Go forth and haggle
As September draws to a close, now is a good time to hit dealerships and press hard for a cracking deal.
New-car dealers will have high sales targets to hit this month, with the arrival of the new ‘57’-reg cars, and now’s the time they’ll have to drop prices to meet them.
It’s a good time to shop for used cars, too, as many owners will be trading in their old motors this month. As trade supply improves, prices are forced down. With plenty of cars to choose from, you can afford to be picky, and very hard-nosed in your negotiations. Don’t forget you can check the latest new and used-car prices (for cars up to eight years old) by logging in to the Which? Car Buying Guide.
Market watch – new and used deals
The Skoda Octavia is good, no-nonsense family transport, especially in 1.9 diesel guise. We’ve spotted an 07-plate Ambiente hatchback with 5,000 miles at £12,500 this week. This is only around £2,100 less than list, but good value considering the prices being asked for very high mileage examples. Alternatively, Skoda is currently offering a free trim upgrade to Elegance if you buy this model new.
A pair of pre-reg deals caught our eye at Online Cars this week: more than £3,800 off 57-plate Ford S-Max 2.0-litre diesels with desirable X-pack, leather interior, and delivery miles only. This equates to one of the best family cars currently on sale, with a sensible engine, for £23,576. Saab 9-3s are also available with various trim levels, engines and body styles – including convertible – with discounts of up £5,149.
AutoeBid is a ‘reverse auction’ website, where car dealers compete to offer you the biggest discount on your chosen vehicle. Currently it’s guaranteeing you’ll secure at least £4,100 off BMW’s accomplished 330d, but the way the site works means you may pay even less.
Hyundai’s i30 goes green
The recently launched Hyundai i30 goes green in January, when an 89bhp version of its 1.6-litre diesel becomes available. The resulting 119g/km CO2 emissions cuts the cost of annual taxation from £115 to £35, and will make the i30 exempt from the London Congestion Charge, should proposed legislation changes go ahead.
Unlike environmentally friendly family hatchbacks from other brands, the i30 does without any special modifications to the aerodynamics, gear ratios, tyres or – crucially – fitted equipment. The only visual difference to the regular car is green ‘i’ badging. It includes a diesel particulate filter.
Performance and fuel economy figures have not yet been announced. The new model is expected to cost less than £13,000, undercutting eco-friendly rivals on price as well as standard kit.
Audi A4 Cabriolet S line Special Edition
A special edition Audi A4 Cabriolet is now available to order.
Based on the 2.0-litre turbo petrol S line, it includes £2,035 in extra equipment over the standard car. This comprises unique 18-inch wheels, sports suspension (with or without S line body-styling), xenon headlights, upgraded Bose stereo with autochanger, parking sensors and aluminium pedals. The on-the-road cost is £29,990 – compared with £30,260 for the regular S line.
The A4 Cabriolet is due to be replaced next year, but the current car remains stylish and desirable. The wheels and suspension will make for a harsh ride, however, so make sure you arrange a test drive in something equivalent, such as BMW’s 3 Series convertible or Saab’s 9-3 drop-top.
Ford summer promotions ending soon
You’ve got until the end of September to take advantage of Ford’s summer promotions.
Highlights include Zetec Climate editions of the Ka, Fiesta, Focus and Fusion. Each model features free equipment upgrades – including alloy wheels – and each one comes with air conditioning as standard.
Such little luxuries should make the vehicle more pleasant to own, and will help attract buyers when you decide to sell it on. Prices range from £7,495 for the Ka to £12,995 for the Focus.
Also on offer is the new Mondeo. Buy the Zetec from £16,995 and get a ‘Sport pack’, with 17-inch alloys, sports suspension and rear spoiler, for free.
Worst year ever for used convertible values
We’ve previously speculated that now’s a good time to buy a convertible, given the weather we’ve been having this year. But Eurotaxglass – the company behind Glass’s Guide to Used Car Values – has gone even further, claiming it’s the ‘worst year in living memory for used convertible values’.
Several reasons are cited. The weather’s one, but there’s also the impact of rising new sales – record levels in 2004 means the number of three-year old convertibles hitting the second-hand market are higher than ever before.
And there are now far more models to choose from – 531 in 2006, compared to 337 in 2003; the greater the choice, the bigger the pressure on prices.
As a result, used prices may fall to unprecedented lows this autumn, and are unlikely to recover to the same extent as usual next spring. Great news for buyers; just remember this also means lower resale values, so look for popular cars with lots of options to stand the best chance of getting a good return.
Citroën’s September cashback offers
Citroën currently has cashback offers on virtually its entire range.
Discounts vary between £1,135 off selected C1s to £4,995 off the Xsara Picasso 1.6 petrol Desire – making the latter £9,995. To get the full amount you may be required to part-exchange your old car, but Citroën is offering a guaranteed trade-in.
The only cars not included are the C4 Picasso and Grand Picasso MPVs – though these are available with zero percent finance deals – and the new C-Crosser SUV.
Zero percent finance is also available on selected C3, C4, C5 and C8 models, and if you reserve your car online you get a free £250 accessory voucher when you buy. The deals end 30 September.
Want to know more?
Don’t forget, for up-to-the minute details of new and used cars, and current selling prices, all Which? members can log into the Car Buying Guide. There, you will also find our in-depth test-drive reports and reliability information on hundreds of different models.