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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Mar 2001

    Default car buying these days...


    I'm getting worried that my trusty old Polo may be giving up the ghost. On our trip to Belgium, it managed fantastically on the German highways (140 kph no problem, at 6.5l/100km), but I had to add oil... twice... After the oil light went on, I added a litre and less than 1000km later it went on again. It is 100% certain that it is not leaking oil and there are no visible leaks around the engine (quick look by the guy at the garage where I got a new oil bottle) so it must be burning it. There is a chance it is the PCV valve, which would be an easy fix, but if it is not that it may spell the end as finding which gasket/seal is causing it will be hell. I'll schedule a meeting with the garage soon to find out. I also have the feeling the thermostat of the airco is on the fritz...

    But I've been wondering what to get now, and it seems problematic. We are not in a situation to get an electric:
    • no ability to charge at home (apartment in city centre without garage, no garages available at all), public charging points quite far away (and they are slow chargers);
    • regular periods of 7+ days of non-usage due to alternating remote work (car is then parked outside: in winter in temperature below -20°C, in summer above +30°C; so that will just waste energy in battery heating/cooling and lower the available range),
    • we normally have a 20 km commute but with regular 300km+ trips for work and even longer ones for leisure (considering a 2x600km city trip in September and again scheduled a combined city-work trip of 2x1400km in October). Sometimes also the work trips have very short notice ("tomorrow meeting 300 km away").

    Important aspects for me are: automatic gearbox, comfortable seats, quiet highway driving (140 kph), automatic air-conditioning. As far as I've found, cars are now so stuffed with electronics - some mandatory, some as sales points - that things relating to comfort are a bit pushed back and moved to options packages to keep the base price attractive. Now you have to move to higher trim levels to get acoustic isolation (Mitsubishi), comfort seats (Volkswagen), or non-manual airco ... Small cars are relatively very expensive and even more basic, to give an idea: within 2000 euro difference, I can get Volkswagens from Polo, Golf, T-Cross, T-Roc to even Passat (they would not be equally rich equipped, but would have the options I care about: bigger models tend to have more comfortable basic trim). In many makes, lower trims cannot be combined with automatic gearboxes, especially in small cars.

    Second worry is the growing presence of low emission zones and other restrictions - Poland is a bit behind with that, but Germany and Belgium are not - so that makes me a bit weary of older second hand cars (i.e. pre Euro5 norm, 2009) as I fear they will be restricted sooner rather than later. A young second hand car at the moment does not seem cheap enough to justify it over a new car... or you have to go some luxury make but then it still matches the price of a new regular make (some 4-5 year old Jaguars can be found at the price of a new Golf)... So if I'm looking at a new car, such a thing matters to me (ideally would be current Euro 6d, since 2021, to maximise it usage possibilities and potential resale value).

    Weird times ahead... First let's see if the oil problem is easily solved...
    Last edited by VJ; 13th August 2021 at 03:18.
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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