Used car buyers want an easy life, which is fair enough, except that I think that the process never ought to be too painless. After all, if you get complacent, that’s when mistakes get made.
Anyway, I notice that there are more companies piling into the ‘guaranteed online sale with added easy finance’ market. This is nothing new; over the years, I’ve looked at countless e-commerce ventures that tried to make the whole used car buying thing less stressful. Many of those companies no longer operate.
Let’s look at the ingredients of one I stumbled across the other day. For starters, it offered vehicles that had undergone a professional inspection, which is good. The prices of the vehicles online were presented as monthly costs, then a personal loan robot did all the financial ruminating on your behalf once you had entered all your details.
Now I understand why some of us need loans to buy cars and there may be some very good reasons to do so. However, I would like to politely suggest that, ideally, we ought to save up and spend what we’ve got, rather than pay interest.
The site I looked at was very good and easy to use, but when I found a 2016 Vauxhall Astra 1.4 petrol in Elite trim with 12,000 miles on the clock at £162.91 pcm, it seemed too good to be true. You had to put £100 down and the balance was to be paid over a mere 84 months. So you’d be financing the car’s overall cost of £10,900 at 6.9% and the actual cost of borrowing was £2784.44.
Obviously you could adjust all the elements, such as the size of deposit and the number of months for repayments, but almost three grand for the finance looks steep. Surely we can buy a clean, inspected car outright for that?
For £2500, a cute Hyundai i10 1.1 Edition from 2010 with 80,000 miles, including recovery and a six-month warranty, is a good way to stay reassuringly mobile. Plus, the car I found was inspected to the same standard as the vehicles offered by the online people.
Not everyone can cram their family into a tiny Hyundai, so maybe the Honda FR-V will do. It was properly inspected and, despite coming from 2006, was up for almost £2600. It had 98k miles on the clock and was a diesel in Sport trim.