three hundred percent.

I told the dealer this and he has promised to try and fit a C series coupe into my budget - its a frikkin womens car for gods sake - around here its a old jewish queens car, they all have one and none of them can park properly, if the dealer thinks I'm going to be seen dead in a car that should only ever be driven by 90 year old women who looks like they should be lying horizontaly in the back of a glass-sided limo with six car loads of their old friends following with fake tears and wondering what she's left them in the will, then he's got another thing coming.

Mondeo test drive next week.

Ms Jones said...

FFS... lol
Elegant styling, supreme comfort, innovative technology and a dynamic drive make the new generation E-Class the best E-Class ever... just have the one & share it with Ned !


Gary said...

The only problem with the E Class is that you're starting to get into the territory of "look how much I can spend on a car just because I can" and the Merc dealers know it - I kow someone who regularly spends in excess of £80k on his and his wife's Mercs (like every second year) and he has not yet had any sniff of the word "discount" from his dealer.

Audi suffer from the same "our prices are sacrosanct" syndrome. kicks all of their arses though :)