Apr 25, 2010

Driving Me Crazy

So my car is a write-off.

That was crux of the phone call I had late Friday afternoon; obviously all the official business has yet to be done - including the solemn ceremony of me tracking down my poor Hummer to retrieve all sundries from the glovebox and boot (including, I suspect, a box of porn leftover from Felafel). Next week sometime I will get an official figure, but it looks like I'm going to paid out roughly $15,000 for the car.

And I think I'm going to need your help.

I always wonder about the nature of making decisions. Sometimes I think I'm great, because I can sum up a situation and know instinctively what to do. Directing is like that for me - I look at a situation and know what needs to happen or what I want to see. Other things are more problematic - like that time a few weeks back when I asked for opinions via Twitter about what smartphone I should look at buying, and got so upset by Apple fanatics baying at me to get an iPhone that I spent the evening wailing in a corner.

Anyhoo. I have no particular desire for certain types of cars - well, certain types of cars within my price range. My ultimate car would be an Aston-Martin, because, well, I want to be James Bond. Simple, really.*

As for everything else? Well, I don't really have much of a clue at all. As far as I can see, I have a number of options:

1. I use the money to buy a new car. This would probably have to be a smaller car than my Toyota Corolla, such as a Suzuki Swift or Hyundai Getz. But a warranty and lower service costs is a plus.

2. I use the money to buy a used car. This could be any number of models. My concern is that I bought my Corolla new, so all of its history was my history. I am wary, I guess, of used cars - or actually, more about the process of making sure a used car is OK. Let's face it, I don't know that much, and I'm kind of gullible. I probably would believe a sleazy car salesman.

3. I get a loan for maybe another $10k, and try to buy something of similar size to my Corolla - like a Ford Fiesta or Focus, a Holden Cruze, a Volkswagen Polo. This would mean I wouldn't be "downgrading" in size, but would leave me with a debt where I previously had none.

In terms of cars, here's what I think I know/like:

  • Lots of airbags, security features and thingies. ABS, stability control etc.
  • Fuel economy (I'd like to investigate a diesel but might not be able to afford it).
  • Low service/insurance costs; and one that holds market value (great qualities with the Corolla, y'see).
  • I like hatchbacks, or at least something vaguely sporty/funky looking. Think more Ford Fiesta, and less Honda Jazz.
  • Five doors. Reasonably roomy would be good, but I don't want a huge beast.
  • I think I'd prefer an automatic; I like driving manuals and would be OK with one, but geez automatics are helpful in traffic. It probably depends on the car.
    So. If you've got any ideas, any hints or tips, any good links - please, comment away. I honestly had not even the remotest contemplation of buying a car just over a week ago, and now I've found myself in this situation. All assistance is greatly appreciated!

    *Oh, man, if I was James Bond, my life would be fracking sorted. If I was James Bond, I would've totally avoided that crash with my razor sharp driving skills, then I would've punched out the other driver in the face and blown up their car with my dash-mounted bazooka. Then  I would've just got a replacement Aston-Martin  from Q after zinging him with a number of witty bon-mots, then pic up some hot guys in my new wheels and then shag them on a beach. Awesome. Then I'd take down some crime kingpin or some local terrorists or maybe some graffiti artists, light a cigar, pose for Vogue, get some fracking awesome Omega watches and sit back in a high-backed leather chair in the sweetest Mycroft Holmes-ian club in London with a vodka martini and watch all the boys in the yard come shake their money-makers in front of me. All of which is a sideways way of saying I think I'm a little stressed and feeling under-empowered and nervous about turning 30 and could really do with learning a martial art or at least have a hot bath.


    1. Judging by the contents of your previous car, I think you'd also need to factor in suitable porn storage compartments into your list of desirable attributes.

    2. Nat,I've had new cars a lot (write down for work) when I had to provide my own (nearing three years now, always on the point of changing) I have no complaints it was bought as a temporary and it's always been I'm about to change (hence no LPG).
      New cars you do the shake down cruise on and wear the cost of driving out of the showroom. With the government incentives done look at recent second hand units. Good luck Bangar.

      (This missive will self destruct in 60 secs if the code monkeys got it right[ odds are they didn't])

    3. Try finding a near-new car that has some warranty so if there is anything slightly scary in the history you can hopefully sort it out under warranty. I bought a two year old car last year with 10,000kms on it for a touch under 15k with all of the saftey options I was after. It wasn't a five door but I was looking for a three door. I started out wanting a Fiesta but the auto was a dog to drive.

      http://www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au/ is a good place to narrow down options.

    4. I've already said heaps (indeed fully totes heaps) on this but if you want any further advice just drop me a line.

    5. Hey Doc - I know you have, and I appreciate it - I guess I blogged it up as a way of collating a lot of info. Twitter is great, but now there are so many tweets bouncing around I don't know what to do anymore. ;)

    6. "5 Star ANCAP rating" are the key words as far as safety is concerned. You are definitely going to get more for your money if you get something in the used range, and as anon said, if you get something with balance of warranty you should be in a pretty good spot. I'd recommend www.carsales.com.au you can search there including new and used. You can search on number of doors or body styles. You can search on price range, region, fuel type, even colour. It gives a good way to narrow it down to what you like and don't like. Another option is to talk to a car broker. I've known people who have loved their service, but I'm not sure how it works.

      Good luck, have fun. Not a nice way to be thrust into it, but getting a new (/to you) car is actually pretty exciting :)

    7. Oh, and I'd happily get another Corolla if we weren't looking for a bit more room in my next car...

    8. They say a new car loses 20% of it's value the moment you drive it off the lot. The trick is grab one of those guys as they're driving off the lot and then offer them 85% of the value of the car they just bought.

      You save 15% and they make an easy 5%.
      Everybody wins.

      I've heard good things about Golfs and my family has a bunch of car keenos and there are a lot of Corollas in there.

    9. Yes, thank you Dan. Witty repartee about unrealistic scenarios are just the ticket to solving my car dilemmas.

    10. Hooray! My repartee is 'witty' :D

    11. I saw on Top Gear once, they converted some cars into boats which could still be driven as cars.

      When buying one you should ask about the potential for you to do that.

    12. Thank you Doyle. I'm glad you could make a contribution. ;)

    13. I have only ever owned used cars, and you can get a reliable, near new car for your price range. Do a bit of research, go to reputable dealers, get an RACQ inspection done and it should be fine. Toyotas and Hondas hold their value well, Holdens and Fords not so much. I owned a Hyundai once - never, ever, again. We recently bought a family car, four years old, luxury model, low kms, excellent condition for half what it cost to buy new.

    14. So a 2nd hand Aston-Martin the sort James Bond would drive is out of the question then?

    15. At the risk of hearing a great deal of snide comments I would say Have a look at the Hyundai i30...
      It has been the Car of the Year and has most of the bells & whistles you want including a diesel version.
      On the subject of diesels be aware that driving a turbo-engined car requires a change of driving style. The turbo's tend to kick in around 1500-2000rpm which means that if you start off gently all goes nice and quietly until the turbo kicks in and, if you are not concentrating,you tend to get your head snapped back
      Having said that I still think that a diesel is the way to go
      The Ancient Man

    16. For the low low price of 1.8 million dollars the Bugatti Veryon could be yours!

    17. Hey Wah ring me when you are ready too sell yours...
      I have been saving 5 cents in a Coffee Can so I may be somewhere near the price
      The Ancient Man

    18. Ancient Man, the i30 station wagon is the likely suspect in my car upgrade... at the moment :) I think Hyundai are the kinda car you either love or hate, and indeed you can get lemons in any brand. I have heard from some folks that are very enamoured with theirs.

    19. GC Hyundai's are no longer the buckets of shit they once were. I inherited a fleet of the fkrs when they were just released and spend the next two years fixing the fkn things until I convinced the ceo to FK THEM OFF.

      Having said that, Like earlier, the new ones now are really good value.

      As for current diesel cars in the 4 cylinder cat, sml, 4-5 door sedans. If it fits the budget..GET ONE.

      Turbo lag on modern sml 4's in diesel is almost non existent, especially with new 5 speed autos, 6 speed autos in some cases.

      Q. HOW quick are you looking at getting a car?

    20. Hey Nat, bugger about the Corolla.
      Some good advice above - remember, its a very personal thing so my advice, narrow your list down to a handful, and take them all for a good long test drive - specs and reviews useful, but nothing will beat the driving experience.
      BTW,the Hyundai I30 diesel mentioned above is a great car, we have a few at work, awesome economy, and with a 5 yr warranty you could even pick up a low km year old one for a reasobable saving over new $ with 3 or more years warranty to go. In fact, I even have 2 here right now you could buy if you want to drop in to sunny Broome and pick up :) Good luck!

    21. Hey Havock,

      I would love to get a diesel actually - my Dad has one and loves it. But it could be out of my price range - unless I go the second hand option eg VW Golf.

      In terms of time frame - I don't know. Sooner rather than later would be good, but of course I want to make the best decision I can and I need time for research etc.

      That's the other buggery thing about this - I now have to find time to get out to car dealerships etc to go test driving!!!

    22. Hey Drej - interesting - so you're saying we should fly over to Broome then drive home?

      It's not a bad idea... :)

      Would have to see the specs of those Hyundais though! ;)

    23. GC,
      Just a couple of thoughts.
      Check the servicing costs of diesels, sometimes can be higher than the petrol versions (insurances costs as well).

      There is a new model of the VW polo about to be launched, may get the previous model on run out.

      Buying a near new certainly lets the previous owner take the big depreciation hit.

      Hyundai's have been getting really good ownership reviews (ie JD Power ranking's in the USA)

      I think there are better cars out there rather than a cardigan car like the Corolla.

    24. Ooooh !!! The very idea....
      GC in a "Cardigan Car:
      The mind BOGGLES
      The Ancient Man

    25. Hi Girl Clumsy,
      If you would like to talk about options you can call me at Beecham Holden on 07 54951477. I have new and used cars that will cover your needs.

    26. Anon thinks ..that there is something to be said for cars with bigger bonnets...judging from the photos of the Corolla..

    27. I loved my Toyota Yaris. I now have a Toyota Hilux for reasons of Moving Stuff. If I was back in Brisbane, I would be back to a Yaris for brilliant cost, storage and zipping around in traffic. I could fit more stuff in my Yaris that firends could fit in their modern Falcons and Holdens.

    28. Steer away from the Yaris! Tests by the RAVC have shown that they are the most expensive car to fix after an accident. They test-crashed one into a wall at just 10 k/p/h, and it did $7k damage. Really. Seven thousand!

      Your best bet is to go to a police auction and get one of those retired police cars. Wherever you go, people will mysteriously start doing the speed limit, backing off from your back bumper, giving you right-of-way, and avoiding overtaking you. It's weird....