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New cars and hot deals, 12th October 2007

Save on Nissans and get a great deal on a Golf GTI

Market watch – new and used deals

Now that the 57-plate rush has died off a bit there are deals all over the place, both with online retailers and with the dealers. Here are some that caught our eye.

Golf GTI handles well

GTI excels for B-road blasts

VW’s Golf GTI remains one of the top hot hatches on the market. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get deals, as a quick online search reveals. With official list prices starting at £20,607, the £17,299 three-door at Motorpoint looks exceptional value, particularly as metallic paint is standard.

The cars are right-hand-drive imports (from the Netherlands), but are said to be ‘European spec’, broadly similar to UK spec; 17-inch alloys, CD player and climate control are standard. Extremely tempting, provided you check exact features against a UK spec sheet, and bear in mind the standard EU warranty is two years, not the UK’s three. Five-door versions are also available, for £17,699.

Ford Focus deals galore

Ford Focus deals galore

Looking for a sensible family hatch? A Ford Focus 1.6i Ghia would do the trick nicely and right now Broadspeed has them for £12,999, a saving of £2,796 over the list price. But Motorpoint is even better, offering the same car for just £11,799. And with the Focus’ impending facelift at the end of the year, expect the deals to get even better as Ford shifts the last of the current cars.

Deals aren’t restricted to everyday cars either – as, once again, Motorpoint weighs in with some fantastic deals on VW Touareg off-roaders. If you fancy saving an enormous £10,000 on the list price, have a look at Motorpoint’s delivery mileage 3.2 V6 automatics, for just £25,999. The big, bad 4×4-look isn’t to all tastes but at this price the VW is quite a steal.


Autumn offers from Nissan

If you’re in the market for a snazzy supermini or small MPV your local Nissan dealership could be worth a visit. In an effort to brighten the impending autumnal gloom it has announced £800 off the on-the-road price of its mid-range Micra Acenta.

For just £7,995 you get Bluetooth integration for hands-free phone use, air-con, electric mirrors and front windows and a jack socket to plug your MP3 player into the six-speaker stereo system.

Stump up another £200 to go to Acenta+ level and you get 15-inch alloy wheels too. With group two insurance on 1.2 models this represents a great first car for younger drivers with just the kind of features that will appeal to this age bracket.

Nissan Note

Nissan Note offered with 0 per cent finance

Families looking for a quality mini MPV will also be interested to hear about deals on the Note. Zero per cent finance over three years (with a 30 per cent deposit) on Acenta and Acenta R models represents a very attractive deal.

Again, Bluetooth compatibility and MP3 connection are part of the package, with the R model adding privacy glass and 16-inch alloys as part of the deal. Prices start from £11,340 for the Acenta and £11,840 for the Acenta R.


VW offers dealer service incentive

VW Golf

VW is offering to match ‘like for like’ servicing prices at independent garages

You don’t have to have your car serviced at a main dealer to protect your warranty any more. And as a result many motorists are using independent garages to reap big savings when having their car serviced.

But VW wants to overturn the belief that main dealers are always more expensive than independents and is, seemingly, putting its money where its mouth is.

Under a new scheme called ‘A competitive price. Promise.’ if you get a cheaper service quote from an independent garage your VW dealer will match it, providing it is a like-for-like job and the garage uses official VW parts.

All you have to do is return to the dealership with the rival quote in writing and the service desk will charge you the same amount. The offer is open until the end of the year but VW is hoping it will encourage more owners back into the fold and keep more of its cars within its retail network.

‘When it comes to servicing the general cliché is that all franchised network outlets are more expensive than independent garages,’ says VW aftersales marketing manager Paul Lougher-Smith. ‘At Volkswagen we are so confident in our prices being competitive that we’re giving Volkswagen owners of any age of vehicle the chance to shop around and then demand the same price from their Volkswagen retailer.’

But Rikki Johnston of Independent VW Servicing is confident independent concerns such as his will maintain a competitive advantage. ‘Our labour rate is £52.50 plus Vat, whereas the local dealer is £75 plus Vat,’ he says. ‘We can also offer a more personal service. Our customers can talk directly with the technician who is going to work on their car, rather than have to wait for the staff at the service desk to relay messages back and forth.’

The real winners are, of course, VW drivers who will now be able to shop around and choose the service centre that best suits their needs without any financial penalty.


Renault previews new Grand Modus

Renault Grand Modus

New Modus and Grand Modus will be subtly restyled

Renault’s Modus is currently one of our favourite mini MPVs. It boasts a five-star Euro NCAP occupant protection score and offers, for prices equivalent to a decent-spec Clio supermini, appreciable extra space and versatility.

However, if there’s one area we, and owners, criticise, it’s the boot. Indeed, with the sliding rear seat set in its rearmost position, it offers a scant 190-litre capacity. Even worse, by sliding inwards and rearwards, the Modus can then seat only two.

Solution? The Grand Modus, which arrives in February 2008 alongside a facelifted standard Modus. With a 93mm longer wheelbase and 67mm extra rear overhang (total length is now 4,034mm, 160mm more than the standard car), the boot is both bigger and less dependent on compromise from rear passengers.

Renault Grand Modus

Grand Modus will have a much bigger boot

The rear seat is also now a three-seat 60/40 split-folding set-up, for greater flexibility, while the Modus gains Scénic-style underfloor cubbies. Renault has deleted the ‘two seat’ sliding option, as legroom is now ample without it (and not many buyers specified it, anyway).

This means the standard boot size is now a commodious 305 litres, which expands to 410 litres with the rear seat slid forward, and 1,454 litres with the seats down (and luggage piled to the roof). By means of comparison, a Volvo V70 estate has a 1,600-litre maximum capacity. No word yet on pricing, but a Grand Scénic, for example, is £700 more than a standard version. The current Modus range starts from £9,075.


Affordable motoring from Proton

Proton Gen-2

Limited edition Gen-2 is cheaps as chips

Badge snobs may turn up their noses but if you have an eye for a good deal or are looking for an affordable route into a new car you could take a look at Proton.

A new limited edition Gen-2 (mid-sized hatchback) slices £1,000 off the already keen on-the-road price, starting from £7,995 for the 1.3 petrol and £8,595 for the 1.6.

15-inch alloys, air-con, remote central locking and a Blaupunkt CD player are all included in the price. And for another £225 you can add an upgrade pack comprising front foglights and a rear spoiler, halving the usual cost of these additional features.

You don’t need a wedge of money up front to enjoy this offer either. With a deposit of just £150 you could drive away a brand new Gen-2 LE and pay £150 per month over five years at an APR of just 5.9 per cent. Motoring doesn’t come much more affordable!


MPG marathon promotes cheaper, greener driving

Mazda 3 MPS at the start line

Drivers compete to eke out fuel in the MPG marathon.

We all know official miles per gallon (mpg) ratings don’t necessarily reflect those recorded in real world driving – and rarely do we achieve them in Which? road tests.

But the recent AA/ALD Automotive MPG Marathon shows that with careful driving you can actually exceed the official figures by a significant amount. And with fuel prices soaring to more than £1/litre after recent duty hikes all drivers stand to benefit.

Sixty competitors took part in the event in a wide variety of vehicles, with the eventual winners proving that hot hatches don’t necessarily have to be gas guzzlers.

Driving a 256bhp Mazda 3 MPS, motoring writer Sue Cooke and daughter Joanne managed to improve on the official fuel consumption figure of 29.1mpg by almost 49per cent, the biggest gain over an official fuel consumption figure in the event’s five-year history.

‘Every driver has the opportunity to save on fuel costs,’ said Cooke after celebrating her win. ‘It takes a lot more concentration and skill but forward planning and driving progressively are the actual keys to success. By looking well ahead, avoiding harsh braking or sharp acceleration and the optimum use of gears, driving is actually a lot more enjoyable.’


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.

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