I just bought a car. Well, subject to a mechanic giving it a going-over.

Holden Astra CD TS, 2000 hatchback “Olympic edition”. Which means it’s from two Olympics ago, and that it has a few little extras like fog lights. Silver, electric windows, airbags, ABS, CD player, alloy wheels (like I care), remote locking.

Perhaps not the ultimate in motoring, but a nice little car that’ll cut my petrol consumption by about a quarter, and heaps nicer (and zoomier) than the old beast, if a little less roomy inside. And at a price which is reasonable given how little driving I do.

After signing the paperwork and leaving, some other people were looking at it, a tad disappointed. Seems I beat them to it by mere minutes.

Will probably pick it up next week. Pics later.

The only catch is no trade-in. Anybody want to buy a 15-year-old Magna?

PS. 5-door, manual, from a dealer.

Cars again

The solar hot water upgrade meant I postponed the car upgrade for a few weeks. But I’ve been looking at what I might get.

My current car, the aging and increasingly unreliable ’93 Magna, has a theoretical City consumption of 10 litres per 100km. Although I don’t drive much, downsizing should reduce consumption a little bit.

Despite GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz’s remarks about global warming being “a total crock of s***”, following some comments on one of my previous posts, I’m quite enamoured of the Holden Astra. Evidently the 1998-2005 models are a good buy: good build quality (good things come out of Belgium — eg Tintin, chocolate, and the Mannekin Pis), good safety rating, and the 4 or 5-door models are probably about the size I’m looking for. I like the cut of its jib. Fuel consumption is 8 to 8.5 litres per 100km, depending on manual or auto.

Other possibilities:

  • VW Golf — my sister’s buying one, and I think she’d like us to drive twin cars… I don’t doubt it’d be nice, but I think it’d be more money than I’m keen on spending for my low-distance driving — one review says you might as well buy an Astra! — 8 to 9.5 litres per 100 km
  • Ford Focus — I quite like the styling, but the safer late-model versions probably aren’t in my price range. Yes they sponsor my footy team, but I don’t feel strong loyalty because of it — 9 to 9.5 litres per 100 km
  • Mazda 3 — only average safety rating — 9 to 10 litres per 100km, so no big saving on fuel.
  • A Peugot 307 or a Mercedes A-series would both be nice, but are probably too expensive for me, for anything decent.
  • Prius — like the one I’ve driven, but cost can’t be justified for me, unless somebody’s giving me a $30K contribution towards it.

I’ve also been told to consider buying an auto instead of a manual. I prefer manuals (even if the first hill start I’d done in ages last weekend scared me half to death), but it’s been suggested to me that an auto may be better suited maintenance-wise to driving short distances. Anybody got any opinions on that? Most of the Astras out there are manual.

Meanwhile, I’ve found that Ultratune Roadside Premium Assist is only available to vehicles less than 12 years old. 247 Road Services doesn’t seem to have that restriction, but maybe I’ll leave it until the upgrade… it’ll be an extra impetus to get on with it.