Sunday 11 January 2009

Mrs Grumpy's Motor Car

So Hubby thinks we should be looking at buying a new (to us) car. My initial reaction was that there is nothing whatsoever the matter with my car. It's fine. It will easily last another ten years and another 110k miles. Neutral observers might be tempted to say my optimism is touching but naive. So before Christmas we went to the car shop and had a look. I didn't like any of the cars. They were all too small or too big or just plain too no bloody good. With that Hubby's car-changing plan was pretty much blown out of the water. Apart from Renaults I only really like Volvos and it's not like we can really afford one of those.

But then while we were at home we were driven around in my Mum's car which is only 3 years old (read: centuries younger than mine). My dear little motor car did look a bit old next to Mum's shiny (well, pretty mucky if I'm honest) wheels. I got to thinking that maybe a new car wouldn't be such a daft idea after all. Ours is cheap to run day-to-day, but I do have some niggling concerns about expensive things that might start going wrong. For example, when the engine is cold you can't downshift from 3rd to 2nd. You sort of have to miss out 2nd altogether. Does that sound like my gearbox is wearing out? Does anyone know anything about car mechanics?

With this in mind, and out of curiosity, I thought I'd check out used car prices. And my curious form of curiosity saw me checking out used car prices in the UK as well as in France. I wish I hadn't. We're talking a V50 with less than 30k miles on the clock for less than 10 grand. I'm just torturing myself because even if we could afford to buy one, I'll never be able to afford to service it. It's so not fair. More realistically, the sort of car we should be looking at is available used for around £8,800. Same car with similar spec and mileage here in rip-off France? €13,500. The £/€ exchange rate is going to have to go up quite a lot before the French option starts looking like a good buy.

So Hubby and I are thinking about buying a UK (RHD) car and importing it to France. Initial investigations reveal the process to be relatively simple (thank you, Europe) and relatively inexpensive (biggest cost would be changing the headlights to LHD ones). I don't suppose anyone has already done this? (She asks, oh-so optimistically.) I know, I know, the car would be the wrong way round, making using multi-storey car parks a bit of a pain. But as Hubby says, having the steering wheel on the wrong side is worth it to save five grand.

So what do you think? Do we get a Volvo that we can't afford to run just so I can admire it sat parked in the street? Or a sensible hatchback that we can actually keep in petrol and servicing?


Anonymous said...

I don`t know if I could guess used to be on the wrong side, especially if the other cars are all the the good side.

That said, I`m a shitty driver and it takes me five seconds to tell my right from my left...!

Unknown said...
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Lis of the North said...

Hi Zhu! The biggest problem with being on the wrong side is car park entrances - you can't reach the ticket! I totally can't tell right from left either, so I'm permanently confused any way ;)