*[optional extras]

As much as I love cars I am not sure that I would ever chose to buy one from new; maybe it’s the fact that I am careful with money, or maybe it’s the fact that I cannot foresee me ever deciding to lay £50k+ in cash out in one go (finance sits a little uneasily with me). But pretty much I can’t see the point in buying something which will lose at least 20% of it’s value the moment you drive off the forecourt.

There are plenty of obvious perks to buying new I’ll admit, mainly the peace of mind that comes with the manufacturer’s warranty, the knowledge that you’re the first person to use the car and maybe most interestingly, the person who gets to make sure that the new purchase is specified in the exact way they would want it. As a sufferer of chronic boredom I decided to spend this afternoon speccing some of my favorite models to see how they compare price wise (clearly all are luxo-SUV’s!). The results were quite interesting.

I tried to the best of my ability to spec the cars relatively realistically and to a similar level; most come with leather as standard but I’ve added memory to the front seats and heat to both rows. Navigation, xenon lights, bluetooth, panoramic sunroof and an electronic opening boot are also must-haves for most buyers, and I have added colours and wheels which look good (usually very expensive). I’ve neglected to add leather wrapped dashboards, adaptive cruise control or any kind of fancy suspensions, and as much as internet connectivity and ventilated seats appeal, I couldn’t justify their price.

Audi Q7 3.0TDI S-Line: £53,755 OTR


For a relatively old model the Q7 is not cheap, but it offers 7 seats as standard and is still a good looking beast. I added massive tinted wheels and the black pack to give it an even more menacing appearance, with total options adding £7k to the base price. I don’t think it offers bad value but after sitting in one the other week I was not convinced it is that practical despite it’s size.

BMW X5 xDrive30d M Sport: £56,895 OTR


For a car which has already been replaced, the X5 is a pretty expensive vehicle. Opting for the M Sport over the SE spec model makes a lot of difference, but with the SE you are restricted to tiny wheel sizes and not the 21″ rims you see above. It’s still a great car though, and all £6k of it’s options are competitive and worth the money. I did skip the power boot on the X5 though…it seemed excessive considering it is a split tailgate, and this is a 5 seat model, the extra rear seats cost nearly £2k extra.

Land Rover Range Rover Sport SDV6 SE: £56,550 OTR


Another car which has already been replaced, I was surprised to find that even this base Sport starts north of 50 large. Admittedly a large proportion of this car’s options are the £5k appearance package, which adds the more aggressive front and side skirting seen above. I’m not sure if anyone would pay book prices for the outgoing Sport, but it still looks great even if it is heavy compared to rivals.

Land Rover Range Rover TDV6 Vogue: £78,790 OTR


It could be argued that the big daddy Range Rover is somewhat of a bargain considering it’s prestige and newness. The base Vogue is pretty well specced, but getting 20″ wheels took a good chunk of the nearly £7k  of options on my car. Grey paint is understated but does help disguise the chrome strip along the bottom of the doors, which I don’t like even with the ‘tint’ package I added on. I’d probably go for a ex demo of the previous generation which looks much better. The 4X4 TDV8 version is also a good deal more expensive in this generation.

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque SD4 Prestige: £45,105 OTR


I specced up this Evoque out of curiousity to see how much it would cost compared to much larger models. The top spec prestige model actually has bags of kit, and only£5k of options were added to get the £45k price. It looks bad-ass with the black wheels and petrol-y paint, but in the flesh I still fear it would be a little petite. I would personally not buy an Evoque, but for anyone set on a smaller SUV it offers a competitive and highly desirable package.

Land Rover Discovery SDV6 XS: £51,355


The Discovery is another model which shocked me regarding price. When it was first launched I can remember base versions retailing for around £27k; half the price of this example! Now entry level versions cost £38k, with £45k needed for this mid spec XS model! Admittedly the black package and other £6k worth of options give the car an almost after market appearance, but I still think it looks great even if the basic design is nearly 10 years old. If you must have a Land Rover this is the  one to get, especially as it comes with a warranty.

Mercedes ML350 BluTEC: £55,570 OTR


I have to admit that the current ML is growing on me. Maybe it’s the fact I intend to buy the previous generation car but it’s now only the rear 3/4 angle I really dislike. £8k sounds like a lot of options but I guess that suggests that the ML is relatively good value in the first place, especially seeing as the ‘250’ version can be had for around £2k less, and remember this is a car that only launched last year. Fancy wheels and gizmos like cooled cupholders are the main contributors to the ML’s high option tally, but if you are careful I’m sure it’s easy to get a ML250 for well under £50k without feeling hard done by inside.

Mercedes GL350 BluTEC: £63,685 OTR


The GL comes with that much extra equipment that it needs little more than half the additional equipment at only £4.5k of options. This is helped by the fact that the massive wheels are standard, and to be honest the extra £8k over the ML is probably worth it to those who value space and those extra seats. I would be very tempted to forgo several options and get the larger car if I was in the market for any of these vehicles-the GL surprised me.

Lexus RX450h F Sport: £53,485 OTR


Although the standard RX can be had for around £45k, I was disappointed that the desirable F Sport version came in at well over £50k without any options, but on further investigation I discovered that there was virtually nothing that needed to be added to the basline price apart from the £1k panoramic sunroof. The F Sport package adds slightly more aggressive styling, but to be honest I’d probably save myself £3k and go for a mid spec car as I’m sure that the desirable options would be there.

Porsche Cayenne Diesel: £58,819 OTR


On the face of it, £48k for the Cayenne doesn’t appear bad value at all, but you have to add nearly £2k of options before you can start speccing the car up! A total of £13K of options brings the total up by alot, though some will argue that the Porsche DNA is worth more than that. I actually like the Cayenne, and I’m sure that missing out on a few of the options could make it a more palatable purchase.

Luxury cars are notorious for heaping on loads of options, but these days even city cars can be specced up with climate control and leather. I’m pretty sure I’d never go mad on this level, but if somebody let me go mad with the company cheque book who knows

PS Sorry that the pictures are pretty small, but these are the actual cars I specced!


5 responses to “*[optional extras]

  1. Pingback: *[Optional Extras] part 2… | readingandwrighting·

  2. I’ve bought most of the cars I’ve owned myself (rather than the many company cars I’ve also driven) as new cars. I agree that on the face of it it has been a big waste of money. I once did a really silly thing and that was to write down the purchase price and sale price of every car I’d owned and realised that I’d lost £100K over my driving life EEK! I could have bought a new house for that money. The only vehicles I’d never really lost money on where old Land Rovers, indeed one old Series Land Rover was sold for more than I paid for it despite being ten years older and wrecked from off roading!

    However there is one key thing from buying a brand new vehicle and that is in the life of its engine. Diesel engines, unlike petrols, are very easily ruined in the first few thousand miles if driven incorrectly or thrashed. If you buy second hand even if the vehicle has done quite low mileage, you are risking that the previous owner did not treat the engine carefully and you could be looking at an engine that expires at 100K miles whereas one treated properly would last 200-300K miles.

    This would not be a problem if you were not intending to keep the vehicle for a while or you do low annual mileage. In my case I do 25K miles a year and not wanting to waste any more money on vehicles I chose specifically to buy new and then keep the vehicle for ten years. I bought a base model Mazda pickup for £14K in 2005 and have treated it very carefully since new and it has now done 210K miles and is still running sweetly, produces no smoke and burns no oil and has flown through every MOT emssions test with no issues. Its service and maintenance costs have averaged just £250 a year since new. The engine took 60K miles to bed in/loosen up before it reached its best economy but now regularly betters its official figures. I reckon it will go to 250-300K miles/10 years old before it finally requires any work on the engine. In comparison I’ve had to drive company diesels that have been thrashed since new and in many cases their engines were heavily smoking and burning oil at 90K miles with very expensive engine rebuilds required by 120K miles.

    • Hi Ian,

      Eek I’m not sure that I would be brave to do the sums as to how much I’ve spent on my relatively short driving life…as of yet I’ve not paid much to actually buy a vehicle (in fact my first car was free albeit worth virtually nothing), but servicing, repairs and of course insurance would probably not give me much change from £10k I imagine 😦 Gets me a little annoyed when I see my younger brother being given free reign over my mum’s car without paying a penny even for petrol grrr.

      I am a little worried about buying a second hand diesel tbh but I don’t have much choice given the type of car I’m after; some forums have suggested buying a petrol version given that I don’t do too many miles a year but petrols seem to be few and far between in a lot of the cars I’m looking at – either that or they get about 15mpg (Range Rover V8 or Cayenne S!). I’m actually steering away from cars with too low a mileage though…those with the lowest tend to be out of my price range and have probably been used as city runarounds anyway. The trickier decision is deciding between cars with around 100k or those with a bit under that; my worry is that the highest milers are probably going to have had all the necessary work done, whereas 70-85k is when a lot of parts need replacing. All a matter of looking at receipts though I guess 🙂

  3. LOL, I know all too well the little brother issue. Whereas I had to pay for all my cars other than my first, which was a mini metro, my brother was gifted car after car and when he crashed them my parents simply paid for the repairs and then the icing on the cake was when my mum gave him her 18month old top spec RAV4 because she decided she didn’t like it and had bought another car instead. So at 20 years old my brother was driving around in a 20K+ car when I was struggling to afford to run a knackered old escort…..

    Petrols are definately cheaper to maintain once they hit the high mileage. The diesels will require refurbished fuel injection pumps and injectors at some point after 100-150K miles. These days they are all electronic and need programming in after refurbishing and in some cases this job (as on my Mazda pickup) costs £1500!! Thus when my Mazda finally fails an MOT on emissions it will simply be scrapped. In comparison my wifes 30 year old Land Rover cost just £80 to have all four injectors refurbished.

    • Ouch that must have been painful! There would have been serious problems in my house had my mum given my brother much more than she has…let alone a nearly new car!

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