In December of 2015 I got a new job a little further away from home and after the reliability issues the Astra presented I decided to start looking for a new car.

I had absolutely no idea what car I wanted next but I had saved up a bit more of a budget this time. I was hoping for something a bit newer with more up-to-date in-car entertainment. Basically I wanted a good stereo. Both my Astra and Clio had old CD/FM Radios with no AUX or USB input. I had to carry around my whole library of CDs at all times and fumble about at the traffic lights to change the CD when one got to the end.

I went to my trusty AutoTrader app and searched for any cars from 2011 upwards. I had no preference at all of brand or model I was only really restricted by engine size as I was still a relatively new driver and UK driver’s will know that being a young driver means you get stung for insurance. I set a top engine capacity filter on AutoTrader to 1.6.

I planned to part exchange my Astra (even though I knew it wasn’t worth much) as it is a lot easier for me. I haven’t got room to park 2 cars and as I was about to go into a job that meant shift working, it really wouldn’t have been convenient for me to sell my Astra privately for an extra couple of hundred quid.

A plethora of cars in my price range, and within 20 miles, were presented for me to browse. I took great pleasure in this and just before Christmas I saw 2 cars that I really wanted to go and view (conveniently both at the same dealer). The first car I saw was a 2012 (62) silver Peugeot 208 with 36,000 miles on the clock and one former keeper. The second was a 2012 (12) Kia Rio in white with 89,000 miles and one former keeper. On 27th December my dad and I went to see the cars at an independent dealership in Ashton-under-Lyne and I was like a kid in a toy shop, unfortunately for me all the cars I really wanted were either out of my price range, with an engine too big or both.

We asked to see both the Peugeot and Kia and were given the keys. I really was torn between both cars. Both were immaculate inside and out, both modern and both packed with service history. In the end I decided to take the Peugeot for a test. The slightly lower miles and more modern interior swung me. The car drove perfectly well and I bought it there and then. I got £800 for my Astra as part-exchange and paid the rest in cash (well on card to be specific).

As I hadn’t brought any documents for my Astra with me on the day I put a deposit on the Peugeot, signed some paperwork and agreed a date to come back and complete the transaction.

On my next day off from work I went and picked up my Peugeot. I was over the moon with it! It was the newest car in the household and I was in love. It had a touchscreen infotainment screen, digital display, USB, AUX and air conditioning, things none of my cars had ever had. I found any and every excuse to go out for a drive, I was in love with my new car.

It was so much nicer owning a modern car. It sailed through services and MOTs without any unwanted repairs, got me to where I needed to go without any issues and was generally nicer to driver.

In August of 2016 I took the car down to V Festival with me and my friend. The car was packed full and we left most of what we took in the car rather than taking it all to the tent. The car got me there and back without issue. On the Sunday (the final day of the festival) we decided to pack up and leave that night rather than on the Monday. I didn’t mind not drinking and so we packed our tent and everything up in the morning, spent the day and night at the festival and then were planning to go and get straight in the car after Justin Bieber had finished his set. We did this in hopes of avoiding hours of queues on the Monday morning as both my friend and I were due back in work on Tuesday.

Festival day went great and we had just finished watching Sia perform and were waiting for Justin to come on. As Sia left the stage all the screens were lit up red with a huge warning telling all festival goers that if they can stay and camp that night then it would be advisable as there had been an accident on the M6 motorway and it was closed in both directions. This had led to traffic disruption in the local area and was also making it harder for people who were travelling to collect those who only had day passes for the festival. We had already (haphazardly) packed the tent away and it was pouring with rain. There was no way we were getting that tent back up. The car was packed full of all our stuff so it wasn’t even like we could’ve slept in the car.

We watched Justin perform and as the festival ended we decided we would just go ahead and leave. I’d looked at alternative routes and found we could use the A49 instead and it would take an extra 45 minutes. We got back to the car and the ground was soaked. It had been raining heavily all day but the car got off thee field without issue. At 23.15 I entered my home address into the satnav and it estimated we would be home at 01.15. My friend had maps on his phone to make sure the satnav didn’t try and take us on the M6 (as it was a very basic satnav without any traffic updates and I didn’t know how to set it to avoid motorways).

2 hours later we’d done 2 miles! 2 miles! Every other person at the festival had clearly had the same idea as us and the M6 chaos was causing havoc on the local roads. I’m so glad I had a USB to play music with because I don’t know how I’d have coped with 2 hours listening to Now 74 on repeat.

After V Festival I was going back to a new job, further away from home again. This time I’d have a commute on the motorway and dual carriageway for the vast majority of my journey. My previous jobs had never required me to travel on motorway or dual carriageways before and I noticed quite quickly that I was using a lot more fuel. The car felt underpowered on these faster roads and because I was having to rev the nuts off it to get it up to speed my fuel economy dropped into low 30s.

Although I absolutely loved my Peugeot it was time to get a diesel. I’d had the car just over 13 months but I had started to fancy something a bit bigger.

This time I decided to search in saloon category on AutoTrader and quickly decided that I wanted a Ford Mondeo. Although they’re by no means an exciting car, they are reliable, cheap to run and nice to drive. I searched through YouTube for reviews of Ford Mondeo’s and the consensus seemed to be that they are a good car with good handling and reliable. I found a 2012 (12) silver Mondeo with 89,000 mile (which is low for a car like this). These cars are normally motorway mile munchers used by reps as company cars.

The Mondeo I went to view was in Bury at an independent dealership and I was once again was planning to part-ex my car.