I have just opted out of a company car scheme to take the car allowance instead, to run my own vehicle.
So there I was, looking for a car, BMW, VW, Ford, Audi...something substantial. The company who I work for specify 4 seats and a maximum of 7 years old, with an emmissions limit of 180g/km.
At an auction a 159 sportwagon caught my eye as it was driven away for £4800. It was the first car in a long time which made me crane my neck to see who made it.
eBay then became my second home...I could afford about 7k but anything less would be a bonus because it would mean I make a little bit every month. I came across the current car, registered December 2008, with 122k miles and FSH. (1.9 jtdm)
The lease company printout of the service history shows it has cost them almost £12k in three years, at least half of that has been tyres (4 Michelins for £1461 !)
I've gambled on the high mileage simply because I have had cars which I've driven for 50k miles per year. It was all straight line work up and down motorways, the clutch was hardly used and there was almost no wear in the suspension.
This car has avaeraged 40k per year so i've gambled it will be in a good condition and things like a choked up EGR might not be important yet.
This past year I have been using long term hire cars and have had a BMW 1 series, VW Passat and currently an Audi A4. The BMW was the most fun to drive, the Passat the most practical and the Audi is the quietest, fastest and best built of them all.
Compared to them, the Alfa 159 is a bit noisy, pretty twitchy, a bit plasticy and has an overly complex computer.
But the Alfa is the first car which has made me look back at it after parking it. It has rewarded me already when driving it down some twisties, more thean even the BMW 1 series. Young children point to it from their car seats, and neighbours and coworkers are all attracted by the looks of it.
I'm a professional engineer now, so I make my decisions logically. I wouldn't have thought I could buy a car with 122k miles just because of how it looked, but
My only real regret is that I could have opted out of the company car scheme a year ago and started this period of my driving history earlier !