Archive for the ‘General Motoring information’ Category

Ford Model Range Review: hard to beat across all categories

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

What singles a new Ford out from the pack? One of the things the Detroit car maker is very proud of is its ‘Kinetic Design’ concept. This design approach is meant to visualise energy in motion, making new Ford cars look as though they are moving even when they are standing still. The look features bold lines, dynamic flair and full, interesting surfaces. Kinetic design has inspired every new Ford since 2005 and is just one of the ways in which Ford continues to innovate throughout its range of cars. (more…)

To HP or Not? That is the Question

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Hire purchase cars are a common sight on our roads. In fact, for a long time hire purchase (HP) was probably the most common way to finance new car purchases. Typically, the dealer or manufacturer would offer the finance package directly to the customer. This arrangement does have some benefits. The finance can usually be arranged reasonably quickly and the customer does not have to go to the bank. It can be agreed more easily than a personal loan too, as the finance company retains ownership of the vehicle and will simply take it back if payments are not kept up.
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Finance Options To Consider For Your Next Audi

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

A company that has been producing world renowned cars since 1910, Audi are famous throughout the world for quality.

The first Audi automobile, the Audi Type A 10/22 hp (16 kW) Sport-Phaeton, was produced in 1910. In 1966, Volkswagen acquired the badge, securing a successful and long lived future for the German manufacturers.

Nowadays, the Audi range consists of pretty much every conceivable car type. From the supermini A1, through stylish convertibles, practical hatchbacks, refined saloons, imposing 4x4’s, all the way up to the R8 supercar. If you can’t find a car to fit your needs from Audi, you probably want a motorbike or truck! (more…)

BMW X1, the Little S.U.V. That’s Good to Finance

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Sitting somewhere between the 3 Series Touring and the BMW X3, there is the BMW X1. A small(ish) sports utility vehicle with surprising efficiency. Starting at £24,265 for the base model 1.8 dSE sDrive, it isn’t the cheapest in it’s class to buy, but car finance is a great option to take away some of the pain and get you behind the wheel of a somewhat underrated car.

The X1 is actually based on the same platform as the AWD 3 Series Touring, with both 2 wheel drive (sDrive) and 4 wheel drive (xDrive). The strange thing is, it’s only offered with diesel engines (unless you live in America). However, as with all BMW diesels, they are not short of power. The base 1.8d has 1.8 141bhp and 140 lb-ft torque, up to the twin turbo 2.3 offering 201bhp and 300 lb·ft torque. (more…)

BMW Z4 Now a Proper Sports Car. Finance Takes Sting Out of Price

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

The BMW Z4 came out in 2002 to replace the slightly damp Z3. The Z3 never really caught on like BMW hoped, so the Z4 had to be a big improvement. The original Z4 was a big step forward, but the latest 2009 incarnation had to up it’s game again to compete with the strong Honda S2000, Mazda MX-5 and Porsche Boxster.

And hats off to BMW, it has. But with prices starting at £30,405 for the base model, it seems destined for the fortunate few. Because this car is so much better than the Z3 and the last Z4 (and has a BMW badge), used values are forecast to be favourable which means car finance can make it comparatively affordable. (more…)

The New Audi A4 – Is It The Best Car In The £300 A Month Bracket?

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

First entering production in 1994, the A4 was warmly received by critics and customers alike. Since then it has had two major re-developments over the last 16 years, first in 2005 with that generation running through to 2008 and then, secondly, the latest generation of the car which is the Audi A4’s best incarnation so far.

Critics have always been impressed with Top Gear explaining that “Audi has produced a 3 Series rival that…offers truly fantastic ride quality” and is part of the “new generation of Audis…that have learned how to ride”.

Seen as a competitor to the BMW 3 Series, the question then becomes, what is the entry price for the vehicle. Depending on your requirements, its on the road list price ranges from £22,190 to £37,290. However, if you utilise car finance you can pick up a brand new Audi A4 for just £309 a month on an Audi leasing deal if you are a business (and use it solely for business) or £376 per month for a retail shopper if they take it on a car leasing contract known as personal contract hire.

However, what most people want to know is what they’re getting for their money.

With the Audi A4 Saloon that is available in a range of different engine sizes, from a conservative 1.8 petrol through to a powerhouse 3 litre V6 diesel, the A4 is available with the 8 speed Multitronic gear system and its overall size and interior finish ensures that it can compete with the its main rivals in the executive compact section of the market. It also comes with
climate control, an intuitive on board computer, top stereo system, 16 inch alloy wheels, halogen lights and a number of small finishing touches, such as the sills being trimmed with aluminium. With the A4 you will feel that you’re driving a car that is worth much more than £376 per month.

In summary, the basic Audi A4 provides a good entry level for this respected range and it offers the mod cons that anyone would most likely need in a car. It has style, packs a powerful engine offers luxury and a comfortable drive However, is it the best car in the £300 per month bracket? Well, that would bring it head to head with a number of attractive vehicles as you can lease a BMW 3 Series at an entry level monthly price of £353. Ultimately, the decision on whether or not it is will most likely come down to personal choice but for car shoppers looking to buy a car using car finance, or more specifically car leasing, in terms of value for money on a monthly price, the Audi A4 rates highly.

BMW 1 Series – What You Will Get For Your Money

Friday, February 4th, 2011

BMW is known for their luxurious, powerful and spacious vehicles that are aesthetically pleasing and very reliable. The positioning of the brand is that it offers cars for the upper middle to the top end of the market and most BMW drivers agree that you typically get what you pay for. So what happens if BMW decides to make a smaller vehicles than usual and slightly change the styling while adjusting some of the features and luxuries?

The answer is BMW 1 Series –a great range from a top car maker. What Car? Says it is an “enjoyable drive” with “communicative steering” While Top Gear says it is a “good small car”. The 1 Series achieves this by keeping as much of the BMW traditions in place as possible whilst also ensuring that the price tag is as low as it can be.

When you think of BMWs in general and the price tag you’re likely to think of it costing £30,000 and £50,000. With the BMW 1 Series, however, choose the 116i ES trim and you’ll be looking at handing over just £17,610 from new to get the car on the road – that’s only £3,000 more than if you were to go out and buy a car that most would consider to be more middle of the market, such as a new Renault Megane.

If the big ticket of the total cost is a little hard to swallow, then the BMW 1 Series is very accessible with some of the forms of car finance such as car leasing. For as little as £225 (ex VAT) per month over 4 years for a business using BMW contract hire, or £275 per month (including VAT) for a personal shopper, using BMW leasing makes this car very accessible.

Whilst it’s clear that you can grab yourself a BMW for a competitive price, some have argued that you don’t get the true BMW experience. This isn’t true. You’re going for a smaller model in the range so things aren’t going to be as spacious as they would be for a 5 Series but accordingt o many reviews there’s no skimping on the quality of the car.

For instance, on the standard 116i ES model alone you get the intuitive Auto Start-Stop engine feature, 16 inch allow wheels, a Thatcham Category 1 alarm, halogen headlights, dynamic braking, stability and traction controls, air conditioning, an on board computer and a particularly high quality sound system, which includes an auxiliary point for connections with external devices.

When you look at the fact you can finance a BMW 1 Series, full of many of the bells and whistles that you’d expect to find in a full size for a little over £200 per month, it’s easy to understand why this range is so popular.

Discounted Prices And Increased Demand For UK Cars

Friday, July 16th, 2010

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) the UK car market grew by 10.8 per cent in June 2010 with this growth being mainly driven by a 25% increase in company purchases. This goes against what some industry analysts had predicted and their pessimism was based on the end of car scrappage scheme.

According to the Financial Times, analysts agree that demand for cars grew among businesses. With the scrappage scheme now over, some carmakers are offering discounts to attract consumers accustomed to getting a bargain when they buy a car. We are seeing a lot of incentives around at the moment,” said Mike Steventon, partner with KPMG’s automotive group. “That is one of the reasons why retail sales have not fallen yet.” Ford, which experienced high demand for its Fiesta under the scrappage scheme, announced reductions on list price this week for several of its smaller models, all due to take effect from next month.

So, what does this mean for the car shopper? Whilst the manufacturers are offering great deals on some models, the supply for others is much tighter. Car shoppers opting for the models that are in high demand and wanting to buy a car or use car financecontract hire or car leasing may have to wait up to 2 – 3 months for delivery. This is a consequence of the manufacturers implementing a cautious approach to supply and opting for a much more reactive supply strategy this year than the optimistic one they used in 2008. That strategy left them high and dry when the speed of the global credit crisis took many industries, not just the auto sector, by surprise.

Car Buying Checklist – First 5 Steps

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

For many people, obtaining a new car is the second biggest financial decision they will make.  Therefore, it is critical to ensure that car shoppers consider everything before committing to a new car.  The following article provides an explanation of most important steps for car shopping”. 

Step 1 – Make A Decision on Car Type

 A decision on car type is an obvious starting point which should be directed by your needs as a car shopper as opposed to your ‘wants’.  If you let ‘wants’ direct the ‘needs’, this can lead to an expensive mistake.  If you are a car shopper and you want to understand your needs, these mostly evolve around:

  1. Engine – the most dominant factors in this is are the fuel type (diesel engines are more efficient than petrol) and the size of the engine (which determines the power for speed and acceleration);
  2. Transmission – there is one of three options, manual, automatic or semi automatic with automatic being an option for those that like to avoid changing gears because they spend a lot of time behind the wheel. Automatic vehicles are most often less fuel efficient than manual vehicles.
  3. Size of the vehicle – what will be the average number of passengers seated in the vehicle for most journeys and is there a requirement for additional space?
  4. Likely Usage – how frequently and how far will the car be driven each week?  If it is a company car then the chances are that it will generate a lot of miles on longer journeys quickly. However, if it is a family car that is required for school runs and grocery shopping then there will likely be a large number of short journeys. For cars on long journeys the engine size and transmission type become important to optimise efficiency.

 

 Step 2 – What Is Your Monthly Budget?

 If you are not buying a car with cash and are looking to use car finance (hire purchase, car leasing  or car loan), once you have made a decision that narrows down the car type, the next critical decision is to decide on your budget for monthly car payments.  A general rule is that your total monthly payment shouldn’t exceed 20% of your net salary (ie; your take home pay) per month.

Step 3 – How Should You Finance Your New Car?

 The four most common ways to finance a new car are by paying cash, by using hire purchase, taking out a loan with a finance company or by leasing the car.  These four different finance options can be categorised in to two main groups of car finance:

  1. Those with which you ultimately take ownership of the car (paying with cash, car loan or hire purchase – with hire purchase you don’t own the car until your final payment); and,
  2. Those with which you don’t own the car unless you opt to buy it at the end of the finance period – car leasing.  There are primarily two types of car leasing:  (A) An operational lease (also known as contract hire), you don’t actually own the car you just pay a monthly fee to keep it for a period typically between two to five years; and, (B) lease/buy (also known as contract purchase), you pay a monthly fee to keep the car but you have the option to buy the car at the end of your contract (for a price agreed at the time of signing the original contract).

 Therefore, the decision that must be made is whether or not you want to own the car.  To do this you need to consider the benefits of car leasing vs car buying.  There is an enormous amount written on this and great debate as to which is better. However, there is no correct answer and depends on the circumstances of the car shopper.  Nevertheless, the benefits of each are:

Benefits of Car Leasing vs Car Buying:

  1. Businesses avoid at least 50% of the cost of  VAT (if they use contract hire);
  2. No large upfront deposit;
  3. You obtain a more prestigious vehicle for less money (sometimes as much as 60% less);
  4. You update your car every 2 – 4 years;
  5. You avoid the stress of buying and selling as the new vehicle is delivered and the old one is picked up by the leasing company.

 Benefits of Car Buying:

  1. There are no contractual restrictions such as penalties for excess mileage or wanting to change a car earlier than expected;
  2. If interest rates are low and the vehicle is one that depreciates quickly (some cars depreciate as much as 40% in the 1st 12 months) it might be best to buy the car.

 

 Step 4: What are the costs of ownership of your preferred car?

It is wise to consider the costs of owning a vehicle over the entire life of the vehicle.  For example, there could be two cars that you are looking at and one is cheaper to buy than the other. However, the cheaper car might actually cost you much more over the entire period that you have it rather than the one that is more expensive upfront. Costs that you should consider are annual road tax, fuel and maintenance costs, insurance and depreciation (depreciation is not an issue with car leasing)

Step 5: How to find the best prices

By now you should have a short list of at least your top 3 vehicle choices with your number 1 option being the most cost effective.  However, you now want to understand how to find the best price for your preferred vehicle. The fastest way to determine the cheapest price for your new car (whether you are buying or leasing) is to use the internet. There are many different types of car websites that compare the cost of cars and the cost of car finance.  You should spend some time looking at these and by doing so locating what is the cheapest and what is the average price.

Car Buying Checklist – Step 1 and 2

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

For many people, obtaining a new car is one of the biggest financial decision they will make.  Therefore, if you are a car shopper, it is critical to consider all options before committing to a new car.  The following article provides the top two most important steps to take before making a final decision. 

 Step 1 – Make A Decision on Car Type

 A decision on car type is an obvious starting point which should be directed by your needs as a car shopper as opposed to your ‘wants’.  If you let ‘wants’ direct the ‘needs’, this can lead to an expensive mistake.  If you are a car shopper and you want to understand your needs, these mostly evolve around:

  1. Engine – the most dominant factors in this is are the fuel type (diesel engines are more efficient than petrol) and the size of the engine (which determines the power for speed and acceleration);
  2. Transmission – there is one of three options, manual, automatic or semi automatic with automatic being an option for those that like to avoid changing gears because they spend a lot of time behind the wheel. Automatic vehicles are most often less fuel efficient than manual vehicles.
  3. Size of the vehicle – what will be the average number of passengers seated in the vehicle for most journeys and is there a requirement for additional space?
  4. Likely Usage – how frequently and how far will the car be driven each week?  If it is a company car then the chances are that it will generate a lot of miles on longer journeys quickly. However, if it is a family car that is required for school runs and grocery shopping then there will likely be a large number of short journeys. For cars on long journeys the engine size and transmission type become important to optimise efficiency.

 Step 2 – What Is Your Monthly Budget?

 If you are not buying a car with cash and are looking to use car finance (hire purchase, car leasing  or car loan), once you have made a decision that narrows down the car type, the next critical decision is to decide on your budget for monthly car payments.  A general rule is that your total monthly payment shouldn’t exceed 20% of your net salary (ie; your take home pay) per month.