Wednesday, 30 October 2019

The Automotive Upgrade



Nearly five years ago, I passed my driving test. A month later, Mrs P and I went to buy our first car in the UK, from a dealer in east London. It was a four year old, low mileage red Mazda 3, and it served us very well. Reliable, easy to drive, comfortable and generally cheap to run. Nothing ever went wrong with it, beyond your normal wear and tear issues. And rust. Chronic, terminal rust. It is, I have since learned, a common problem with Mazda 3's from around that time and a problem that became noticeable on our motor about a year ago. It scraped through the last MOT. It would have needed substantial welding and other work to get it through the next one in April. That's expense that I'm not willing to invest in a twelve year old car. It was a shame, because were it not for that, I'd have kept it for a few years more.

I'd been looking at used cars since last April. The budget? I don't like taking on debt, but the choice was between borrowing big or bagging a banger. I didn't want a banger. So perhaps somewhere between £10,000 and £12,000. The car? Something reliable, easy to drive and comfortable. More of the same, really. Ideally about three years old, with less than 30,000 miles on the clock. Apple CarPlay would be a plus. But then something caught my eye. And I started looking at new cars. And doing the maths. It's always important to do the maths.

If you look hard and haggle harder, new car deals can start to look attractive. Even with the heavy depreciation. I used Carwow to gauge what sort of deal I could get. I became quite addicted to the process of choosing a car, specifying the extras and waiting for the offers to come in. I must have done hundreds, including cars I had no intention of buying. I didn't buy through Carwow, though. I bought from our local Mazda dealer. Because we really wanted another Mazda. But I used my best Carwow quotes to get a price match.

The maths told me that ultimately I would be paying more for a new car. Of course I would, or what state would the used car market be in? But not so extravagantly more, once I'd added in the extra costs of MOTing and maintenance. It's also a less risky purchase, with the chances of buying a dog of a car eliminated. And then there's the pleasure of having a brand new car. The smell of a new car.

So I'd like to introduce the new member of our family. It's a Mazda 2 Sport Nav+ in Mica Crimson. It's a smaller car, but more than big enough for our purposes. It's very economical. It's extremely easy to drive. It's comfortable. It comes with Apple CarPlay. It's pretty much what we wanted. We're happy. And the maths worked out for us. In case you're wondering, the cost of buying new worked out to be between £50 and £60 a month more than buying a £12,000 used car based on my estimations.