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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had to do some hard thinking recently - the wife's still in and out of hospital and I'm making lots of short journeys, and the money situation isn't improving, now being on the one income.

Couple this with the obvious trend to penalise those with larger engines/CO2 emmisions, and well... I see a conclusion looming on the horizon. The wife's health has meant we haven't made the best use of the 'The Shed' (a term of real affection, more to do with capacity than anything), so I'm on the look out for something smaller and more fuel efficient. More on this later.

Having said that - it's a reluctant conclusion looming away, the car's been excellent, reliable (yes, really), comfortable, and reasonably frugal on long journeys, 35 to 37 mpg. So, my '99 9-5 SE 2.3t auto Estate will have to go. Probably. You can tell I'm struggling with this can't you?

OK here's my short list of used cars - in no particular order - based on a total spend of around the £6,000 mark. Split into sensible diesels - well OK reasonably sensible, and some petrol alternatives.

Oil burners
Just outside this figure, but very tempting, - Skoda Fabia vRS. Fun apparently.
Well within, more sensible - Skoda Fabia 1.9 TDI
Well within, cheap to run, Ford Focus 1.8 TDCi. Paintwork and ECU faults seem to be the main worries.

Petrol
Edge of budget and perhaps not so sensible, and parts can be expensive - Honda Civic 2.0 type S. Fun but the interior is not to all tastes.
Well within budget. Focus 1.8 Zetec spec. Paintwork problems seem to be the only great worry.

Right guys 'n' gals - here's your chance. I'll be road testing all the above if possible over the next few weeks - unless there is any input to say "AVOID". Feel free to add any to the list, and if possible I'll test any other suggestions as well. All input gratefully received. Badge is unimportant, I'm trying to get a mix of frugality with some fun (aren't we all...
), and I now respectfully bow down before the combined knowledge of this forum.
 

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I would look at it another way. You have the Saab, it works. You can sell it and get, maybe, as much as £3000.

You have £6000 to spend. So, if you keep the Saab you have at least £3000 in your pocket.

£3000 will buy a lot of fuel!!

Spend £6000 on another car. You have no money to spend on repairs and you will still have to buy fuel.

Say the Saab does 22 mpg in town on 95 octane. The diesels may do 35mpg under the same circumstances (the modern diesel doesn't like short cold journeys). A mile in the Saab costs about 18p. A mile in the diesel costs about 13p. So a saving of 5p/mile.

You will have to drive 60,000 miles to spend the £3000 in your pocket. And you haven't allowed for the newer car depreciating faster than the Saab.
 

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If you want to save money on petrol in the long run, they try a conversion to LPG.

It would cost about £1250 - £1500.

But again, this would only be of benefit if you did enough miles over the time you owned the car.

LPG is about 40p per litre instead of 87p, so you should save at least 50% of your fuel costs.

Here's a link to an LPG calculator:
http://www.lpgconversionsltd.co.uk/calc.html

If you average 30mpg and do 15,000 miles per annum, it would take 15months to repay the cost of a £1250 conversion if using the LPG and petrol prices as stated above.

This would increase to 22months payback time if you only did 10k miles per annum.

I'm still pondering over this, as I currently use T99 or V Power and I'm not keen on losing the extra ooomph, but if I'm clocking 18k miles per annum, I'll have saved the cost of the conversion within 11 months.

Shame I can't afford it :ph34r:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can't remember who it was, but someone once told me "Never be frightened of asking - you might look a fool - but you'll always end up wiser than you look".

So, thanks guys, interesting comments, and a few things I hadn't thought of. I'm not one to jump in to a decision - where money is concerned anyway.

Keep 'em coming, and I'll keep mulling... (there's a song lyric in there somewhere - must ring Morrissey
)
 

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If you want to save money on petrol in the long run, they try a conversion to LPG.

It would cost about £1250 - £1500.

But again, this would only be of benefit if you did enough miles over the time you owned the car.

LPG is about 40p per litre instead of 87p, so you should save at least 50% of your fuel costs.

Here's a link to an LPG calculator:
http://www.lpgconversionsltd.co.uk/calc.html

If you average 30mpg and do 15,000 miles per annum, it would take 15months to repay the cost of a £1250 conversion if using the LPG and petrol prices as stated above.

This would increase to 22months payback time if you only did 10k miles per annum.

I'm still pondering over this, as I currently use T99 or V Power and I'm not keen on losing the extra ooomph, but if I'm clocking 18k miles per annum, I'll have saved the cost of the conversion within 11 months.

Shame I can't afford it :ph34r:[/b]

I personally wouldn't go with LPG. I know others on here (Pugwash) have been happy with their conversions, but I had my old 9-5 converted and was never happy. In my case MPG dropped from 30 to 23, there was a slight loss of performance, and a lot of things started going wrong after the LPG was installed (Turbo went, problems with hesitation and idling etc etc). You won't get the conversion cost back when you're selling either.

I'd agree with keeping your 9-5. The grass usually isn't greener.

The Skoda Fabia does usually get good write up's - However I've got a 55 reg Skoda, though I'm not as impressed as the JD Power ratings suggest.

If you do want to get rid of the 9-5, I'd recommend the Seat Leon in petrol or diesel guise. My other half has a 1.4 petrol which has been perfect since new. Bit slow, but quite frugal for a petrol.
 

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If you're happy with it and it's reliable then keep it. The marginal cost saving on fuel will only be a few hundred per year - probably equivalent to 7 years worth for £3,000.

If you really want to change for something smaller then it really depends on your criteria.

The Civic makes excellent sense, the Type S is significantly cheaper than the Type R but still fun
Seat Leon, again fine but a bit of a coalhole cabin
Mk4 Golf is rubbish. Vastly over-rated. You'll be sorry if you do!
Audi A3 - plenty around but expensive for what you get
Focus - cheap & cheerful. Good drive but I don't like the interior
Mazda 323 1.8 if you want a Q-car
Skoda, OK
Astra - cheap & cheerful, naff interior on some models but go well
 

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I'm with the others - you're probably throwing money away. Whatever you buy at £6k, chances are that the real cost will be higher - no doubt something will go wrong costing money to fix. If you've spent money on the 9-5, and it's up to scratch, stay with it.

As an example, I have a 1999 9-5 saloon at 170,000 worth probably peanuts. My wife and I have recently inherited a significant sum of money, plenty to enable us to rush out and, if we wanted, buy a brand new top of the range motor. But what's the point - I've kept my 9-5 up to scratch and it has not missed a beat in 100,000 hard miles. What would I get for spending £20,000-odd ? OK, I could perhaps do with an estate but that's a different issue.

I think if you do the sums you'll find it's a false economy - and besides, it's the answer you really want isn't it ? :biggrin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm with the others - you're probably throwing money away. Whatever you buy at £6k, chances are that the real cost will be higher - no doubt something will go wrong costing money to fix. If you've spent money on the 9-5, and it's up to scratch, stay with it.

As an example, I have a 1999 9-5 saloon at 170,000 worth probably peanuts. My wife and I have recently inherited a significant sum of money, plenty to enable us to rush out and, if we wanted, buy a brand new top of the range motor. But what's the point - I've kept my 9-5 up to scratch and it has not missed a beat in 100,000 hard miles. What would I get for spending £20,000-odd ? OK, I could perhaps do with an estate but that's a different issue.

I think if you do the sums you'll find it's a false economy - and besides, it's the answer you really want isn't it ? :biggrin:[/b]
Thanks Mike and to all, Comical, Kev, Aeroadster, sgould, /john. Appreciated. :cool:

It looks like the kids are to be packed off to Porton Down for scientific experiments then. I'll mull the lpg option a little longer, but it looks like I'd need someone with a proven track record in handling Saabs. Then there's the potential bedding in and tweaking requiring further visits. It would have to be someone within an hours radius as present irksomestances are stretching the logistics for any greater distance.

Lpg not ruled out yet though.
 

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SWS, there's been a lot of talk about fuel costs, and you've picked up on the LPG possibility, but you don't actually mention that you'll be covering high mileages (unless I've missed something). Why bother with an expensive conversion & just live with what you have??
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
SWS, there's been a lot of talk about fuel costs, and you've picked up on the LPG possibility, but you don't actually mention that you'll be covering high mileages (unless I've missed something). Why bother with an expensive conversion & just live with what you have??[/b]
You're right Mike - I didn't let on, but I should be doing no more than 10k mpa. I've sat down and run through the financials. My calculations say that the lpg option won't pay for itself until well into a third year, at around the 30 months point.

At higher mileages it would look more attractive. I've calculated at a £1700 conversion cost. Local lpg averages 42p per litre, the cheapest being 40p. Petrol comes at around 86p on average. Mpg figures average 25mpg over a year.

I would have to take a gamble that the disparity between lpg and petrol will only increase over time, and that any conversion was satisfactory. Then there are the added costs of having an additional system serviced and maintained - although I can't see that being too much. It does all look a bit marginal to me.
 
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