Just a quickie after that mammoth last post, and as ever I’m dragging the topic of blogging back to my purchase of a new car. As you might expect I have read up a lot about all of my potential choices; not just reviews by the big car magazines or online journals but also the owner reviews which appear on websites from Autotrader to Whatcar. However probably one of the most valuable tools to any car owner are the hundreds of thousands of forums dedicated to helping solve virtually any problem you have with your car or any potential ones.
I have tried in the past to gauge the opinion of current owners of cars I’ve been after and have gotten mixed results; as it is the oldest and most popular car I’ve been looking at the E53 X5 has one of the largest and most helpful user communities on the net, I’ve been ‘lurking’ for over a year and there are some very interesting posts on there. The likes of Mercedes and Audi have smaller communities but all bar Volvo have been helpful to a degree. My most recent foray into the forum world has been via classified ads site ‘Pistonheads‘. Posing my question got some interesting responses which have given me even more to dwell on…those interested can click on that link but essentially there is a strong pro-petrol power stance, plus a lot of fans of Range Rovers both Sport and ‘Full Fat’. Here is a summary of how my head lies at the moment as I receive another pay cheque that brings me closer to actually affording one.
E53 X5: There aren’t many negatives to the original X5 bar an interior that’s easy to mark, but the insurance remains frustratingly high when compared to all the other cars here. Given the low value of the car that rules it out for me, again.
E70 X5: Aside from some frustrating spec levels and smallish alloy wheels the second generation is pretty much perfect. However prices seem to be on the rise more than anything and bar waiting a few more months there isn’t much I can do.
Q7: I am still a big fan of the Q7 despite it’s huge size, but I’m unsure that the extreme tyre wear issue makes it a viable option. Insurance prices aren’t too bad but the road tax is nearly £500 p/a and with prices holding up it remains at the top end of my budget
XC90: In a vacuum the XC90 is a good choice; cheaper to run than nearly every other option it is also a tried and tested design, plus newer examples fall into my price range quite easily. However the image is boring, the engine is slow and the interior is way behind everything else in terms of tech.
ML: Really the car I should be buying right now; an ML280 is cheap to insure, gets reasonable mpg and has all the cabin tech I need. Yet it lacks that little bit of excitement for me and road tax is high…one I definitely need to test drive though.
Cayenne: A left field option and one commonly cited by forum users as one to go for. A 2005 model would be less than £10k and petrol is cheaper than diesel. But 17/18mpg is a very low figure even if I could overlook the expensive insurance price (although still cheaper than the E53 X5!)
Discovery 3: The thinking man’s Land Rover and another highly recommended car, I am still not won over by the big car’s charms. I guess it’s the car’s poor reliability reputation but poor cabin plastics and mpgs also damage it’s chances with me. A Disco 4 would be alot more likely to win me over but they don’t drop far below £20k
Range Rover Sport: Perversely although it is based on the same platform as the Discovery it has a lot more appeal. A more upmarket image and aggressive looks grab my attention, although I would only want top HSE spec (and even then I’d want 20″ wheels). A pre 2006 model would give me cheaper road tax to go alongside insurance of under £700! But whilst I may put up with slow acceleration I’d be very wary of reliability despite all it’s recommendations…also it ain’t cheap!
Range Rover: Although TD6 and petrol versions of the FFRR have never been too expensive it is only recently that TDV8 versions have snuck into my budget. Given that it was originally alot more expensive than a comparable RRS it seems strange that they are cheaper than even the lesser engined Sports…the FF is a much better car although a bit more expensive to run in terms of fuel, insurance and tax. I guess I’d have to weigh up if I could afford those costs, as well as if anything goes wrong (entirely possible!)
Others: Others have suggested cars as varied as the Touareg (too boring/heavy), XC60 (abit bland) and Q5 (too expensive in automatic/S Line spec), but in reality it would be one of the cars I’ve already been looking at in more detail.