Car people! Help! I have to buy a car THIS WEEK!

By the grace of the employment benefit gods, I am going to get a company car, but I have to buy it THIS WEEK. No time to really research much. Can you help? (Keep in mind these cars have to be available for sale in Ireland and often the car models have different names than they do in the US).

These are the parametres of my search:

Car has to be a new 2003

Car has to be diesel

Car has to be 4 door saloon or sedan

Manual OR automatic, but preferably manual

No sports cars, purple, orange or lime coloured cars :slight_smile:

Car can cost roughly 30,000 (a VW Passat or equivalent)

Since the car will be ferrying me for long journeys up and down the Irish coast, it has to be reliable and comfortable.

(This one is from my husband): It has to have the highest safety rating possible. I believe there is a rating system of 1-5 or something.

Please help!! What is the best deal? Which car will give me the nicest ride within the budget outlined above? Any of them better or worse than any others?

Here are some of the names of cars I’ve been given:

Citroen C2 or C3, I think

VW Passat

Nissan Primera

I don’t know much about diesels, but I know a number of folks who have VW diesels and really love 'em.

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Citroen in person here in the States.

Hi Annie,

When you say the budget is around 30,000, is that 30,000 Irish pounds? Sounds like you can afford a lot better than a VW to me, maybe the budget will stretch to a BMW, or even a Mercedes? Shoot, you could buy a Porche Boxter for that kind of money! If not, then go with the Passat. We’ve got the unleaded version, and it’s been rock-solid reliable for ages. It’s a very comfortable car on long journeys.

Bibliovore, Irish pounds are a thing of the past, we are a member of the Eurozone and so she means 30K euros, or yoyos, as we frivolousy often call them here.
Also, the ferociously unfair VRT - Vehicle Registration Tax puts something like 17% onto the price of all imported cars.
Which would be a patriotic protectionist policy if there was any such thing as an indigenous Irish car industry, but there ain’t. So, if you buy a BMW in the UK, the same model here costs 17% more.
FANTASTIC, isn’t it?

Anyway Anahita, as a big fan of German engineering, from that list I would go for the Passat.
However, you could get an Audi A3 1.6 for that money, depending on how many bells and whistles you wanted.
Nice car.

This is a useful site for checking prices here

Oops, forgot about the Euros, and I had no idea cars were so expensive in Ireland. I thought us UK Dopers had the monopoly on being ripped off!

But the Audi sounds nice.

From personal experience I recommend a Ford Fuck Us - they do a luxury 1.8d I believe, which is a nice poky engine. The Mondeo’s also a nice drive. However, with a budget like that you could also go for a nice Japanese executive motor (more reliable than Fords and cheaper to fix than German ones).

The Irish Car Buyers’ Guide is an excellent site for price comparison, reviews, finding dealers, etc. There’s a “New Car Search” function where you can put in all the specifications in your OP and get suggestions.

Ford have a new TDci engine now, which is essentially an HDI engine as found in the Peugeots and Citroëns. I have a Citroën Xsara with an HDI engine myself, it’s quite lovely - far more sophisticated than that so-called superior German engineering they put in Passats and Audis.

It’s a competitive price range, Anahita. I’d steer clear from the (aging) Passat model, as it is neither a 5 star car, nor is it very much fun to drive. It does the job, but it’s rather boring. Also, VW/Audi products are ridiculously overpriced - at least, they ARE over here.

Reliability is a factor: that rules out the Alfa 156, then. :slight_smile:

I’d recommend the Peugeot 406 HDI, but it -like the Passat- is showing its age.

The only 5 star car available in this class is the new Renault Laguna, as far as I know. It’s a lovely car, very comfortable, pretty well-built (the first batch had its problems, but they seem to be on top of those now), safest on the market, and available with a wide range of diesel engines, from 100 up to 150 BHP. A decent looker, too, unlike that boring German crap. :slight_smile:

A good outsider might be the Citroën C5, although it is rather ugly. But it’s safe (4.5 stars, I do believe), has great value for money, and is even more comfortable than the Laguna.

I don’t know what kind of car 30K buys in Ireland, but over here, that would mean a nicely spec’ed Laguna or C5. I think I’d lean towards the former, as the C5 just doesn’t have very satisfying looks. For pure driving characteristics, I’d take the Alfa 156 or the Peu 406, but they fail some of your other qualifications.

I’d say you need to take a test drive in a Laguna, stat.

Oh, the Ford Mondeo is indeed a pretty good car. Nice engines, good build quality. But to me, they look rather dull… like VW’s. Good cars, though, and they drive a lot better than VW’s. Just not what I’d pick, personally.

Ooh! Another thing. Don’t know if this is a pan-Euro thing, but over here, Citroën are now throwing VDO Dayton GPS systems into every C5 for a mere €299 extra. Complete bargain, as the system costs €2,200 or so in and of itself.

Coldie, you’re well spoiled from your Dutch vantage point. If you can believe it, new cars are even more expensive here than they are in “Rip-off Britain”. I’d bet that GPS would be a lot extra, as would anything else the fuckwads here can get away with: “you want a windscreen? You need to get our “Glass Pack” then. That’s only an extra €1,500, but if you get the deluxe model, we throw in the wheels too. No, I’m afraid that doesn’t include tyres. Can I interest you in our “Rubber Saver Option” though…?”

A GPS system in Ireland!!!

My new phone has GPS on it (Why?) and everyone I’ve shown it to here, in the office, - all seasoned cross country sales reps - has fallen over themselves to mock.
So I’m guessing GPS is not much use when you have to find the that boreen in the back of beyond “Third left after O’Sullivan’s Cross”.

Since I posted first here, this morning, one of the reps came in with his brand spanking new Laguna. It is very, very nice indeed.
Apart from the disconcerting fact that there is no key for it, which I’m sure you would get used to, and the smooth lady’s voice advising you to put on your seat belt and close the door, ditto.

jjimm, I just compared the prices for a Laguna 1.9 DCI 120 BHP: €30,200 in the Netherlands, €31,500 in Ireland. The gap isn’t that big. IIRC, the Danish are the worst off in Europe, car price wise. I’m sure our countries follow shortly thereafter…

Mental. That surprises me. Maybe it’s only in certain sectors.

A friend of mine from the UK got a brand new (right-hand drive!) 2 litre Impreza Turbo from Amsterdam last year, and he paid £14,000 (~€20,000). According to, the same car in Ireland is €39,995.

Or is there some tax scam on the go here?

Yup, a lot of Brits buy their cars here. When you deduct the so-called BPM (specialized motor tax, heaped on top of the import value of the vehicle), Dutch-imported cars are a steal - provided you don’t drive them in the Netherlands. Our bare prices are lower, but the on-the-street-price for the average Cloggie is, as you can see, about the same.

Tons of dealers in the Amsterdam and Rotterdam regions cater to UK customers, and deliver RHD Imprezas/Lancer Evos/M3’s by the dozen. Customer picks up the car, gets on the ferry, legally imports it into the UK, and saves huge amounts of money. Not a scam, certainly a loophole. Top Gear’s Quentin Wilson did an item on it a few years back.

Now I understand. I’m surprised that Brits, as EU citizens, are not required to pay the same tax as Johnny Dutchie though. Cool loophole nonetheless.

I’d love to take advantage of it myself, but the clever Irish government have the VRT to stop us doing that here. Presumably they’re taking kick-backs from car dealers (as well as every other fucking pressure group).

UK based friends of mine have done that by buying here.

As UK-ers the VRT is waived and the mighty sterling sucks up the euro and hey ho, off you go in your new Boxster, the ferry’s that way, sir, do call again.

No need to order it specially, or buy off any particular dealer, as in Contintal Europe, as we thoughtfully drive on the proper side of the road here!!

One guy I know came over every month for about a year, to buy a car for someone he knew. They all made a killing, especially on the top of the range models with all the extras.

Hmmm, I wonder what resale restrictions there are on that in the UK. Sounds quite a money-spinner…

For a nominal fee, I’ll get you the Impreza of your dreams. :smiley:

(The trading Dutchman in me awakens. Can’t help it!)

Did you get to test drive or buy anything yet, Annie?

Ok, so,…seems the C5 is it. Laguna was a bit out of my price range and so the only car that is physically here (or that can get physically here by Friday) is the C5.

Now it’s a colour called Mauritius Blue, and it’s a Level 2, which means it has slightly less ugly velour type stuff inside and a wooden dashboard instead of plastic. It also has a few extra perks.

The dealer (a little baby of a man) said he’d throw in a few extra car mats to close the deal. Bwahaha. Fear my negotiatin’ skillz! See, first I’m going to have him call up William K, the business director and tell him the car I’ve chosen, then I’m going to call him myself and say William will only go for it if he puts in a 6CD changer with remote and possibly one other juicy perk.

I must say, it was pretty fun to drive into dealers and pick whatever car I liked and have someone else pay for it. Unfortunately, because Galway is a small town, I had little choice, since I have to drive the car off the lot on Saturday. If I don’t, it’ll cost the company roughly a grand of dead money to hire a car for me for a week, which is just silly, when they have to buy me a car anyway.

Coldie, I don’t think the C5 is ugly, really, just so BIG. The only diesel Laguna they had was out of my price range, and to be honest, I wasn’t too impressed with it anyway. Seemed like an old man car to me, but maybe because that’s what my boss drives?

Anyway, today will be the big day where I decide if my greediness of wanting the Level 2 C5 will pay off or not!
See, all the other reps in the whole country (and in the north, too) are male, so I simply must get a nicer car than them since I don’t have enough testosterone to posture and the machismo to wave my arms around and act all important, like they do.

Yay. New car smell…

Congrats! The C5 is an excellent motor. Did you get the 110 BHP version (not even sure if they put the 90 BHP one, which is in my Xsara, in the C5 as well)? Mauritius Blue, that’s the very dark blue metallic one, right? Nice colour! Did you get the regular sedan, or the station wagon?

If you don’t think it’s ugly, then more power to ya - I personally think the rear of the car looks rather… disproportional, I guess. And yeah, it IS rather big, isn’t it?

You do know that’s plastic wood on that dash, don’t you? :slight_smile:

And you got mats? My word, we ought to ship you over to Gaza to sort that shit out over there. You’re obviously one rock hard negotiator. :smiley:

Drive safely now!