06 November, 2007

Car Shopping

This is the temporary car that we have. The Seat Ibiza....stylish, I know.

This is the car we are getting soon. The Seat Leon....more stylish and fast!

Maybe we should get a Porsche like this one in the parking garage of our flat...

As part of the deal of working in my office in Luxembourg, everyone from manager on up gets what is in effect a monthly allowance for a car lease. Not that the firm pays for the car for you but rather they pay for the tax on the car which is a nice bonus in itself since taxes are a bit high here. As a senior manager I get a budget to lease a car up to €950 a month. To put that into perspective, at the current exchange rates that is about $1,350 a month for a car! A monthly car payment here does include car insurance and a certain amount for maintenance on the car as well but to spend that kind of money on a car would be nuts. I am not pursuing a car in the €950 price range but I did see one quote that was for around this price and it was only a BMW 3 Series which is pretty common here and in the U.S.

I started to put my focus on finding a car that had 4 doors and some decent leg and head room but also storage space in the boot (trunk) for traveling to different places. Hoping that we will have friends and family come visit over the next 2 years, we thought a 4 door hatchback would be a good idea. Besides, 90 percent of all cars on the road in Luxembourg seem to be 2 or 4 door hatchbacks so we wanted to fit in.

There is a long list of cars and car makers here that you don’t see much or at all in the U.S. There are also newer models of existing cars in the U.S. that are not yet in the U.S. For example, we were looking at a cool Honda Civic model that is not yet available in the U.S. it is very sporty looking in either the 2 or 4 door hatchback model. We were going to get this car but decided against it for size reasons and the fact that it has a huge spoiler going over the back window that would make it hard to see out of the window.

The other cars we were looking at included a BMW 1 Series which is not available yet in the U.S., probably because it is smaller and gets very good miles to the gallon of gas or diesel but especially diesel. We also looked at a Mercedes A Class. Another smaller funky looking car that is not in the U.S. Although BMW’s and MB’s are usually a bit expensive, these models were somewhat reasonable based on what else you find over here.

After a bit of searching and price reviewing, we ended up picking a 4 door Seat Leon. Another car not available in the U.S. so that makes me feel special, but it is pretty common here in Europe. It is a Spanish car maker. The car is black, has some upgrades on it since it was a car that was in stock. We get heated seats (mainly for Paula), parking sensors, sport seats and suspension, upgraded 17 inch wheels and some other bells and whistles including deep tint on the back windows. I am sure we will look a little out of place in the car but it should be fun to drive as it has a decent sized engine and it a turbo diesel with a 6 speed manual transmission.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

That's like a small house mortgage payment around here :-O