Voice of joy and sunshine
26th May 2003
I'm considering replacing my current car with something not quite so... tiresome... to drive in London traffic. Budget of around £6-7k. Preferably some form of automatic that lets you select gears - possibly a dual clutch transmission? Preferably a hatchback.
I do like being able to select gears, I just don't want to have to do it all the time in stop start bullshit.
Wishlists of features? I'd like some form of adaptive cruise control if possible - though I think that might be a little out of my price range.
Was looking at the VW Golf - just in terms of things that I know are massively out of my price-range. But, you know, window shopping :p Might get one that's a few years old, I've seen a couple on auto-trader that are 6-7 years old and fall kinda within my price range - bit out of my way though.
Any thoughts or recommendations? I don't really want to go with a new car financing dealio just because in my industry contracts of employment tend to be short-term - gonna be a headache when I'm looking for another job in a few years - (and that's fairly certain to happen regardless of performance - nature of the beast.)
Jeff is a mean boss
28th July 2002
If Top Gear has taught me anything it's that you can buy a 1970's Roles Royce for £5000
So just do that.
As a 'Murican I can't really help you to much here.
7th December 2003
I looked into buying a car a while ago from a rather utilitarian point of view (don't care so much about brands and stuff). It seems to me that the best thing you can do is to buy a year-old car, drive it for 3-5 years and then sell it. Cars lose 20-25% of their value in the first year and then 5-10% in the following years. With every year and with mileage the chances of stuff breaking increase, which drives up the costs of ownership. With a year-old car you can often get a 5-year guarantee, so you won't have to worry (too much) about problems. So with this strategy you pay a relatively low monthly fee while being mostly hassle-free. The drawbacks are that you have to sell the car yourself and that you need a big upfront investment (relatively new car and you want to have decent equipment to increase its attractiveness as used car). You will probably need a credit over 3-5k to make that work, but interest is low these days. Take a look around traders and platforms: sometimes you find companies that are upgrading their leasing-fleet. Typically those are a year old, relatively cheap within their category and come with a lot of extras (that will boost your re-sell value) that are essentially free. Often the advertisement mentions the extra-equipment (business-line or some-such).
If you want to use it for the daily commute and not much more (vacation, family etc.) a sub-compact seems the right format: less parking troubles in the city, fun to drive and usually less expensive. Since you mentioned Golf you could look at a VW Polo, which will be reasonbly close to your budget for a 1-year-old. Personally, I like station wagons: they are useful for longer trips, driving around family or picking up furniture at Ikea without costing much more than sedan mid-size cars. Electric cars would be a good solution for commute, except for the battery problem. If it is easy for you to charge the car at home and if you can cash in on some governmental bonus (currently 4k€ in Germany) it might be worth taking a look at some of the newer models. Depreciation of the battery is a pain though; some companies offer models where you rent the battery (Renault I think).
In the end I decided not to buy car because, whichever way you look at it, it is a giant money-sink. Most options would set me back around 300-400 Euros per month and as I live only 3km from work and order everything, including groceries, online it doesn't make too much sense. If I need a car I use car-sharing.
Mister Angry Rules Guy
1st February 2010
I agree about the Volkswagen. Another brand I highly suggest is Mini. Really, that is all you need.
I have been heavily considering getting a Mini Countryman. All I need is something that will get me to and from work, to and from band practice or live gigs, that sort of thing. All I need is something that can carry groceries, and carry guitars. That is it.
So, my personal recommendation is buy used. Auto-Trader is great, as far as I know. Craigslist should also be a good starting point, but only if you are smart enough to know what you are seeing, instead of taking the owner's word at face value. For example, even if the ad says it is in brand-new condition, and runs perfectly, if something looks stupid cheap, it either doesn't run, or it is stolen. The basic rule to remember about Craigslist is to never trust anyone.
The rules of buying used cars is simple. 1: Owners WILL lie to you if they think you are dumb enough to fall for it. Be mindful of this. 2: Always check the VIN numbers. Most cars have them in two places. Needless to say, if they don't match, or they look tampered, it is stolen. 3: Then, do a background check on the car, such as Carfax. 4: Never buy anything without test driving it first. 5: Most insurance companies will give you a lower rate if you can outright buy the car in cash, instead of needing to get a bank loan. At your budget of £7k, this should not be a difficult task. The other effect is you don't have a bank hounding you for money.