Spring Watch 2014

Despite losing an hour’s sleep to the British Summer Time clock shuffle at the weekend I’m now starting to feel the joys of spring. The flowers are a-bloomin’, the birds are sitting on the roof and trying their hardest to wake me in the morning, and Kate Humble is bringing us gory highlights of sheep giving birth, all in vivid techni-colour, live on our television sets. While there’s a lot to admire about Kate’s ability to beam radiantly towards the camera as another goo-covered lamb pops out, it’s not the sort of thing I want to watch. It’s enough to force me to switch over to Dave for yet another repeat of Top Gear.

Kate Humble Lambing Live

Sorry Kate, but I’m too squeamish to watch those lambs being born

As the sun starts to bring a little warmth to the days and lighter evenings, so my mind starts to wander to dreams of road trips and the cars I’d love to be driving. That, in turn, sets me off thinking about a new car. In the same way that bears wake up in spring and start dreaming of honey, so I wake up and start thinking it’s time to buy a new car. However, the other morning it suddenly became a stronger urge. I thought I saw ‘The One’ on a local dealer’s forecourt.

It’s a metallic Spirit Blue Ford Fiesta ST and stands tall in a crowd of lesser Fiestas (which is odd because it’s got lower suspension). Sadly it’s not not the desirable ST2 but it is only 6 months old and has covered fewer than 6,000 miles.

I’ve considered ways I could afford the feisty Fiesta ever since that glorious launch in Nice and the resulting title of Driving Spirit Car of the Year. This one looked perfect, even with a sticker price of £15,995.  That’s a grand off the as-new online aciphex price and for a car where demand is outstripping supply that’s not bad for 6 months depreciation.

Ford Fiesta ST in French mountains

Ford Fiesta ST in French mountains

Then I happened upon the Stoneacre website and their offer for a brand new Fiesta ST. For the same price of £15,995 you can have an untouched, zero-miles-on-the-clock ST that’s never had its seats sullied by another driver. OK, so that price is also for the base-spec ST but it still represents a lot of fun for not a lot of cash and it’s an easy £1,000 off the list price without haggling or waiting for the sales rep to go and ‘talk’ to his manager. Suddenly my mind started considering buying a new car, something I told myself I wouldn’t do again.

Oh, but wait, what’s this? An offer for £1,750 off a brand new Focus ST? That makes it £20,245 for a 250bhp hot hatch that’s practical enough for family life. Easier to justify than the smaller Fiesta and almost as much fun to throw around on the drive to work.

Those seem like cracking deals and I really, really want to cave in to the temptation but you know what? I’ll still be driving around in my diesel Focus this time next year. Those pregnant sheep have an easier time squeezing lambs out than I do trying to extract money from my wallet.

There is a sensible message tucked away in here somewhere. When a recently launched car makes its first appearance in the used section of the classifieds, don’t assume it’s a bargain until you’ve checked what deals your local dealers are offering on new ones. Sometimes that second-hand price can look a bit silly when compared to some of the bargains you might find.


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Author: Chris Auty

Voted the Breakthrough Blogger of 2013 by SEAT and the Guild of Motoring Writers , Chris has lived and breathed cars since he was old enough to say 'faster'. With a penchant for hot hatches and an allergy to public transport, he would much prefer to drive a bad car than never drive at all. Fortunately his family has learned to put up with this obsession and the internet has provided a channel for his ramblings.

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