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• Monday, November 09th, 2015

The Mazda MX-3 isn’t for everyone, new drivers coming through will no doubt find it foreign as things have come a long way since they were making my MX-3. The car was built from 1991 to 1998, so you have to put the work in when you are driving it. But it is exactly that that makes the drive so rewarding. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t annoying work, it is satisfying, like you alone are the conductor of a 108bhp heavy metal orchestra, unaided by machines and clever technology.Mazda_MX-3_front_20080820

Another thing I have grown to really appreciate after 7 years with my old second hand Mazda MX-3 is the reliability of the vehicle, it has barely ever had anything replaced and still uses the majority of parts it was originally built with. The only thing that does grind my gears is how much fuel it wades through, it is definitely a thirsty beast and I do sometimes fear for my wallets well-being.

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• Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Anybody fancy some useful car buying tips, well you’ve found the right place! As you know, I’ve been in the motor trade for years and I’ve done everything from servicing to selling motors. As you can imagine I picked up a fair few tricks of the trade over the years and they have served me well and got me an excellent deal on my second hand Jaguar XF, so I thought I would share some tips with you guys.

First and foremost, Make sure you know exactly what you want, if you go into a dealership with confidence that is backed up by knowledge and research the dealer will pick up on it, and will be less likely to try and talk you into doing something that you don’t really want. This means know your preferred trim and spec, don’t just go in and give a vague preference for say, a Lexus CT. Doing this will open you up for a variety of imposed “alternate options”, and before you know it you have a completely different car on your drive for a price that was outside of your budget.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to haggle! The dealer will always advertise their best case scenario price, and don’t be fooled if there is a higher number crossed out next to the buy it now price. Chances are that original crossed out price was crossed out before it even reached the showroom. For example, I’ve bought my daughter a Kia Ceed last year and the price tag read as follows: “£8,000 Now £7,500” and I ended up getting it for £6,250 after a bit of bartering. You might not get that lucky every time but it’s always worth a shot.

Finally try and target your purchase for the end of the month. I remember when I was a salesman I would be much more willing to give discounts towards the end of the month when I was trying to hit my targets, I practically gave away an Mg ZT back in 2003 to hit mine. So bare this valuable fact in mind when it comes to buying your next car. The salesman isn’t always the one who is in the position of power and I’m telling you that from experience.

Finally, there is always room for manoeuvre when you are buying your car. The forecourt is a battlefield and these days the buyer has more ammunition than ever before; thanks to the internet you can arrive with quotes and all sorts of different information which will put you in a stronger position to get a good deal. And don’t assume this is just on the cheaper cars, whether you’re after a second hand Mazda 3 or a Porsche, there are always deals to be made.

Jacks Tip: one of the best ways to fund your new vehicle purchase, if you can, is to sell your classic car – it could be worth thousands. You can cash in on it at any of these sites:

www.buyyourclassiccar.co.uk

www.buyclassiccars.co.uk 

www.wewillbuyclassiccars.co.uk 

www.buyerofclassiccars.co.uk

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• Thursday, July 10th, 2014

We love a good deal on a nice set of wheels, but usually this can require a fair bit of research work and luck. Now however thanks to the new Dacia Duster, you can get your hands on a brand new 4×4 for the miniscule price of £11,495, there is also a 2WD version which sits at £9,495 which is also incredible value. Due to the Dusters incredibly low listed prices, Dacia have got a strict policy whereby they don’t give out any discounts which is hardly surprising.

So we have established that the Dacia Duster is dirt cheap, but it is also actually a pretty sound car which ticks most, if not all of the essential boxes and usually for a car of the Dusters size you would be spending a good several thousand pounds more than you would with the Duster. Though the Dacia Duster is pretty new to UK streets, it has survived the test of time in other countries, countries which will have also provided a harsher environment in terms of road quality than that in the UK.

The only let down for us is that didn’t do too well in the NCAP crash tests and only managed an overall score of 3 out of 5. I guess there had to be something negative that would reflect with the Duster’s incredible value.

If you want a Duster but £9,495 is a little outside of your budget, it might be worth waiting to get a good deal on a second hand Dacia Duster in a couple of years when they are a bit more common in the Used Car Market. But as of yet, the majority of Dusters on the road belong to first time owners.

2014-Dacia-Duster

So there you have it, the Dacia Duster is one of the best cars there is when considering value for money alone. As far as deals for wheels go it is up there with the best, and it doesn’t look half bad either.

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• Monday, October 14th, 2013

It is inevitable that sales of 4x4s and SUVs will increase with winter just around the corner. They are defined by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) as dual-purpose vehicles, and with more snow seemingly falling every year, it is no surprise that they prove to be a popular purchase as the coldest months approach.

The SMMT has put together a list of the bestselling 4x4s so far this year, here are the top five.

 

5. Audi Q3
The baby model in Audi’s range of premium 4x4s, the Q3 represents a response to increased demand for small crossovers. Its success has no doubt been largely down its versatility, offering sound performance and a plush interior – all under the roof of a typically stylish exterior. The Audi Q3 starts from £25,270.

 

4. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is practical, reliable and affordable. There’s acres of space inside and it handles smoothly, making it an excellent vehicle for families. With the 1.6-litre diesel engine it delivers up to 63mpg and emits just 119g/km of CO2 – impressive for its size and weight. New CR-V cars cost between £21,505 and £33,215, however they don’t hold their value particularly well. On the plus side, bargains are to be had for people interested in used models. Listings are at CarDealerLocator.co.uk.

 

3. Land Rover Freelander 2
One quality which has stayed constant in all Land Rover vehicles over the years is their ability to travel off-road and over challenging terrain, and this gives the Freelander an advantage over some of its main rivals. It will have no trouble ploughing through snow on UK roads and the cabin is a comfortable one. Fuel economy is sound but CO2 emissions are fairly high. New Freelander cars start from £23,705.

 

2. Range Rover Evoque
The cheapest Range Rover currently on the market, the Evoque is a small 5-door 4×4 which is also available as a 3-door coupe. It is significantly more environmentally friendly than other Range Rovers, and delivers respectable fuel economy too. The Evoque boasts a luxury interior packed with equipment and consequently is a little pricier than rivals, with top-spec models costing in excess of £44,000. Leasing can prove a more financially viable option – deals are at AutoVillage.co.uk.

 

1. Kia Sportage
The bestselling 4×4 of 2013 to date is the Kia Sportage. It represents excellent value for money, starting from £17,495, and offers a spacious interior. The Sportage is attractively styled and comes with a host of safety features. Fuel economy and emission levels are average for the class, while insurance groups are low. With the Kia Sportage outselling all of its rivals, it would appear that customers in the 4×4 market are primarily motivated by price.

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• Monday, February 18th, 2013

Good day to you and welcome to Jack Sonata – an automotive blogging website for car fanatics and car not-so-fanatics alike. As you have probably guessed by now my name is Jack Sonata; and as you may or may not have guessed, it is me in the top-middle photo of the header! I was a used car salesman for 27 years so I’m pretty clued up on both current and non-current vehicles. I’m going to try and share my knowledge through my blogs, as well as sharing the latest car news, and hopefully you might gain a thing or two from them whether it be a tip for what car to buy next or how to save some money. Thanks for visiting, I hope my posts are helpful to you!

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