Just over 2 years ago, Mrs FmC and I found ourselves in the local Jeep dealership one Sunday morning. We were considering replacing our ageing Ford Focus (which we had suffered a long-running issue with – perhaps that is what made us lose interest in it, looking back), and wanted to look at the new Jeep Renegade.
I am not one for visiting car showrooms on a regular basis, but have to admit that once over the threshold, the lure of shiny new vehicles is very tempting!
Immediately we were drawn to a carbon black model sitting at the front of the showroom, with a giant cardboard cut-out of Batman & Superman standing next to it. On closer inspection we discovered it was a Dawn of Justice special edition – based on the film of the same name. It looked gorgeous! Blacked out windows, black alloy wheels, custom upholstery and a Batman v Superman badge on the back! My inner child presented itself immediately 🙂
What’s more the price seemed reasonable for such a cool looking car – around £20K. There was apparently only 500 made for the UK market – 250 with diesel engines and 250 with petrol.
Mrs FmC loved the Batmobile too (always dangerous when you assign a fond name to something you don’t yet own!) and was encouraging me to buy it.
So, before you could sing “Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na Batman!” we were sat in front of a salesman discussing a deal and various PCP intricacies.
To keep things brief (because this is not actually the point of the post, would you believe) we bought the car. We managed to get an excellent deal: a dealer contribution of £2,250, a trade-in against our Focus of £3,000, 0% interest free credit on a 2 year PCP contract, a free boot shelf, a set of premium Jeep car mats and the cardboard Batman & Superman cardboard cut-out1 to boot! All for a monthly payment of £169. Result!
We enjoyed the car very much over the first few months. It was our first experience of owning a brand new car. We felt proud. We enjoyed the more commanding seat position compared to the old hatchback. The speaker system was better. It had built-in TomTom sat-nav. People would notice it was the ‘car from the Batman v Superman film’. But the novelty soon wore off.
As the months passed, I hadn’t realised the effect of not actually owning the car would have on us. We were more cautious where we parked it. Due to the low annual mileage we had been ‘recommended’ to agree by the salesman, we started to worry about how much we would have to pay if (when!) we exceeded it. We didn’t even seem to wash it as much as I would have expected. As it wasn’t ours, it seemed we didn’t have as much pride in it.
Towards the end of 2017 we knew our time with Batty (as it was then named) was coming to an end. Jeep had been in touch by then too. We definitely didn’t want to buy it outright. And unlike the day we first stood in the showroom and signed on the dotted line, we had changed our mind about trading it in for another new model (which is why we only signed up for a 2 year agreement – it seemed like a great idea at the time to have a new car every 2 years).
Around this time, Mrs FmC’s father sadly passed away. Her mum kindly gifted us his car – a SEAT Ibiza hatchback, which she said he would have wanted us to have. This was exactly the sort of small car we had talked about as a replacement. It put us in a great position for when the Jeep had to be handed back in a few months time. We parked it on our driveway and SORNed it over winter.
Exactly a month ago today, the Jeep Financial Services subcontractor collected the Renegade from our drive. It was a bittersweet moment – we had enjoyed owning Batty but were also relieved it had passed its inspection and was no longer our responsibility. We were also looking forward to driving Stuart (aka Stuart Little – don’t ask!) – which we could after waiting 3 more days, starting both the insurance and tax on 1st April.
We love little Stuart. Despite being an older car, he has very low mileage and has a lot of emotional sentiment attached. He is also cheaper to run, and he is all ours. To be used for the purpose of travel. A method of getting from A to B.
We no longer park at the back of the local supermarket car park, away from other cars. We take pride in keeping him clean. We are not stressed about getting the first dent or scratch. Despite having character and being much loved by us both, he is a hunk of metal – an object, a means to an end.
Our plan is that Stuart will be our last ever car. He should last the next 4 and a bit years before we retire and move to our forever home on the Kent coast. Our plans are deliberate and involve being car free. We would rather spend the money on public transport if we can’t get to our destination on foot. To us at least, owning a car is a cause of unnecessary expense and stress. Yet another possession that needs to be maintained.
It’s amazing how my attitude towards cars has changed in the last few years. They no longer seem as important. People I work with have fancy Mercedes and other marques – which I know for a fact are costing them considerably more than £169 a month to own! I am sure most people have them as a status symbol and to keep up with the Joneses.
Not for us. Not anymore.