Car Choice: Impressive...a student who can afford a Volvo
Sunday 07 February 2010
Matt Francis, 20, has been driving an old Ford Escort for two years. But he now needs something bigger and safer. He has a thing about Volvo V40s, as he has seen several around for less than £3,000, with under 90,000 miles on the clock. Insurance, he says, is reasonable, considering he was paying £2,200 for his first-year , then £1,800 on his second. His quote for a 2002 V40 1.6 is £1,550.
A car for the head
So, even before I can leap in and lecture Matt about the implications of insurance for anyone under 25, Matt lays the facts, and what he afford, on the table. I'm impressed that a student can find such a large sum. I like the V40, but it is not exactly a load-lugger, and just buying one for the badge would be wrong. I do think Matt could buy a smaller estate car that would be just as spacious and safe, but far cheaper to insure. I would steer Matt towards a Vauxhall Astra estate. First of all, it is nice to drive – certainly better than the Volvo. As for load space, there is a very practical boot area, which is helped by a wide hatch door and a low sill. The rear seat obviously splits and folds too, to take those larger items. Meanwhile, Matt's mates will find that rear bench quite big and it will sit three across. There is a 1.4 engine which, to be honest, struggles with heavy loads, so the 1.6 would be better. For, say £2,000, a 1.6 model from 2000 with a lowish 51,000 miles on the clock would be worth considering.
A car for the heart
If the Astra has one drawback it would be that the styling is terminally dull. Both inside and out, it is not very inspiring at all. The upside, though, is practicality and low prices. However, there is another small estate car which does have rather more character. That would be the Ford Focus estate. It still looks different on the outside, and has a stylish interior too. Most of all, it is sporty to drive even with the smallest of engines. The 1.6 petrol would be the best all-rounder, returning up to 40mpg overall. The Astra probably has the edge in terms of spaciousness, but again five adults does not present a problem at all. Matt will find the boot a good size, perfect for a student's boxes and rucksacks. Depreciation may not have been as heavy on the Focus compared with the Astra, but it is still significant and that means that if Matt has £2,000 to spare then there is plenty of choice out there. A 2001 1.6 Zetec in gold paint from a dealer, with just 73,000 miles, seemed nice. But the fact that it had alloy wheels – and it was finished in attention grabbing gold – could affect the insurance. So Matt, don't just think Volvo when you want an estate.
Looking to buy?
Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF or email James Ruppert at firstname.lastname@example.org, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget.
Life & Style blogs
Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures leaked: Reddit removes 'The Fappening' board dedicated to sharing naked pictures of celebrities
iPhone 'Wave': iOS 8 hoax claims you can charge your iPhone in the microwave - you can't
From Topshop to Burberry, London Fashion Week spring/summer 2015: Distraction could not disguise a distinct lack of focus
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No new blood and no fresh ideas at Milan Fashion Week: How do you solve a problem like Milano?
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 3 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...
£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: The Job An inner city Birmingham sc...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Year 2 maternity cover, startin...