Cars and compromises?

Most people who know me realise that my current car is quite important to me. It is my ‘mid-life’ crisis car and goes fast and drinks petrol at an astonishing rate. Last week the £78 petrol bill was consumed in just 168 miles. Short journeys might be fast – but they are expensive. This ignores the tax – which is £604 per month as a benefit in kind.

Nissan GTR - dream car, nightmare tax

I have also ignored the green credentials of the car – which are around zero. Or just below.

Sadly the car is reaching the end of its (leased) life and I need to contemplate a replacement. This is not easy!

I am very lucky in that I can choose pretty much any car within reason.

Performance is important – but super-cars tend to have very high CO2 emissions and thus attract lots of tax for The Treasury. Low carbon emission cars tend to have performance times measured in minutes not seconds! Maybe except the Tesla – but you need a second mortgage for that.

Yesterday I started looking around. I visited a number of dealerships.

I carry some prejudices – good and bad. Nottingham Audi have been superb over the last three years – the staff are friendly and helpful. Nottingham BMW (same ownership) were appalling during the ownership of my last car. Mercedes I similarly struggle with – the level of arrogance in the main dealership is palpable – my wife has an A Class and we now have it serviced privately by the excellent MBNottingham.

Image is quite important in my business but the Jaguar leaves me feeling I need a pipe and smoking jacket – maybe this is unfair. But a Porsche definitely places you in a certain category – especially as the golf clubs need to occupy the front seat!

Which leaves a limited number of cars in reality. We found ourselves at Lexus. I had a Lexus IS200 sport back in 1999 – and loved it. I think I might surprise all of my colleagues (and some of my family) by actually looking at a Hybrid – but the RX450h does offer quite a lot. The level of luxury is high. But the emissions are low resulting in a tax bill monthly of around £260 – a massive £340 saving on what I pay now! But if I am honest the real attractions to this car are the ‘toys’ – Mark Levinson sound system, keyless entry, air suspension and very cool lighting….

And the compromise? Performance. Audi 0-60 = 4.6 secs; Lexus 7.8 secs. So, I will have to find an extra 3 seconds from somewhere!

I don’t have to make the decision immediately – but it looks like I may become a reluctant tree-hugger yet. Or will I?