Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bye Bye Keano

As part of my plan to produce my Outsiders book this year I have made the incredibly brave decision - fearless infact - to sell my beloved Keano, otherwise known as my brilliant bright red Nissan X-trail.

I need the dosh, so Keano will shortly be going to a new home to replaced by a Volkswagen Golf, the most reliable hatchback you can buy. Fact.

In my search for a suitable replacement to Keano, I went to the Preston branch of Arnold Clark (Europe's biggest independent car dealer, they claim).

I swore I would never go back there. Eighteen months ago, I told the salesman I wanted ultra reliable hatchback with a high mpg. He immediteley guided me to a bulky Rover which had a price tag about £3,000 more than my budget. 'Don't worry about that,' he said. 'We can do you a deal."

Turns out that Arnold Clark purchased a fleet of Rovers when the company went bust a few years ago. They can't shift them so are trying to force them onto unsuspecting customers. No doubt the salesmen will get an extra bonus for shifting one of these dinosaurs.

Fast forward to the prseent and I was back at AC's knowing that either a VW Golf diesel or a Vauxhall Astra diesel were the best options for me (reliable, high mpg).

I told the salesman I wanted a spacious car with a high mpg. He went through his list. He mentioned four cars. Three of them were fr*gg*ing Rovers. The other was a Citroen Xsara Picasso.

I'll not even comment on the Rovers. As for the Picasso? Well, it was priced £2,500 over my budget. But salesman Paul told me, 'Don't worry about that, we can do you a deal.'

Do car salesmen ever give you what they want, or just what they want to get rid of? I'll leave you with these words from the Consumers' Association Which?:

'Don't Buy: Citroen Xsara. The Xsara can be pretty troublesome, and only 35% of owners would recommend it. Its dated safety and poor ownership score suggest you should give it a miss.'

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