For reasons that are too boring to go into, I have another car on my driveway for a few weeks. I had to pop out this morning so I thought I'd take this thing as mine needs diesel and I couldn't be bothered stopping at the fuel station. The car in question is a new shape Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 sxi. To start with it is quite a good looking car albeit whenever I have seen them on the road I can't help but think that they are too big for a small car, does that make sense?
Now at this point I've got to point out that for the past ten years or so I've been lucky enough to be running top of the range stuff with Nav, leather, heated steering wheels etc. Everything from Ferraris to Range Rovers and certainly for the past 5 years my cars have required very little driver input and have auto transmission, auto wipers, dimming mirrors, auto lights etc, you get the picture? So it was with little expectation that I clambered into the Corsa earlier today but straight from the start I was hugely impressed. The new Corsa is cavernous inside, The windscreen seems miles away from the driver and the dash design is superb. This thing actually has remote locking, electric windows, automatic lights and several other quirky little gadgets. I spent around an hour in it this morning running around on several errands and I've got to say I'm quite taken with it, It feels like a much bigger car, the drive is excellent despite the car having very little power and the fuel gauge just doesn't move!
General Motors who own Vauxhall almost sold a majority of this company a couple of months ago. The deal with investment group Magna was called off by GM at the last minute as GM realised that Vauxhall was an important part of their future strategy and I've got to agree with them. In the past I have kept a car for two years or so and lost circa £20k when the time comes to change it. I could buy one of these things and save a fortune! My current car is due for a change soon and I've been looking at possible replacements but driving this thing today has changed my mind.
I currently drive a BMW 535d Msport. It's a nice car, looks the part, has every extra that BMW offer and has more torque than a Ferrari 360. So ok the Corsa doesn't have leather or Nav or Xenon lights or heated seats but if you take an average 2 year ownership the Corsa will probably only devalue by around £5000 compared to £20000 on the BMW, the road tax is half the cost per year, the BMW is insurance group 18 whereas the Corsa is only a group 3 which is a difference of around £900 per year in premiums. The tyres on the Beemer are run flats which are about £180 each to replace whereas the Corsa runs tyres costing less than £50 each. The BMW averages around 27mpg which for a diesel isn't great whereas the Corsa delivers an average 50 mpg. So I have to ask myself why am I still driving cars like the Beemer?
When I was in business it was sort of expected that I had a prestige motor. I went through my Mike Baldwin stage and had a few Jags then switched to a Range Rover when I started to shoot clays. I also went through the super car stage after my divorce and for a few years my garage housed such lovelies as Ferraris and Porsches. Now however I have to be mindful that my earnings are only a quarter of what they once were. My lifestyle no longer requires that I drive a car to impress or portray a certain image. So what is stopping me taking the plunge and changing to the sort of car that I associate with Car supermarkets?
Well as I mentioned earlier the Corsa has no power whereas the BMW shreds tyres at every opportunity, would I miss this sort of grunt? Perhaps not, the roads around where I live are now littered with ridiculously tall speed bumps anyway which prevent anyone achieving speeds beyond that of a disabled tortoise. I also have 6 points on my licence none of which are speed related (lack of seatbelts) so I can ill afford to be going fast on the public highway anyway. Added to that I have a Subaru Impreza which is totally stripped out for use as a track car so I have no excuse really. So what would I miss? Probably the bluetooth facility on my car which instantly connects to my phone but I'm sure Vauxhall would have this on their options list, I would probably miss the heated seats too, leather is cold in winter and the Corsa doesn't have leather so that perhaps wouldn't be an issue. I certainly wouldn't need to worry about my daughter taking the car to the shops as the Corsa will fit perfectly into the Kate Moss styled parking spaces found in retail parks. Yeah I think this little Corsa has made a big impact today. Watch this space, I may be buying a car soon that for once will win the approval of my Father!