A good deal or not? - Morris Ox
Chums, I started a thread a couple of weeks back about the best car for £1-2k as I was thinking of dumping the company car for tax reasons and shelling out on something basic but sound for the daily short journey I do.

For reasons I won't go into here, the company's done me a favour and offered me my 98S Passat 1.8 20V with Climatronic and 70k miles for a grand total of £500. It has a couple of dings/wheelarch scrapes but is otherwise sound.

Have I got a bargain worth hanging on to, or should I sell? And what do I need to look out for the on the service schedule? Other than the last service (AA Service Centre), it has a FVWSH.
A good deal or not? - bernie
Buyers,form a neat orderly queue here !

£500 is banger money.Is it a banger ???
A good deal or not? - clariman
Sounds cheap, would have though it worth £3k at least. But what do I know.
A good deal or not? - Hugo {P}
Erm £500 for an S reg VW...

What's taking you so long?

Personally I would buy it, then try it for a few months. If you like it keep it and consider it a treat to yourself, otherwise sell it. You cannot lose!

A good deal or not? - DavidHM
Jump at it. Not much point in selling, although it will need a cambelt ASAP if not done already.

Also, a sale at an undervalue to an employee might attract income tax, which, if you're a 40% taxpayer means that you might end up getting hit for another £800. Check with your accountant on that.
A good deal or not? - Morris Ox
My mistake here - it's an R rather than S reg, but I don't think that makes much difference. Thanks for the cambelt tip - will check. Anyone know when it is/was due to be changed?

As I understand it, the car's been completely written down in the books. Don't know whether that makes a difference tax-wise.

Otherwise completely pukka. They just want it off the books. Wondering whether I should sell it on and get something else.
A good deal or not? - r_welfare
Shouldn't make a difference to you tax-wise, might do to the company, but that's for their auditors to decide...

Sounds like a cracking deal to me. I'd jump at it myself.
A good deal or not? - DavidHM
There are various tax provisions that I'm not going to go into now, but even at £1500 it's the best mainstream car of its age and size, and probably far more cost effective long term than anything else.

Cam belt is recommended to be changed at 80k, I think, but if it fails it's a new engine job so it's probably best to be on the safe side and do it no later than 60k.
A good deal or not? - Morris Ox
Having spoken to SWMBO about it, one idea we're looking at is selling both the Passat and her 98S Civic 1.4SE five-door and putting the money together to get a good used diesel family car.

I reckon the Passat might fetch £3-4k and her Civic around the same, possibly the higher of the two (it's done 36k).

Assuming we pull in £6k between us, what would be the best options?

The other angle is to work out the cost of keeping the Passat: insurance, one service a year, tax, plus petrol. I don't do many miles but the 1.8 20V struggles to get past 28mpg when you do short journeys. Depreciation-wise, I wouldn't think I'm taking a hit at all as it will be a few years yet before it falls to the price I'm paying.

Still, I'd be interested to see a few opinions about what around £6k might buy.

A good deal or not? - bazza
Surely the R reg Passat *IS* a decent family car. OK it's not diesel but it's depreciation -free, which means you won't get cheaper motoring! Putting the 2 cars together and shelling out £6K takes you back into the depreciation trap. Or, if you only need 1 car, sell the Civic, pocket the cash and drive round in the Passat for a few years, for peanuts!
A good deal or not? - andymc {P}
I just double-checked your figures to make sure - £500 for a relatively young, decent-sized, comfortable family car whose history you know and with moderate miles. Are you sure this isn't a mis-type and that it should be £3500? If it really is only £500, then with my hand on my diesel-pumping heart and despite the petrol engine, I would still say BUY THIS CAR NOW!!!!! People spend more on just the sound system. You could run it for a couple of years and still sell it for more than you paid.
A good deal or not? - Morris Ox
It is definitely £500; it's written down in the company's books and there's a reason they've done the deal which I can't go into.

The equation I'm trying to get my head round is the cost of the petrol (and the effect the low miles might have on the cat) versus the effective lack of depreciation because of the low price. I suspect I'll end up doing 2-3 tankfuls a month.

I hanker after a diesel because they tolerate a low miles lifestyle better, and I just resent shelling out on juice! But if the sums don't stack up then I guess there's no point.

And as has been said, if I sold both cars I'd probably end up with the usual depreciation dilemma.

A good deal or not? - andymc {P}
Comparing like with like, a five-year old Passat TDi SE will still set you back around ten times what you're looking at paying for this car. It's effectively a free motor.
If you're only going to go through 2-3 tankfuls of petrol a month, it's not going to pay you in terms of fuel costs alone to go for a diesel - unless you run on vegetable oil ;)
Look at a worst-case scenario where on petrol you pay out roughly two-thirds more in fuel costs for the miles you travel (given that prices are pretty close, but diesel mpg of 50+ compared to petrol mpg of 30+) and also end up having to replace the cat. I don't know whether insurance premiums would be particularly different for petrol and diesel variants, but I doubt it would be significant. Is the cost of all that going to exceed £4500 over 2 or even 3 years?
I really dislike petrol engines, but purely in terms of the numbers I think that you've struck it very lucky here. It just depends on whether it's worth it to you to pay out more for a driving experience which is (IMHO) far superior.
A good deal or not? - DavidHM
Andy, you're right, but of course Morris's Passat would sell easily for £4k in a private sale, at least with the dings sorted out.

Having said that, for the security of knwing that it's a good car (i.e., nothing's gone wrong with it so far and the mileage is genuine) and the fact that you're not paying for any dealer's profit margin, and you're doing a low mileage, I'd keep the car for a few more years.

It's a very good car indeed regardless of what it actually sells for. The mileage is sensible and you can probably arrange your own warranty if you want peace of mind. If you sold the car you'd have a nice profit margin, but some of that would go on a car that simply isn't as good.

Even a new cat and the extra fuel would be caught up in the dealer's margin and the fact that a diesel is worth more to start with. If you were starting from scratch, there's a good case for the diesel, but not effectively for replacing one Passat with another.


Value my car