Car hunter: Large family saloons

20 Dec, 2012 10:30am Chris Ebbs

Our reader has £350 a month to spend on a Ford Mondeo-sized saloon

Dear Chris,
I’m after a new car and am considering a Ford Mondeo-sized saloon. But I don’t want to pay over £350 a month on finance. Any suggestions?
Simon Hanley, E-mail 

If you'd like help choosing your next car, contact chris_ebbs@dennis.co.uk.

The best buys:

The top value buy: Kia Optima

Kia Optima front tracking

For: Lots of equipment, stylish looks
Against: Awkward boot, firm ride

Kia’s entry in the four-door saloon market is a spacious and good-looking car. The Optima shares components with the Hyundai i40, but is the more attractive option, while a longer wheelbase also means excellent rear legroom. The boot is sizeable at 505 litres, yet tricky to load due to a high lip and awkward-shaped opening.

Kia currently has a 4.99 per cent APR personal contract plan (PCP) deal on 134bhp 1.7-litre Optima CRDi diesels in 1 spec. Put down a £4,154 deposit, and you’ll pay £330 a month over 36 months, with a final payment of £5,355.

This is the enty-level model, but the 1 still has lots of kit, including USB and aux-in connections, Bluetooth, stop-start and a gearshift indictor. Plus you get the security of Kia’s comprehensive seven-year warranty. The 134bhp diesel is responsive, with a decent amount of torque.

The all-rounder: Skoda Superb

Skoda Superb front cornering

For: Masses of space, very comfortable
Against: Uninteresting looks, dull drive

The Skoda Superb finished second in the Auto Express Driver Power 2012 satisfaction survey, which tells you all you need to know about this large family saloon. It offers masses of space, particularly for passengers in the back, while there’s a vast 565-litre load capacity. The boot can be opened like a hatchback, for added practicality.

The finance outlay is determined by your choice of spec, but as an example you can get a 1.6-litre TDI GreenLine II version on a 7.6 per cent APR PCP with a £337 deposit and 35 monthly payments of the same amount. The only catch is that you’ll pay a final fee of £6,434 as part of the deal.

While the Superb is a fine buy, it has a couple of flaws. The styling is rather bland, especially compared to the newer Optima, it isn’t the most interesting car to drive and lower-powered engines struggle with the car’s bulk.

The driver's choice: BMW 5 Series

BMW 5 Series front

For: Great fun to drive, premium finish
Against: Plain styling, common choice

The joy of buying on finance is that, with a top deal, you can drive away something you may think is out of reach.

Take the BMW 5 Series. Up to the end of this year, you can get a 520d SE saloon on a 3.9 per cent APR PCP deal for £339 a month over 36 months. But while the deposit is manageable at £4,950, the final payment is £11,857.

If that final price doesn’t put you off, the 5 Series is a fine choice. The interior is superbly finished, while the car is also comfortable and engaging to drive. There isn’t as much as space as in the Skoda, but the engine is brilliant, with plenty of pulling power and low running costs.

Again, the styling is rather mundane, especially when compared to the Optima. The 5 Series performed well in our Driver Power 2012 survey, finishing 40th, but that’s some way off the Superb’s excellent second place.

Disqus - noscript

Well, comparing HP finance prices with leasing is really fair, usually ford dealers offer HP finance oposite to volkswagen of bmw which prefer leasing.

I would say sod the new car, and get a two year or three year old mondeo, but be warned built quality isnt good.

Get an honda accord 2009 £10k 2009 or skoda superb same year, u will save a lot of money, when you buy and when u sell, because all these cars will depreciate less if u buy them with two or three years instead of going for new ones, or pre-reg where depreciation is high in the first two years. per example i bought a 59 mondeo 2.0tdci paid 18k (with interest) sold it for 8500k after a 1.5years, the car drove nicely but the trim was starting to fall off, for no good reason besides the fittings quality is rubbish.

If you get a bmw, dont forget the high maintenance costs, and the several recalls that bmw's have had in the past 4 to 5 years:S.
Mercedes dont drive as nice as bmw, but they have higher reliability, so keep that in mind.

No matter what you do, if this is coming out of your own pocket you are on a hiding to nothing but severe financial losses, buy a decent 2nd hand car unless the company are footing the bill, buy a car that you actually want or desire rather a "finance special". Do you want to have to fork out 5 grand for a 3 year old KIA or even worse 6 grand for a 3 year old skoda. We haven't even got to the depreciation aspects yet.

AEX 1330
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