Car Buyer's Guide: How I chose my new car
We usually receive emails from buyers asking for advice before they make the commitment to purchase, but this was a little different. Jon told us he had already bought a new Audi A3 Sportback and asked for our thoughts on his choice.
The decision was already made, so our opinions counted for little really. He had done his homework and picked a vehicle that he believed fulfilled his wants and needs.
So we emailed him back and out of interest simply asked what it was about the Audi that clinched the deal. Below is a condensed version of our emails:
Well, after months of pondering, I bought a new Audi A3 Sportback to replace the VW Golf GTI, which had 89,000 kms on the clock.
What is it about the European brands like VW and Audi that you like? Not a criticism about your choice, just wondering what got you over the line. Did you look at other brands and which ones and what swayed you away from them?
Maybe I’m just a car snob (certainly a lot of colleagues who aren’t interested in cars have called me that) but I’ve always liked Audis. I had an A4 a few years ago that I really liked, especially after three Passats. I really like their simple and straightforward interiors, especially in the A3.
In contrast, I sit in other vehicles and am confronted by too much cheap bling at times.
I also acknowledge feedback from tyre company people and others who say European cars are not suited to NZ roads, but I still think they are a better drive than most non-European cars, all the same.
Having said that, I must say I have sampled a hell of a lot of excellent Japanese and Korean cars in recent times.
For example, the Corolla Levin is a far better car to drive now compared to previous generations in my book, and I was also impressed by the Kia Sorento, a model I didn’t anticipate would drive as well as it does, plus the all-round driveability of the Ford Focus.
As you can see, I have tried a variety of different makes and models.
My A3 is the basic 1.4 Sportback hatch model.
They tried to sell me up to an RS version but I’m stretching the budget as it is.
Only stipulation I had was it couldn’t be black and it had to have a rear-view camera, which happens to come with GPS.
It also comes with electric seats as an option but I told them I wasn’t paying $800 for something I would never use in the “winterless” north, so they dropped that try-on straight away.
A friend has a four-door Mini Cooper, which I’ve driven north a couple of times and I really like, but the A3 has more room in the back. I’ve got a large section and am often carting compost etc from the garden centre so it was always going to be a hatchback.
I’ve also driven the latest Golf and although it is more economical, has better visibility and drives well, it didn’t make the leap forward I was expecting. Also, five years with the same model is a long time, so a change was called for.
Jon has done well, but just as importantly, it sounds like the salesperson has listened to his exact needs and as a result has clinched a sale. Wins all round, then.
Stay in touch and please provide regular updates on how the A3 is going.