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Bought a used Audi A4 Avant in UK for half the selling price of my Hexa

With a bare minimum mileage of around 22,000 kms in 4 years, I had to part ways with my Tata Nexa because I was moving to UK.

BHPian SatishChour recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Now isn’t that a catchy headline, but it is true unlike most clickbait on YT.

Writing this post to share my experience of selling my Hexa in Bangalore and buying a pre-worshipped Audi A4 Avant in the UK. Also, some experience about driving in the UK.

Selling my Hexa:

When I got my Tata Hexa XTA in 2018, I had never thought I will be selling it just after 4 years. The whole idea behind shelling out our hard-earned 20+ lakhs on this SUV was to keep her for at least 10 years. I was happy with my Hexa, loved the ride quality, high driving position and of course loads of space. Many things changed from 2018 to 2022, including our requirement for a 7-seater and the thought to leave India and settle abroad kept creeping in. Somehow things worked out and we grabbed an opportunity to move to England in the first quarter of 2022.

Covid made sure that our Hexa didn't munch the highway miles it was supposed to. With a bare minimum mileage of around 22,000 kms in 4 years, I had to part ways with it. Shout out to the fellow BHPian who bought it from me. From the latest news from him, he has upgraded to LED headlamps, fog-lamps and got a Teflon coating as well. So, I can be pretty sure that she is being treated well.

Some parting pictures of our Hexa:

Handing over the keys to the new owners.

Renting a car in the UK:

Once we landed in the UK, one of the priority items in my to-do list was to get myself a drive to help scout a rented house as soon as possible. Public transport would not be helpful for the scouting with our toddler.

Renting a self-drive car in the UK is same as in Bangalore, only difference, there is no door stop delivery (at least not in the town we lived). I found a couple of car rental shops in Swindon. On visiting the first one - the initial response was that they cannot rent out on Indian driving license (they wanted an International DL).

After a little bit of pursuing and explaining, they accepted my driving license as it was in English and had an electronic chip too.

Unfortunately, they did not have a car to rent immediately, all they had was a cargo van. So, I walked over to my 2nd option – they too did not have a car right away, it was only available a week after. Dejected, I walked back to and took the cargo van - as I did not have any choice and really needed a drive.

The renting process was easy – all they needed was my DL and my passport copy. The cost was for the cargo-van was £210/week.

Here are some pictures of my first cargo van ever - Peugeot Partner. I have to say that it was tricky driving without a rear-view mirror but a fun experience non the less:

My daughter enjoying the front 3 seater while she can.

Driving experience in the UK:

I have been driving since I was 16 and with 22 years of driving experience in India, driving all types of cars ranging from an old column shift Ambassador to the latest Automatic Hexa, I must say that it wasn't easy to drive in the UK.

First day of my driving and I got honked at and shouted at by 2 or 3 people on the way. I had no clue as to why. Based on suggestions from colleagues/friends, i decided to get a session of driving lesson to help me understand what I was doing wrong. And finally, after a one-hour class from Mr. Omar (from Pakistan settled in Swindon from 25 years) I understood what I was doing wrong.

Here are some of the driving habits I had to learn:

  • Sticking to your lane on a roundabout - I realized the reason behind the honking and yelling. Even without lane marking you are supposed to stick to your lane when going around the circle.
  • No over speeding on empty roads - This was one real bad habit I picked up over the years driving in Bangalore. The moment i saw a patch of good road, I would hit the gas hard, which was like an immediate release from all the stress caused by traffic and bad roads. This is not recommended in the UK, as there are speed cameras in most places and over speeding attracts heavy penalties.
  • Giving priority to others on a roundabout (circle) - All circles in India are mostly governed by traffic lights, to my surprise there are no traffic lights in Swindon on round abouts. It is up to the drivers to be decent and respect each other and give priority based on direction (vehicle approaching from the right gets priority – that is simple and easy to remember).

Some basic differences I could easily notice driving in India vs the UK:

  • Everyone follows rules.
  • Everyone uses indicators religiously.
  • No one honks, unless you make a mistake.
  • Strict Lane discipline.
  • Everyone drives close to speed limit, for example, if the speed limit in city is 30 mph, people do 28-29 mph (i.e., close to 50 kmph) which is pretty fast on city roads. So no scope for mistakes.
  • Unmanned (no signals) at round abouts.
  • “Give Way” signals on the road are always followed.
  • No tail gating.
  • No overtaking (unless there is additional lane to overtake, say on a motor way).

After all these learnings, I was confident driving on the streets of Swindon, and it was also time to switch from a cargo-van to a family hatch back – So I picked a Vauxhall Corsa for £199/week:

After close to 3 weeks of moving to a different country, our house was almost setup and now the £199/week for a rented car started to look like an unnecessary expense, we had 2 options - start using public transport or buy a car (new or used). Obviously, I went with more economical choice is what a non-petrol head would have said.

To be honest, I had done my research back in India on buying a car in the UK (even before my visa had arrived). I had found that I could get my hands on a brand-new BMW 2-Series or an Audi Q2 or even an Audi A6 with a down payment of £4,000 and under £350 monthly EMI. But I did not know the exact cost of living, so desire to own a brand-new German luxury car was drowned by logic and we decided to go for used car to avoid EMI.

Now, I know the Japanese and Korean brands are reliable than the German luxury brands, but the heart wants what it wants.

So, my filter always had BMW, Mercedes and Audi under £7000 with Automatic transmission within a radius of 5 miles of Swindon. These set of filters took away many other options, but this is what I was looking for, as the Automatic would be handy for my wife to drive around too.

My first encounter was a 2006 BMW 1 Series 120D M Sport – the price was a mouth-watering £1700, but I was disappointed at the very first look itself, a huge hole in the bumper (could have been repaired) and several scratches as well. The body work too was damaged with scratches in multiple places and last but not the least there was lot of rust under the body. Test drive was disappointing too, coming from a high seating position of the Hexa, the sporty seating was a little too low for my choice.

Here are some pictures of the 120D I did not go for:

Underbelly rust.

My second test drive was of a 2011 Audi A3 with just 86,000 miles on the clock and for under £5000 – it was perfect. Although, it was in a better shape compared to the 120D its interiors were really worn out and it had too many broken bits inside like the driver arm rest was dangling and parcel tray was broken, I also noticed rust on all 4-disc brakes, having a rust free car in this climate is not easy though.

After making a lot of calls and missed chances (missed a wonderful 2012 C-class and a 2014 3-series they were gone within hours of the ad being posted), I finally found a 2011 Audi A4 Avant with 113,000 miles. Now compared to the A3, it had done 40,000 miles more, but was maintained very well and had no broken bits or rust.

Before I move on to the details of the A4, let me share my 2 cents on what to look for when buying a used car in the UK (there could be more, but this is what I stuck to).

Things to check before buying a used car in the UK:

  • MOT (Ministry Of Transport) Certificate: UK MOT conducts test every year on all vehicles to confirm the road worthiness of a car based on mechanical condition, pollution test and safety. Right from tyre life to head light adjustments, everything is tested. If your short-listed used car has a long MOT (mine has a 12-month MOT) then you can rely on it.
  • V5C Logbook: This is a log book to track vehicle registration and taxation.
  • Warranty: You get this peace of mind when you're buying from a dealer, although a private seller may sell for lesser price. But for me warranty is a better option.
  • Mileage:
  • The vehicle should've done approximately 10,000 miles per year, too low could mean it was left unused for a long time, too high could mean too much wear and tear.
  • Underbelly Rust: This is very common in the UK, thanks to the weather, so keep an eye on the condition under the belly of your shortlisted car.
  • Number of previous owners: Lesser the better, because you cannot track how well or bad the previous owner had used the car.
  • Insurance: As I was buying it with Indian DL, my insurance was a little expensive, almost £100 per month. So, make sure you buy the right insurance.
  • HPI Check: This is usually already done by dealers, but if you're buying from a private seller, it is important to spend a few pounds (approximately £9) to get this check done to ensure the car isn't stolen.

The A4 i shortlisted ticked all the boxes and the test drive too was smooth. I can only compare it with Hexa, I know it isn't the right comparison, but that is the only other 2L diesel I had driven. And this A4 was way smoother and powerful than the Hexa.

The buying experience was simple – £250 deposit and booked the car, made full payment next day and got all the necessary documents done like VC5, Insurance, Road Tax.

Thanks to 20-year-old Lucas, I got a good deal on my insurance (I found that other insurances were way more expensive than £100/month due to my Indian DL).

Below is the picture of "The Monk(boy) who sold his(dealers) Ferrari (Audi)" (I did take his permission to post his picture online):

Here are first pictures of my first German luxury car:

Both the Corsa and the A4 together.

Electronic parking brake in a 11 year old car.

Dials look beautiful at night.

Likes:

  • Aged very well, still looks beautiful and modern from every angle.
  • Plush ride even after a decade.
  • Comfortable seats.
  • Power - put it "S" mode you can grin all the way (up to 30 mph in the city).
  • Interior and paint quality is supreme.
  • Huge boot space (it is a station wagon but doesn't look like one).

Dislikes:

  • Missing modern tech like touch screen and Android Auto (My Hexa didn’t have Android Auto either, so no complains about that).
  • Too many control buttons (picture for reference):

  • The start key is on the left-hand side; I keep forgetting to take it out when stepping out of the car.

Mods planned:

None – as the MOT goes for a toss if the vehicle is modified, and I don't want to risk it yet with my first car in a different country.

With the sun setting on the pandemic, looking forward to more road trips with the A4 than we did with our Hexa.

Cheers!

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