Tag Archives: Glass’s Guide

What proposed diesel taxes will really mean

Until very recently, diesel was the fuel of choice for many motorists and for all the right reasons. Diesel cars tend to be more efficient and economical than petrol equivalents. They produce less carbon dioxide, a gas that until quite recently was apparently responsible for much of the world’s pollution woes. And while diesels usually cost more than petrol cars, they hold their value better, so you get more back come resale time.

Will taxing diesel really cut congestion and pollution?

Will taxing diesel really cut congestion and pollution?

Of course the oily fuel’s suitability remains dependent on the number and type of miles you do. And the increased pump price of diesel allied to improvements in petrol technology is encouraging many drivers to abandon it anyway. Now the hysteria has died down about the news that London’s mayor Boris Johnson wants a new £10 tax for diesel cars to enter new Ultra Low Emission Zones, with cities such as Bristol, Birmingham and Leicester following suit, it’s worth examining what the revelations really mean.

For a start, the penalty will come into place in 2020. But from the start of 2015, every diesel car will have to meet Euro 6 emissions legislation. This caps nitrogen oxide levels – the gas Boris and his regional friends are getting het up about – at 80mg/km, more than 50 per cent down compared to the Euro 5 that cars have had to conform to since 2011.

The result, according to Boris Johnson’s office, is that Euro 6 vehicles will be exempt from any penalty. Nick Reid, head of transformation at Green Flag added: “Euro 6 emissions regulations were drafted to address the concerns over particulates from diesel cars, and the criteria to meet them are tough. So drivers who wish to drive the cleanest diesel possible should ask the manufacturer’s sales staff to confirm whether their potential purchases is Euro 6 compliant.”

With the penalty unlikely to apply to cars that will be five years old and newer, used car price experts agree that residual values are unlikely to be affected. CAP’s Mark Norman told me: “It could have an impact on used prices if other cities follow London but while the capital is big it’s not big enough to hit residual values.” Richard Parkin from Glass’s added: “We don’t think it’ll have an impact. The congestion charge is substantial as it is so if you can afford to pay that on a regular basis, it’s unlikely another £10 will put you off a diesel.”

So the message is clear. If you’ve decided a diesel car ticks your boxes, go for a Euro 6 compliant model and rest easy that Boris’s emissions tax is highly unlikely to affect your investment. And whether the Government will change the car tax structure to penalise the output of nitrogen oxides is a question for another day.

This article first appeared in the Daily Telegraph Cars

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How to load a new car with optional extras

Speccing up a car is fun but can be expensive if you get it wrong

Speccing up a car is fun but can be expensive if you get it wrong

Buying a new car is an exciting business. It’s also a very expensive one, and if you choose the wrong options, it can prove even more costly. In an effort to make the right choices when speccing up a new SEAT Leon ST Ecomotive, I sought an expert’s advice.

Prices for this version of the Leon start at £20,485. The Ecomotive model is essentially the mid-range SE specification so it’s already a well-equipped car meaning I should be able to get a car to my liking for minimal extra outlay. Dr Richard Parkin from Glass’s Guide nonetheless warned: “It’s easy to get carried away ticking boxes but you must remember options will generally depreciate faster than the car. If the car is worth 70 per cent of its value new at the end of the first year, the options will be worth much less than that.”

There are however some extras that buck the trend. Dr Parkin explained: “Anything that you can see on the outside such as lowered suspension, DRLs and privacy glass will help add value. Things on the inside tend not to, although navigation does. Used car buyers are increasingly expecting second-hand cars to have sat nav. It’s the same with Bluetooth and USB sockets. They’re becoming ‘must haves’ rather than ‘nice to haves’.”

This connectivity is standard on all models and SEAT is adding further value to people’s cars come resale time by offering all Leon models with free DAB radio, daytime running lights, and satellite navigation, all lumped together in a £1075 Technology Pack.

I should explain that my original intention with the Ecomotive was to create an 85.6mpg motor with the visual appeal of the hot FR version. Privacy glass was £175 but I think worth it to give the Leon more attitude. I also wanted to up the wheel size to 17-inches. However, these particular wheels came off my cunning plan before I’d even put them on. In Ecomotive guise, I discovered, the Leon can only be specified with 16-inch rims.

Still the £375 I saved meant I could be adventurous with paint. The cheap choice of flat red or non-metallic saw me opt for £495 Apollo Blue because it’s neither boring and staid nor sufficiently outrageous to put anyone off. Dr Parkin agreed with being conservative here. “Out-of-the-ordinary ‘lifestyle’ colours should be reserved for top of the range or sporty ‘lifestyle’ models. With more regular cars, you need regular colours to appeal to the mass market and maximise your return on investment.”

According to Dr Parkin, the £150 I spent on the Convenience Pack primarily to add the auto-dimming rear view mirror will enhance its desirability but I won’t recoup that cost at resale. These plus some other little tweaks have bumped the Leon’s cost up to £22,810. Should I feel bad? “When you buy a used car, you invariably compromise by accepting some things that you may not like. With a new car, you can have it exactly as you want,” he reassured me. “Think of it as paying a premium for that privilege.”