We finally decided to go ahead and trade in our 10-year-old Ford Festiva for a new 4WD/AWD SUV (A Ford Escape ZD). With the kids now 4 and 10 the Festiva was getting a bit cramped, and I was getting tired of driving a manual car for an hour and a half in peak hour traffic every day. This model is usually priced around $34,000 but at the moment is on 'sale' for $27,990 "drive away" so it's about the same price as the base model Hyundai ix35 (which we were also considering), and a fair bit cheaper than a Subaru Forester (which is what I'd buy if money was no object).
We got a $1,500 trade in valuation on the Festiva (which has only done 123,000 km but is ten years old), and after asking for their "best price" arrived at a final price of $26,300 with some car mats and a bike rack thrown in as sweeteners. Some other Ford dealers were advertising a slightly lower sticker price, but we may not have got as much for the trade in or the "free" accessories, so I decided not to spend the whole weekend visiting multiple dealers to try and knock down the price a bit further.
DW wanted a light colour (for visibility/safety) so black and 'royal ego' (metallic black/dark grey) were ruled out, and I was sick of red cars after driving a red Ford Capri and then a red Ford Festiva for the past twenty or so years. We both aren't keen on white cars, so that left a choice of either 'moonlight' silver or 'metallic sand' (a light-tan shade of silver). I decided on the 'metallic sand' as it may not look as dirty after every Sydney rain storm (I don't often wash my car, and begrudge spending money on a car wash - although that may change for the first couple of years with this new car).
I paid the $500 deposit using my credit card and will drop off a personal cheque for the balance tomorrow. The registration and other paperwork and 'preparation' will be done during the week (while my cheque clears) so we should be able to drop off the trade-in and drive away the new car next weekend. Meanwhile I need to reorganise the 'stuff' stored in our garage, and install the roller-door motor kit I bought last week ($275). I'll probably take out comprehensive car insurance on the new car (at least for the first few years), before reverting to theft and fire insurance, and eventually only keeping third party property damage (and the compulsory third party insurance) when the car has depreciated to under $10,000 valuation.
I expect to keep this car for at least ten years, so the annual cost is about $2,630 depreciation plus ~$500 for registration/CTP insurance, ~$1,000 or so for regular servicing, ~$200 each year accrued for new tyres, and $500 for comprehensive car insurance (not too expensive since DW and myself are both over 40). All up around $5,000 pa. Petrol costs should be similar to our current, smaller car (at around $35 each week), as although the Escape is larger and heavier than the Festiva, the newer engine technology means the Escape has similar fuel consumption figures (around 10L per 100km). Aside from the daily commute to and from work and the normal weekend family activities, we will be using this car for trips to my parents farm at Wallis Lake (about 350 km north of Sydney) every couple of months during the school holidays. There are lots of scenic 4WD tracks there, so we may even lock the car in '4WD mode' occasionally ;)
I'm not sure how often we will use the bike rack, but the roof racks should be used quite often to transport my wind-surfer and kayak when we visit the Lake. The large boot and rear 12V power point will also be useful if I take my 10" Meade SCT on field trips ;)
ps. I'd previously blogged about second-hand cars being much better value than buying new vehicles, but at the current sale price the new Escape is only a few thousand more than a 2-3 year old second-hand Escape.
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