Daddy Clanger (imc) wrote,
Daddy Clanger

New year, new model

I am Up North with smallclanger, who is having some quality time with his grandparents. His ambition seems to be to go through the shelf of games in the back room and try out each one once, and so far we've played Ratrace, Mhing and In One Word in addition to Game of Life which he's seen before, Fluxx which by now is an old favourite, and Escape From Atlantis, which is one of his Christmas presents from me (after I mentioned to him that I had played it elsewhere and he asked me to look for it on eBay).

He's also completed three construction projects with varying degrees of help: TechnoRobot (a robot with moving arms and wheels, based on a plastic motorised mechanism with an outer cardboard body and head), a crane lorry in not-quite-Lego, and a gingerbread house.

Meanwhile, we have a temporary 60-reg Astra 1.8 Club in silver with not much more than 1K miles on the clock. I managed to post a refund form with my tax disc (11 months left to run) on the 29th, then rang the insurance company to read them some numbers and sort out what documents to post. Just then, a letter arrived confirming my hire of the temporary car and pointing out that I have to return it within 48 hours when the insurance company pays me a settlement of my claim (or in any case within 21 days). So it seems to be in my interest to stall just now, and — oh, darn it, I missed the post office on Dec 31st and now I bet they are all closed till Jan 4th.

And so, when I get back, I have to look for another car. Two orthogonal decisions face me (not to mention some long days trawling the web or visiting car dealerships).

  1. Whether to replace the old car with one
    • equivalent in age and value (so about 8 years old)
    • roughly equivalent to the old car when I bought it (so about 5 years old), or
    • reasonably new (but probably not brand new, as I gather that cars tend to lose a lot of value within the first couple of years).
  2. And whether to get
    • Another roughly equivalent Citroën (probably a C4 or C5 as they don't make the plain Xsara any more),
    • Something similar from another make, or
    • Something completely different (say, a Prius or one of the other similar hybrids, which might save a bit on fuel and be in a low tax bracket, though these cars seem to be a bit out of my price range).
Buying reasonably new appeals to me because the last one cost me a fortune in servicing (including, unfortunately, a new cam belt a mere month before its demise) and I would hope to get a bit of life out of the car before having to replace the clutch, brakes, exhaust, and so on. In addition, if the worst happens, the insurance company will be less likely to write it off after a 10mph collision if the car is worth more in the first place. The obvious down side, of course, is a big increase in my debt burden, and the money saved on servicing would probably go in higher insurance premiums. The previous two cars I've driven were both about 5 years old at the time of purchase. The obvious advantage of replacing the old car with its nearest equivalent would be minimal financial loss, and the obvious disadvantage would be replacing things that have already worn out (and that I've already paid for once on the old car).

I have a mild preference towards diesel (having driven both) because they seem to be a bit cheaper to run and I'm not the kind of person who needs the better acceleration of a petrol engine. In fact, while the Astra 1.8 is rather swish, I find it a bit too easy to accidentally exceed the speed limit after being in the Xsara HDi, and I can almost see the fuel gauge going down while I'm driving on the motorway.

So… any recommendations?

Tags: car

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