Hi folks, thought I'd introduce myself.
I currently drive an import Mazda MX6, and run the UK MX6 owners club... but with the cost of fuel, the low MPG's I get from my car and a need for something larger mean that after 8yrs of owning them... it's time to say goodbye to owning one.
I love those cars, I know my way around them and have tweaked and modified them in many ways.
So I began my search for something suitable... I need a larger car because my folks are now pensioners and my dad is disabled (Parkinsons) and had to quit driving 3yrs ago due to deteriorating health. My older brother passed away just over 4yrs ago, and my sister lives too far away to be able to pop round very often. I can't get round as often as I'd like because of the cost of fuel and only getting around 23 mpg.
So I feel that I have a responsibility to look out for them, take them out and about and even take them away for trips and such... This can't be done in a coupe and hiring a car for a week means going somewhere really cheap.
If I am going to give up a car I love to drive... it has to be for something I will enjoy... I'm not going to be driving a car I hate, I'll only be resentful at giving up my baby.
So this means it must have a sensible amount of power, 4 doors and a reasonable sized boot that can accommodate a folding wheelchair for my dad.... and above all, it's got to be a Diesel and have a leather interior.
I'll be honest... an Alfa was not high on my list at first, and my budget is not large.
But as I started looking at the more luxurious and sporty cars it quickly became clear that Alfas don't seem to hold value as well as some other brands, and they are very nice to look at... which is important to me. I want a car that is beautiful in my eyes and that puts a grin on my face when driving it.
So after looking at BMW's, Saabs, Volvos, VW, and dismissing anything French along with Nissan, Toyota and even Mazda because they don't make something that makes me sit up and pay attention... I'd love another Mazda, but that means a Mazda 6 and in my price bracket, Leather and so forth just aren't found on a diesel model... this also pretty much rules out most cars on the market.
Everytime I check out specs on cars, I drift back to the Alfa, I checked out average prices and you get newer with an Alfa... anything up to 3yrs newer for the same price... But best of all, the insurance is only a few quid more than I pay for my MX6... and as a 42yr old with 14yrs no claims... I only pay £200 fully comp on an 18yr old, modified car with agreed value as it is... £220 for an Alfa is sweet in my book.
So I have narrowed it down to the following car... and I have a lot of questions about them and no doubt a lot of reading of these forums.
I'm thinking a 156 2.4 JTD on a late 2002 or 2003 plate... the facelift model would be nicer as it's prettier.
One area I am a little confused on is the specs... I've seen references to a Tourismo, Veloce and Lusso specs. I just don't know in what order they should be placed, or which version of the same engine goes with what car. I see the 2.4 JTD quoted as having 136, 150 or 175 BHP with anything between 200 and 284 ft/lbs of torque.
I'm also unclear on the weak spots of these cars, what areas I need to pay special attention to when checking them out.
My ideal car would be a 2003 Estate in black with red leather (but I can easily compromise on many things)... My budget is around £1500-2000.
I'm in no rush, I need to sell of some of the spare and rare MX6 parts I have to raise some extra cash and borrow some from the folks to buy this, as I can't sell my car until I have a replacement. But ideally I'd like to find something within the next 6-8 weeks.
Hope you can help point me on my way to a new car.