Market watch – new and used deals
Drive the Deal has a number of new and unregistered specials available at the moment, with highlights including a choice of Fiat Panda diesels with air conditioning at £6,585 (over £1,800 off), and Suzuki Grand Vitaras from £15,779 (over £4,400 off).
And this caught our eye: a Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec hatchback with climate pack for £11,023 – a substantial £4,000 less than list.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer a roomier car with a diesel engine, Jamjar Cars has nearly-new Focus Zetec 1.6 TDCI estates, again with the climate pack, for £11,800. That’s a depreciation-busting £5,500 saving compared to buying brand new.
Fancy something a little sportier? Carcraft has a selection of ‘06’-plate Seat Leon 2.0-litre diesels, in Stylance or Sport trim. Prices start at £11,799 – but £12,299 for an 8,000-mile example strikes us as being the best deal.
Fiat ‘repositions’ Bravo range, adds new engine
Fiat is adding a new engine to its Bravo family hatchback line in October. It’s a 120bhp version of the existing 150bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol, and is intended to compete with rivals’ 1.6-litre petrol engines.
The 1.4 T-Jet 120, as the engine is officially known, is available in three guises: base-level Active at £12,895 (£600 more than the entry-level 90bhp 1.4); mid-level Active Sport at £13,595; and top-level Dynamic at £13,995. Performance and environmental credentials are amongst the best in class.
At the same time, Fiat is increasing the Bravo’s price (‘repositioning’ in marketing-speak) by £500 across the range (with the exception of the base 1.4 model). Fiat claims its actions reflect the end of its launch discount which favoured early adopters of the Bravo. Ultimately it shouldn’t affect the price you pay for your Bravo – we found savings of up to £1,500 for brand-new Bravos online after a quick Google search.
Citroën debuts ‘green’ hot hatch
Citroën is introducing a more environmentally friendly version of its C2 VTS junior hot hatch.
Powered by a 108bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine, it claims an average of over 60mpg, produces a low 119g/km of CO2, yet also does 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds – on par with rival petrol ‘warm hatchbacks’. Top speed is 110mph, but more relevant in everyday driving is the substantial 192lb ft of torque available at a low 2,000rpm – as much as a Mini Cooper S on overboost, and 85 per cent up on the petrol C2 VTS.
Standard retail price is £13,400. Citroën’s current cashback deals bring this down to £10,995. But you’ll have to move fast, as the offer ends 30th September.
New ‘World Series by Renault’ Clio Sport
News that Renault is planning a cut-price special edition version of the RenaultSport Clio 197 should be well received by enthusiasts. Based on the current car, but with luxuries like air conditioning and electric mirrors relegated to the options list, the ‘World Series by Renault’ 197 is likely to cost around £15,380. The regular car costs £15,995.
Renault is also taking this opportunity to introduce a more motorway-friendly gearbox (the Clio 197 is somewhat frenetic out of town) which becomes standard fit. An optional, track-honed ‘Cup’ chassis will be available, too. The ‘World Series by Renault’ Clio 197 arrives here in October, four weeks ahead of the rest of Europe.
Honda Jazz replacement coming ‘soon’
The high-profile Tokyo motor show takes place next month, and amongst the first official announcements is that Honda is to show the all-new second generation Jazz.
This will be larger and even more versatile than the existing car (itself a Which? Best Buy supermini) but won’t be appearing in the UK until around 2009.
The bad news is that, even second-hand, it’s hard to find an outstanding deal. The Jazz holds its value well, and Honda tends to manage model changeovers well. Used prices could even increase with the introduction of the new Jazz; it happened with the previous Civic when its successor appeared.
The good news is that the current Jazz is well worth the money. It topped our reliability survey this year, it’s highly practical, and its design still looks fresh. Get hunting.
Chrysler cashback offers
September is nearly over, but there’s still time to take advantage of several manufacturer discount schemes. One such is Chrysler, which is offering up to £1,000 cashback, and other savings up to £2,100.
Cashback is available on any PT Cruiser hatchback, plus SE and LX versions of the Voyager MPV. Meanwhile, the usual premium to upgrade the fixed-roof PT Cruiser to a convertible has been dropped. This means as much as £2,100 off, resulting in prices starting at £14,580 – cheap for a soft-top, even one as aesthetically challenged as this one.
Chrysler offers distinctive design but lags behind rivals in many other areas, including reliability and safety. Even with these official discounts, you should never be afraid to haggle; it’s likely dealers will be keen to please before the onset of October.
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.