I have just bought a new car. The priorities were: low insurance category (to enable 18-year-old son to use it), fun to drive, small and easy to park, good fuel consumption (low CO2 band also helps avoid punitive residents parking charges from the People’s Environmental Paradise of Richmond-upon-Thames). We were after a sub-Fiesta sized car: the so-called ‘city car’ category. Seating for four is fine. No need for anything bigger.
Gavin’s city car: the shortlist
A shortlist soon emerged: Mini Cooper D with ingenious ‘stop-start’ to get that little eco glow of self-righteousness when the engine shuts down at the traffic lights. The new Fiat 500, naturally. The Toyota Aygo/Citroën C1/Peugeot 107 clones.
Dealers were visited, tyres kicked, test drives arranged, discounts and ‘special promotional offers’ discussed.
And the winner was…
We ended up buying a Peugeot 107 ‘Urban Move’. To the normal 107, add side airbags (there’s an 18-year old driving it!) and air-con. We negotiated £750 off list, plus cheap finance. The missus liked the dealer, which was also close-by. Citroën dealer: not so friendly, kept us waiting for ages. Toyota dealer: just that little bit further away. Plus, the missus likes Peugeots. She had a 205 GTI years ago. Still says it’s the best car she’s ever had. Girls like French brands.
She liked the friendly young Welsh salesman, too: she’s half Welsh, after all, and always supports the reds in Rugby. Strange how these little things matter when buying a car.
The Mini was too pricey and is now so ubiquitous. The Fiat 500, though charming, is just a Panda in a pretty dress. Why would I spend £2000 extra for designer clothes and a clever marketing campaign?
The 107/Aygo/C1 was cheapest, fun to drive and I like its undeniable modernity. No retro ‘50s throwback, this car. It’s C21 in every way. And I love the gruff bark of that little triple-cylinder engine.
Bumped into a mate, soon after the car arrived. He has a 107 too. Also owns a Porsche Boxster. Since the baby Pug came, he uses the Porsche less and less. Never had so much fun driving around town, he claims.
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