The Volvo is starting to look and act old. (yes, I know, aren't we all...) And so last night I took a trip to a well known local car supermarket. Whilst I saw a lot of very nice cars, I didn't really know what I was looking for. The last Volvo 440 is now 12 years old, and so they didn't have any of those. They did have a few Volvos there, but the down payment of one upper and one lower limb meant that these were well out of my budget. Basically, the poor sales guy (white shirt, unbuttoned collar, loosely fitted tie, grey slacks) was tearing what little hair he had out. I couldn't decide on what was there and what I wanted. But by the end of a mammoth session of seeing and trying cars I have two to choose from...
A 2002 Citroen Picasso 1.6 SX petrol.
Honest John's website gave this car 4 stars. I have driven one of these from about the same era when it was new. It was a very nice car, cheap to run, and most importantly I could drive it for many hours and not adopt the walk of Quasimodo after I had done so. It has A/C, it doesn't have a stereo, but this doesn't bother me because I'd only put my half decent one in instead of the factory fitted shite one. It is also group 8 insurance, one less then the Volvo. Most importantly the Tax is less then £70 for 6 months, but as the engine's got older apparently I am to expect 33mpg, which is less then the Volvo now and that's a 2 litre. I would pay for this over the next 4 years. It's also french, which means it could surrender for no reason at any time.
A 2005 Nissan Almera Tino 2.2 DHCi Diesel
I have to admit I've never heard of the Tino. The first one I saw was very basic inside, and looked cheaply made. The salesman got all excited though when I asked about a higher spec model, and showed me 4 cars away this delightful model. It has all the toys, and I mean all the toys. Sat Nav (not that I need it), Stereo (not that I need it), DVD Player (!), reversing camera (!x2). It's also believe it or not greener then the Picasso, but being a bigger engine means the tax is only £4 less then I'm paying now! Once again Honest John's website flags it up as only 3 stars, mainly because in his opinion it's ugly. It's group 5 insurance which equates to a staggering 40% less then I pay now. It's also going to be paid for over 5 years, but the monthly payment would equate to almost a fiver more. It also apparently does 45mpg at 90mph, and can do as much as 50mpg when driven economically (aka slowly). Being a Nissan it'll run and run and run and run without breaking down and so that really appeals to me.
There you have it. 2 cars, and I don't know which to choose. My head says the Picasso. It's a lot cheaper in the short term, but I'll pay for that for the life of the car. My heart says the Tino, but that's because I'm a bloke, and it has toys. I also crave reliability, and at the moment something new seems to break or fail on the Volvo. Cast your vote now.
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