Buying on Price...

Cheapest isn't always best value!

I hope this article doesn't ruin my 'Guess what car I've bought' competition:-

The fact is, one of the first things you have to decide when choosing a vehicle is how much you're going to spend. Do you decide money is no object and you'll pay whatever it takes to buy what you want? Or do you put your post code into Autotrader, set the the maximum price to £500 with no other filters, sort by distance and buy the most sensible, cheapest offer on the first page?

The most sensible offer on the first page when I do this!

The most sensible offer on the first page when I do this!

This is what I got using this technique. Hardly inspiring is it? If it's what YOU'RE after, feel free to jump in and buy! The ad's here:-

Now technically, this would do. If I wanted a vehicle that was legal to drive on the road, this would actually, genuinely suffice. I COULD buy this piece of 'automotive transportation' and it would get me to work.

Would I? No? I'd rather volunteer for experimental, exploratory rectal surgery than buy a Cat C, Shopping Trolley with enough miles on it to keep the Proclaimers singing until doomsday and less power than my electric nasal hair trimmer.

No Thanks.

But what at the other end of the scale? The most expensive car on Autotrader at the moment is this:-

The most expensive car on Autotrader right now.

The most expensive car on Autotrader right now.

If the Fiesta isn't for you, but you're tempted to this - the ad is here:-

Now bizarrely, this car is on sale for 10,000 times the Fiesta! That's right! For the same money, as this 1 car you could have 10,000 of the Fiesta... Well, 9,999 anyway. It's even got less seats and a smaller boot!

Are you mad to buy a 3.5 million pound Ferarri? No, you're wealthy. I've stretched my self a little bit. Paid more than I REALLY intended for my new car. (Can't give too much detail away, there's a 'Guess what I've bought from the clues' competition going on! I've paid nearly £20k. I probably shouldn't have paid more than £12k but the only thing that really looked at all sensible at that price was a Mini Countryman All4 Cooper S, which are slow, thirsty and look like they've been kicked in the face. Sorry if you own one and love it, but I think they're horribly ugly cars.

It's a bit like buying a house, technically a run-down flat above a kebab shop in Woking, is somewhere you can live, however you'd rather live in an 11 bedroom castle in Chipping Norton.

Very few of us live our lives buying everything on price. We pay more for the things we care about. Some people really don't care about their cars. I know some people who don't even KNOW what make of car they're driving, let alone the model, and if pressed can only tell you the colour!

My wife is very keen on furniture. It always lifts her mood when she spends £££££'s on some over-priced, but slightly avantgarde piece. I can't complain too much, I've just blown 5 figures on a motor, when I could have had a crappy old Fiesta that's about as safe as serving Clarkson cold meats!

I think when it comes down to it, how much you spend on the things you care about is a battle of head vs heart. We always want more than we can have. That's a human survival trait. We strive, that's why we became the dominant species on this planet. Unfortunately that trait also finds it way into our buying habits.

I think this is why dealers WANT you test drive a car. If you drive a car, you have an emotional connection to it. It's no longer a little ad in the paper or an image online, it's real. A good car, feels part of you when you begin driving it. It gives you a sense of oneness that the Orange Robe brigade in Nepal would die for. Driving is cathartic, it's satisfying. It's at best - a form of meditation, it gives you time to think.

If you're like me and you DO like cars. Listen to your head AND your heart. You probably can't afford what you REALLY want. But that doesn't mean you have to do the 'closest under £500' thing on Autotrader. Stretch yourself, push your budget up just a little bit and savour the sensation of being brave, or daring. After all life isn't about the destination, it's about the journey. If you wanted a LaFerrari like the above and that was the number one goal in your life, what if you won the Euromillions tomorrow? If you bought that car your life would suddenly be empty. So savour the journey and enjoy the sensation of 'striving'.

Martyn Stanley

[ICT] Irreverant Car Talk


Join In

Comments (2)

  • True big cars seem to drop like stones for the first couple of years. You can get a lot of car for your money!

      4 years ago
  • Older high end big cars like 2003 BMW 530 or my current 03 Volvo XC70 are my sweet spot. Great cars with lots of features too old for many so cheap but buy well and have lots of life left. And it's not a boring shit box. Luckily I have a tame euro mechanic close and parts are cheap if you hunt around.

      4 years ago