James Ruppert: why hire a car when you can buy?


Volkswagen Phaeton, anyone? A mate of mine bought one for some continental trips that are now on hold and has been bowled over by how good it is. Worth a go, then, which is why a 2009 3.0 TDI V6 with less than 100k miles and a ton of service receipts looks good at £3995. I did find some real cheapies but better to pay a decent amount for a proper example.

That’s my favourite automotive category and it is crawling with Bangernomics possibilities, but then so is every other one – be it estate, sports car or supermini. This isn’t a fun time, but searching for cheap cars always is.

What we almost bought this week

SAAB 9-5 2.3 T AERO: This was a left-field exec choice that didn’t quite match its German rivals for dynamics but was still a comfortable, quick and accomplished choice of vehicle for high-mileage sales reps. The 130,000 miles this example has covered in its 13 years is testament to that. And a ridiculously low price of £1000 suggests it’s time to snap one up.

Tales from Ruppert’s Garage

Volkswagen Golf, 62,250 miles: One of the least-used vehicles around the Bangernomics compound has been my daughter’s Golf, the VW being denied its big, daily commute. Lockdown, and an extra pair of hands, has meant everything else around here is rather cleaner than before (obviously it isn’t me getting out the bucket and sponge). I do have before-and-after Lorry images that are spectacular. Meanwhile, the designated on-site car cleaner has been dealing with the extremely minor paint chips that my old eyes can barely see. The Halfords touch-up stick is a three-stage process and the one-woman jury remains out on just how good it is.

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