Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Driving School stuff.

Bye bye old fiesta. Hello new DS3.

The DS3 is a far better car. It would cost about £15,000 if I wanted to buy it, as opposed to about £11,000 if I'd wanted to buy a new Fiesta of the same spec that I've been using. This shows in the quality of the seats, the host of gadgets and features, and the overall finish and feel. It's faster, more frugal, and in the long term, will reduce my overheads, while potentially helping to recruit new pupils. It's a real head turner of a car. Distinctively styled, with a contrasting roof panel, and diamond cut alloy wheels. The back of the car is an expanse of tinted glass. This makes reversing easier than it was in the Fiesta, with it's rather stingy back windows. So far the reaction of those pupils that have had a chance to drive it has been overwhelmingly positive.

It's also meant a significant change of direction on a number of fronts. Sourcing the DS3 from the supplier of my fiesta would have meant an increase in my monthly payments. I shopped around, and dealt directly with Citroen, and will be paying slightly less each month for the DS3 than I did for the Fiesta.

I paid around £720 to insure the fiesta for the last 12 months. The year before, I was charged over £900 to insure the fiesta. Somehow, when I told the insurer that I'd had a better offer, they were somehow able to knock £250 off the price for me. this year though, I got a quote that was significantly cheaper than what I'd been paying. I contacted my existing insurer, but they were unable to offer a quote more than a month before my previous years insurance had ended. They let it be known that the DS3 is a group 15 insurance car, as opposed to the group 7 Fiesta, and that my premium was likely to rise significantly. They phoned me today, now that it's less than a month until my current deal ends, and were not happy to find I've signed up with someone else. Positively angry they were not to get a chance to offer me a quote.

The obvious question is, "If you're able to offer a quote on a much higher group car, for far less than you've charged me for this lower group one, why were you charging me so much for the lower group car in the first place, especially two years ago." They get as much as they can in return for as little as possible. Hurrah for capitalism.

Finally, the Fiesta was averaging in the low 40's for Miles per Gallon. The fiesta I had before that, the 1.6 Zetec S, had a larger engine, but was consistently more miserly with the fuel. Typically 47-48 MPG rather than the 41-42 I got with the 1.4 new shape fiesta. The DS3 lists it's MPG as up in the 70 MPG+  range, but that's a load of old bollocks.

It does have certain hybrid elements to it's powerplant. Some of the energy from braking is used to provide the power for much of the car's electrical and electronic systems for example. Also, as soon as you stop, take the car out of gear, and declutch, the engine switches itself off. It should remain off until such time as you press the clutch down again. This should save fuel that would otherwise be burned while we sit and talk about stuff. More advanced pupils will be able to use this feature at traffic lights too, if they feel confident enough to get themselves ready to go quickly enough.

So I'm anticipating a fuel consumption of perhaps slightly over 50 MPG. That's a 20% improvement, or to put it another way, my weekly fuel costs may go from perhaps £80 to as low as £60.

So in the longer term, we should be less vulnerable to lean times. For now, we're having to spend a lot of money. I had to pay a deposit and a couple of months hire charges in advance. That's close to £900. To get the insurance so cheaply, I'm paying it pretty much all at once. That's £600. Finally, there are costs to be borne from the return of the Fiesta. It had taken a few bumps and bangs while in my custody, and the cost of repair will be charged to me in due course. I have no idea how much this is likely to be, but I'm assuming as much as £1,000.

So there you go. I like this new car a lot. I will be casually parking it outside the 6th form college in early september and handing out my cards.

driving lessons in Wallasey? learn to drive in Wirral? driving instructor in Birkenhead?

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