Those of you that are reading this and know me will know that I like my cars fast and, like many others, like top end marques such as Jaguar, Aston Martin and Tesla.
Helen and I have long talked about what our next car would be to replace the hated Vauxhall Insignia and had our eye on a nice new BMW 1 Series. Yesterday we bought a Hyundai i30. How on earth did that happen?
Our current car, the aforementioned Vauxhall Insignia, we’ve had from new since 2009 and has been a pain from day one. We picked it up from a garage in Cambridgeshire and on the drive home there were problem with the electrics. Over the years there have been all sorts of issues with it including needing a brand new gearbox. We’ve spent a lot of money on that car and it hasn’t seemed very grateful.
Just recently there have been a spate of niggly issues with it (the coolant appears to be leaking away somewhere) and it has been in and out of the garage. So it was clear that its days were numbered and I wanted to avoid the issue we had with the previous car, a BMW 3 Series, where I came out to drive to work one morning and found that it had wet itself!
In an ideal world I would have been straight off the the local Tesla garage and ordered a fully loaded Model S or even that BMW 1 Series but financial realities took hold and so we found ourselves sat in the Hyundai showroom. We had pre-booked a test drive and they were obviously keen for us to attend having emailed, phoned AND texted to make sure we were going to be there.
I have to say that I like the look of the Hyundai but I had low expectations for the comfort and engine so I was pleasantly surprised when we took it out for a spin. It not only drove well but was comfortable too. Based on this we decided to commit. As an aside it seems that the time spent viewing (anything) is inversely proportional to the purchase price. I’m sure we spent more time contemplating our last fridge than we did this car!
One of the things that had drawn us into the Hyundai garage was a very generous amount on offer as part of a government backed scrappage scheme to take older, more polluting cars off the road. We knew that this would be £4,000 for our Vauxhall and the salesman almost immediately upped this to £5,000 or about £5,000 more than our car was actually worth! I did also consider asking if I could come and watch as my old car was crushed just to make sure nobody else had to suffer it.
Next came the difficult questions – what did we want from our car. We had a fairly modest list: not the 1 litre engine, had to be petrol, doesn’t need Sat Nav, shouldn’t be white, er, that’s about it. It seems that Hyundai have taken a leaf out of the Henry Ford playbook as we were told we could have any colour we wanted as long as it was white. If we wanted a poncy name colour that would be an extra £600 – kerching! Oh and as for that 1.4 engine you can only get that with the third model up, the SE NAV, which, of course, comes with Sat Nav and a higher price tag – kerching!
Then there are the insurances, one of which was to protect the paint and upholstery. From behind his desk the salesman produced a large bag, similar to a pilots flight bag. From this he began to pull all sorts of cans and bottles like a magician pulling rabbits from a hat. He then explained that these could be used when polishing the car. Helen and I looked at each other and then back to him. “Polish the car?” we thought, “that’s not happening.” Maybe we could gift the bag and its contents to the nice Eastern European gentlemen at the local hand wash place at the shopping centre?
By this point we had been in the showroom for getting on for two and a half hours and I was frozen and if I heard diamond cut wheels one more time I was going to scream. Part of the problem was that our conversations with the salesman were punctuated by long breaks as he went off to check things. As it turned out this checking also seemed to include the score of the England v Ireland rugby match…
Decisions had been made and so the salesman took us through our purchase and the financial implications of it. “So you have the Hyundai i30 SE Nav in poncy name blue with 1.4 litre petrol engine, electric mirrors, bluetooth, DAB radio, Apple carplay, a wireless charging mat, rear parking sensors and rear parking camera (why both?). Oh and are you happy to pay £60 for the floor mats?” Excuse me? The floor mats aren’t included in the price but a sodding rear facing parking camera is? Ah you see these aren’t any sort of mats, oh no these are “luxury” floor mats! I am therefore expecting them to be stitched with gold thread.
The deed is done and it has to be delivered to us (well we have to collect it) before the end of the month to ensure that the scrappage applies. I just hope that this time we can make it home from the garage before a warning light comes on!