Sunday, 1 February 2015

Time for some car shopping.

My Motability contract is coming to an end soon, so the last couple of months have been spent car shopping. This is my third Motability car and once again I get to shop with a friend whose contract ends around the same time - we ordered our first cars together 6 years ago, accompanied by two small boys, walking in saying "we'll have one of those in red and one of those in grey". They're not so small now.

I started my spreadsheet about 3 months ago, having decided on my essentials: cruise control, automatic (I can't manage a clutch), diesel (more economical for the driving I do), some way of plugging in an iPhone or iPod to play music and finally parking sensors. It can be a bit tight in our (shared) driveway, with 4 cars, a transit van and a motorbike. I had a hire car with "beeps" last year and was won over.

That narrowed it down a bit and I started to compare advance payments, fuel economy and features. The arrival of the wheelchair added a criteria - I needed to be able to fit it in the boot (trunk) without taking the wheels off. Whilst it's OK occasionally, on a weekend day when we're going from place to place, often in the rain, doing it every time gets old, quick! So whilst it does fit in my existing car, with the wheels off, I need something bigger.

A few cars went on and off the list but the final shortlist was the Ford Grand C Max, Citroen C4 Piccaso, the Grand C4 Picasso, the Peugeot 3008 and the 5008. A very late addition was the Ford Kuga (aka Escape), which we discovered would fit my wheelchair wheels on and was cool. As my friend (with two kids and a bigger wheelchair) said "someone needs to have a cool car, not a bus or a van!"

In the end, the fuel economy on it wasn't as good and the advance payment (deposit) was high for one with all the features I wanted. In the end, low advance payments and good features meant Peugeot won out and it was down to two cars - the 3008 or the 5008. There's 17cm different in length and two extra seats on the 5008 (though the wheelchair means I couldn't really ever use both). Time for a comparison.  I also really like the semi-automatic gearbox the Peugeots and Citroens have - my last two cars (Grand C4 Picasso and latterly a 308)  have both been semi-automatics.  I'm also clearly a fan of French cars - having owned 2 Peugeots and 5 Citroens.

5008 - more space to the side, but the extra seats folded into the floor makes it higher, so the chair is above the level of the back seat

3008 - the chair fits in, with the back folded, under the parcel shelf. There's marginally less room beside it - the space is narrower, but it's also taller. We have a winner.

I ordered it on Friday, need to go in to do the paperwork one evening this week and it should be here in a few weeks. I've requested an early changeover, if it arrives early, which Motability have approved on the grounds that I'm having to take the wheels off to get my chair in my current car. It will be Shark Grey - a boring colour but one of the three options with the nearest delivery date. It'll look a bit like this.

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