eldavo69

Company Car Choice - Sensible Head On

32 posts in this topic

My Octavia vRS goes back in october and my next company car needs to be ordered - I'll have this one 4 years though (potentially) so want something a little more "premium" than the plucky Skoda. 

 

I can (and do) trade up from my standard lease allowance to get the car or spec that I want. However, should I choose to leave the company then I have to pay back whatever my monthly trade up amount is multiplied by the months left on the lease. 

Previously this hasn't been an issue or consideration but our company is going through some interesting times at the moment and we are on the brink of a restructure. This is unlikely to result in me being made redundant and should hopefully see me with a promotion and a higher car lease amount. Depending on how it works geographically then it has the potential to not effect me but again this is unlikely. If it didn't offer me any opportunities then it is likely that I would leave within 6-12 months so wouldn't want a car payment axe hanging over me. Anecdotally - if you're made redundant the company waives the right to make you pay off your car but it is at their discretion  

 

With that in mind, I've narrowed it down to 3 choices, A4 Avant, 3 series touring and a wildcard in the shape of a V60. 

I want an estate with decent rear legroom, decent headlights, heated leather seats, low company car tax, a few toys and something that looks nice! (Oh, and it'll probably be blue, making it my third blue estate in a row). 

 

Audi A4 Avant 190 2l Tdi Ultra, S Line spec appeals but only comes with part leather as standard, full leather is another £15 per month. Trade up is £34 with no options, £42 with a couple of basics, £290 per month in company car tax. 

Oddly, the Sport spec comes with full (p)leather and the same sport seats as the S Line, loses electric lumbar support for manual (fit and forget anyway) and obviously loses the exterior styling tweaks of the S Line. 17" wheels rather than 18"s but as it's the Ultra it keeps the lower (and stiffer) suspension of the S Line for emissions. Trade up is £24 with no options and those smaller wheels net me £20 a month less company car tax at £270 per month too. 

 

The BMW is the 320d Sport - the configurator was confusing so I just ordered a demo, no idea what it does or doesn't come with. Trade up is about £45 per month, tax is about £295. I would like the M Sport but that's £60 per month and £315 per month tax. I'd prefer a BMW to an Audi but the financials are a way off and the interior of the BMW is looking a little dated now. 

 

Volvo V60 - the curveball, I don't really like Volvos but I can't not look at this as the deals are incredible - I believe it's due for replacement this year though so that's why. This is the V60 R Design Lux Nav and comes with well, pretty much everything for £6 a month trade up and £260 a month tax. But. It's a Volvo!

 

I have the A4 coming for 48 hours tomorrow the BMW for 48 hours next week and the Volvo for a whole week (are they that desperate?) the week after. 

 

Opinions/thoughts/specs - on both the cars and whether I just get what I want or hedge my bets?

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The Volvo is all the car you'll ever need, it is a nice place to spend time, but it's not a 3 series and that is the long and short of it essentially.

 

Comes down to a choice between specifications/toys, or dynamic ability, the Audi fits neither (in my opinion).

 

You have a track toy and access to another sports car, how many times have you ever really pushed the Octavia or enjoyed thrashing it along a B road? Whatever the answer probably answers your question!

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Posted (edited)

The Octavia gets through a set of front tyres every 12k miles. My regional meetings take me into the Lakes and along some of the best driving roads in the country. Plus the odd Scottish driving trip - Garcon can attest that for a FWD cooking estate it can get very sideways!

I'm aware that I'm going into this with an on-paper positive bias towards the Audi - despite the fact that I don't really like the pedal position or driving dynamics of A4s. It ticks lots of boxes as the spec is very impressive but then has silly things missing. 

I'm lucky in that I get to have them all for a few days to live with to really see and hopefully reach an informed decision. 

Edited by eldavo69

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I think you're right about the Volvo being due replacement. So it's pretty dated, especially compared to the new A4. Maybe not so much against the 3 series. 

But in Rebel Blue (is that colour still available?) with R-Design Lux trim I think it's the best looking of the three, loaded with kit and I'm a fan of the interior design. 

Biggest problem is it'll suddenly feel old when the new one comes out (which I expect will be a massive step forward if their other new models are anything to go by), and you'll still have it for another three years.

Volvo interiors are pretty hardy. A mate has a mega mile 2013 V60 D5 and it's barely starting to show any wear inside. Well, it was until he unleashed a dog and two kids on it....

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Just a thought, Mazda 6? Mine has been brilliant over the last 2 years/ 75k miles.

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Mazda not on the list. 

Rebel Blue not an option for that spec - plus its non-metallic and we have to have a metallic colour as part of our policy. 

Next door's driveway butts up to ours and they have 2 Volvos and a Merc - soon to be one Volvo and a Merc. They've had 5 Volvos as their last cars - not sure I'm a Volvo person but I'm quite looking forward to that one. 

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Looking on autotrader there's a decent looking mid blue metallic. 

I can understand ruling out the Merc C Class on grounds of taste, but I'd imagine the numbers on it are pretty good?

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Before I got the list I wanted a C class 220d Sport or AMG Line. 

The 220d Sport is £99.86 per month trade up - whoever negotiated that lease for ALD needs to be shot. An A6 Avant, 190 Ultra S Line is "only" £88 and that £3500 more car. 

I don't like the "Bursting Blue" on the V60 - it looks good in grey/black though. 

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The Volvo name is a hell of a long name for a car.  :roflmao:

If it's due for replacement, I wouldn't bother, even though it won't affect your lease numbers, it still has the potential to leave you looking a bit peeved when the new one appears.

Mate at work a few years back got a new Honda Accord (Rover looking one) company car  2 months later, the new posh Accord appeared.  He was funcking gutted!

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Is the Merc 350e around the same cost as I think the tax is much lower. Might end up being an option if it is?

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8 hours ago, CarMad said:

Is the Merc 350e around the same cost as I think the tax is much lower. Might end up being an option if it is?

That was part of my initial thinking as a neighbour has one. I'm only allowed to trade up/down by £100 per month so even though the tax would be considerably lower, it doesn't appear on my list as the £36k 220d Sport is £99.86 so the £42k 350e doesn't feature. 

I'd rather pay more tax and less trade up as then I'm not tied in to a big payment should I leave. 

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Day one in the Audi. 

First impressions were very good even on the ickle wheels, classy looking car. Going straight from the Skoda, the Audi felt much bigger inside, seats not as supportive but a nice place to be with all the media controls, etc. to hand. The Octavia has all the buttons either side of the screen and they're a faff to reach when driving. This one has the Technology Pack and the Advanced parking pack.

The parking pack gives you innumerate views of the car and lines on the screen, etc. it comes with front and rear sensors as standard and lots of windows - the self parking feature is a bit of a gimmick, feels weird and works but not sure I'd trust it against a jagged kerb. 

The technology pack is mostly useless apart from the TFT screen in lieu of dials in the instrument binnacle. It's quite cool being able to have the nav widescreen in there and a different level of zoom to the centre display BUT . . . to prevent glare it is angled slightly downwards so you have to move your eyes further from the road to look at it than using the centre screen. 

Rest of the stuff is standard Audi fare and nicely put together, Apple Car Play works well with full Siri integration and Spotify, etc. My daughter thought it was great and loved playing about with it - she also liked the big boot and immediately climbed in. Turns out the auto closing boot re-opens when it encounters a 9-year old obstacle, just as well really. 

The steering is too light (even in dynamic) mode) and lacks any real feel at all - nice steering whee though, makes the wooly epas even more of a shame. Brakes are very very over-servoed and took some getting used to. Even on the 17"s with a 50 profile tyre the ride is almost as firm as the vRS's's's with 18"s so if I did go for an S Line with 18"s then the comfort suspension is a must. 

Another 2 days to get over the first flush of "new car" (literally is, 650 miles) and see whether it has any dynamic capabilities at all. 

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£100 a month trade up and nearly £300 a month in company car tax?

So £400 a month to be in a 4cyl diesel? 

Can't you opt out? 

 

Probably save yourself a fortune. 

 

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If I could opt out I would've done a long time ago and be in something far more interesting!

For years I did every salary sacrifice going, maxed my childcare vouchers, "bought" extra days holidays, etc. to keep in the 20% tax bracket but that's just not possible anymore so double company car tax is a thing :(

 

Anyway, the Audi went back last week, the interesting bit was getting back in my own car immediatelt after the Audi had gone. I was struck by how high up the seat was, how far away the gearstick felt, how all the infotainment buttons were at arms length and how the tech in the car made me feel like i was using a 90's Nokia and a Sony Minidisc player!

Then i drove off. I'd missed the weight of the steering and the front end communication but the gearbox felt clunky and the clutch pedal was stiff. At the weekend my wife drove my car, "I preferred driving the Audi, this feels heavy and agricultural" she said. 

 

BMW are dropping me a car off this morning for a week. I asked for a 320d Touring Sport Manual, they're delivering a 320d Touring M Sport Plus Auto. Looks a lovely car in metallic black with coral leather but is basically a "look what you could've won" chariot. 

BMW sent me a PDF of specs and pics, both wife and daughter have proclaimed that the interior looks old-fashioned next to the Audi and made me show them the pics of the A4 for comparison. They then went on to start choosing A4 colours. Even the dog is a female, they're ganging up on me!

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"Then i drove off. I'd missed the weight of the steering and the front end communication"

I have said pretty much that about every Auto Union I have ever driven, numb & uncommunicative steering & feedback.

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Posted (edited)

I made a snap decision this week after being offered a deal that I couldn't turn down. 420d x drive m sport, with:

Navigation System Professional, Black Dakota Leather, Alloy Wheels M-Double Spoke 19", M Sport Braking System, Sun Protection Glass, High Beam Assist, Harman/Kardon Sound System, M Sport Plus Package, Tyre Pressure Monitoring Sensor (TPMS), Run Flat Tyres, Front Centre Armrest, Sports Seats, Heated Front Seats, Front Foglights, Parking Distance Control - Front and Rear, Rain Sensor Wipers with Auto Headlight Activation, Cruise Control with Brake Function, Automatic Air Conditioning, 12v Auxiliary Power Socket, Bluetooth Telephone Hands Free Facility, DAB Digital Radio.

Should have been circa £42k, got it for £29,500.00.

 

Just going over to read your Volvo post. +++

 

Edited to add: thought the Volvo post was your test drive as you mentioned Volvo earlier in this thread.

Edited by dazdot
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There are some stonking deals on the 4 series at present because used prices have been tumbling rapidly so they're trying to keep new buyers interested.  That is a lot of car for the money.

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I definitely shouldn't have looked at PCP deals on a 730d M Sport yesterday.

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Posted (edited)

I think they're still too expensive.  The old model got to £399 within 2 years and I won't budge until the new one hits the same.  

p.s. I've looked at all manner of cars recently, from the new 5 (too expensive and not enough difference to mine), the E-Class and even a C Class Coupe.  None of them have got me interested enough to do anything.  It looks like I'll hold onto the 5 for another year because changing now would be for the sake of it and I can't afford to do that with my plans for the next few years.

Edited by NewNiceMrMe

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Given I broke the other rule recently (Never check the value of your own car unless you're actually going to sell it) I doubt I'll be changing any time soon. It's taken quite a hit in ten months. Not sure if that's down to the sudden dieselphobia or just that a 335d is always going to be a bit, erm, "niche".

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1 hour ago, garcon magnifique said:

Given I broke the other rule recently (Never check the value of your own car unless you're actually going to sell it) I doubt I'll be changing any time soon. It's taken quite a hit in ten months. Not sure if that's down to the sudden dieselphobia or just that a 335d is always going to be a bit, erm, "niche".

I think it's driven by the discounts dealers are giving on new cars. On 3's and 4's at the moment 22/23% is achievable so used cars are taking a hammering. Over on a BMW forum there are many people Vt'ing pcp deals as soon as they can as the car is worth way way less than the GFV

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Posted (edited)

Received the first of several V90 company cars this week, an acquired taste but they do look the DB's stickered up, quite intimidating. 

Edited by Andy_Bangle

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Had the BMW for 5 days and it's now gone back. 

Lovely looking car, in metallic black with the M Sport Plus pack and Coral leather interior. I was ready to be very impressed but it just felt a bit old fashioned inside (6-7 year old design now I suppose). 

Little niggly things like the iDrive controller not being where your hand thinks it should be and the overly-thick steering wheel. For the life of me I couldn't get the seat into a comfortable position either. The tech is very 8-bit, Spotify integration was abysmal and even the guy dropping it off described the business nav as archaic. The lack of a central screen in the instrument binnacle was very noticeable too, in fact the whole car didn't seem that different to the previous model I got rid of 3 years ago. 

Harmon Kardon surround sound stereo was awesome though!!! The drive was where I knew the BMW would shine but a combination of overly-light steering again and the automatic gearbox that put you in 8th gear at every opportunity (even in Sport) dulled this somewhat. Twisty B-road blasts made up for it though, with the box in sport manual mode and working around the light steering. That's not my day to day driving though :(

I got out of the Audi and into my Skoda and it felt like a generational step back in time, I got out of the BMW and into the Skoda and it felt like going for an iPhone S rather than a standard model. Broadly similar but a few touches that felt better and more updated. 

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Posted (edited)

I think it is difficult to argue that the 3 series interiors look anything but dated.  I still think they're a nice place to be but you only need look at the new 5 and 7 series to see what the 3 series has in store for the next model.  They are stunning places to sit and I'm sure the next 3 series will be the same.

The Volvo V90 is a lovely place to be and a very accomplished car.  I'm slightly biased about them nowadays though, so impressed have I been with the 'temporary' C70 that has now been with us for 14 months - and MrsMe shows little signs of wanting to change it.  

The problem with the Volvo range is the model variants and how ridiculous they are with some of the things they leave out on supposedly high spec models.  They'll have all manner of technology but you'll then find they don't have electric seats!  So you'll look for a model that does and you'll then find that variant is missing something else!  

The S90 is a magnificent car, a truly air-wafting silent thing of epic proportions....but it suffers from the model variant issue too.

Get the spec right, check and triple check it, and you might find yourself very surprised.

Edited by NewNiceMrMe

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You don't buy a 3 series for the interior and you don't buy an A4 for the handling characteristics.

Horses for courses +++

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