Over the last six weeks I must have seen over thirty different cars all lined up for the possible title of our Bargain of The Week. A friend of mine the other day said it must be an easy task especially as all you need to do is sit in front of the laptop and scour the internet. There is a bit of truth in that, but he forgot about the amount of cars I go to see on my, well, not so shortlist. If they don’t make the grade then it’s onto the next. With deadlines looming trying to make a decision, as I’ve said before, is much harder than you think especially as I get too tempted and want to buy all of them – as any male will admit to. A few weeks ago I set myself a personal challenge. Not for this feature mind, but a new set of family wheels was overdue. If you’re a regular to BOTW you’ll know that I parted with £5,400 and bought a 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX 5 door.
Having had it for over two weeks now, I had an idea; if you take our advice and perhaps plunge for any of our selection what would the ownership experience actually be like? Like my friend said, it’s all well and good spending the time finding a suitable candidate, but what happens afterwards?
OK so the family Impreza WRX isn’t just an ordinary car, but as I now own one I’m going to keep you updated and report on my personal ownership experience. Yes, a first-hand account of actually running a Bargain of The Week with all the joys and pitfalls along the way. Have I made the right decision, how much is it going to cost me to run, and will it actually make me money rather than lose value once our economic situation peters out? Some of the questions I’ll be asking myself, and truth be told, some of the questions her indoors has already grilled me with knowing that I haven’t bought what she considers to be a sensible car. What does she know? So, at the end of January the deal was done and a week later I picked up the Impreza WRX. On the way home the odometer clicked round to 80,000 miles exactly. What a perfect way to start the Captains log.
The questions I get asked a lot now are: “Blimey that must cost a fortune to run” and “I bet that drinks the fuel”. I must admit these were on my mind for roughly five seconds even back on the initial test drive, but to be honest my previous run-a-round, a Vauxhall Vectra V6, wasn’t really that economical anyway, so getting a 260bhp Subaru didn’t cloud my egotistical decision.
Week one: The initial ¼ of a tank left in there for me lasted sixty miles as I had to explore the 2.0-litre turbocharged flat-four for experimental reasons, you understand. Still, not bad as you can literally watch the fuel gauge drop inch by inch as you push the pedal further into the carpet! With the fuel reserve light illuminated my first trip to the petrol station loomed. Without an onboard trip computer to do the maths for me, £44.00 filled the Impreza to the brim and I’ve guessed from the pump readout that it must have a 45 litre tank, so with a C grade in GCSE maths I reckon it’s good for 280 miles, roughly the same as the Vectra.
Insurance. I can tell what people are going to ask me even before they propose a question, and insurance is in the top three. At, ahem, 34, the Vectra fully comp was £34.00 per month and that was with a full Green Flag recovery package and courtesy car if needed. The Impreza surprisingly only bumped my payments up by £20 more per month, much less than I was expecting and really competitive for a group 20 insurance rated car. Luckily it already had a Tracker fitted (an insurance requirement) and with a quick call to HQ I was put onto their system and had the unit activated, albeit with the £120 Retrieve package subscription fee on top. They also booked in one of their engineers to come out to test the unit, which is a requirement once a new owner had been registered.
Throwing the rule book out of the window, the fuel only lasted 180 miles as I’ve been getting used to the power and mind blowing performance. It’s hard not to, especially with a World Rally pedigree to its name. Well, that’s my excuse anyway. A call to my local Subaru dealer to find out if there are any horror stories is always a good start and something I should have done before hand. Thankfully it sounds pretty much stress free apart from the rear suspension bushes wearing, but nothing seems to be knocking just yet and I’m now even smugger as the other half was expecting me to come home and admit defeat.
With just over £90 worth of fuel (two tanks), 289 miles, the tracker subscription fee, monthly insurance direct debit and a Kit Kat chunky in week one, my expenses so far have been £262.00. Hopefully that will even out as I ease up on exploiting those horses and don’t have to budget in the Tracker subscription fee for another eleven months. I also have two long trips planned for the end of February; One to Shropshire and the other to Weymouth . At least my maths will improve with the fuel consumption. Not sure about the wallet, though.