Buy­ing ad­vice

Shop around long enough and you’ll find some fan­tas­tic deals on the sec­ond-hand mar­ket. You’ll be amazed at how much fast and fancy 4×4 your money can buy. But think care­fully be­fore pulling the trig­ger: even a bar­gain can end up cost­ing you a for­tune.

Leisure Wheels (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

Total cost of own­er­ship

There are plenty of large and lux­u­ri­ous SUVs out there that don’t hold their value in­cred­i­bly well, which means that you can of­ten buy an ex­cel­lent ve­hi­cle for a frac­tion of the orig­i­nal pur­chase price. For in­stance, you can pur­chase a 2012 Range Rover Sport with a 5.0-litre su­per­charged en­gine and less than 100 000km on the clock for around R400 000. Sim­i­larly, you can buy a 2013 Lexus LX570 with a 5.7-litre en­gine and 100 000km on the clock for R700 000. Own­ing a su­perbly com­fort­able and very pow­er­ful ve­hi­cle for that kind of money is in­cred­i­bly tempt­ing. Take one of th­ese 4×4s for a test drive, and you’ll fall in love im­me­di­ately.

Be­fore you sign on the dot­ted line, how­ever, it’s worth tak­ing a mo­ment to con­sider what’s called ‘total cost of own­er­ship’. True, you’re getting a great ve­hi­cle at a bar­gain price, but you’ll still be pay­ing a pre­mium for the ex­pe­ri­ence. As­sum­ing for the mo­ment that all is in or­der and there are no tick­ing time bombs lurk­ing be­neath the bon­net of your new 4×4, here are the other costs that you need to con­sider be­fore declar­ing that your prospec­tive new lux­ury ve­hi­cle is in­cred­i­bly af­ford­able.

1. Fuel

Large and pow­er­ful SUVs tend to have thirsty en­gines, which means you need to con­sider the fuel bill. Us­ing a ve­hi­cle with a 5.0-litre su­per­charged en­gine as a daily driver can cost you thou­sands ev­ery month in fuel. You could end up spend­ing about as much on fuel as you do on in­stal­ments. More­over, con­stant trips to the ser­vice sta­tion can be­come down­right an­noy­ing. A web­site like www.fu­elly.com can pro­vide you with ac­cu­rate con­sump­tion sta­tis­tics for just about any car imag­in­able. Take a care­ful look at th­ese fig­ures and make sure that you know ex­actly how many kilo­me­tres you travel ev­ery month.

2. In­sur­ance

Lux­ury cars can be ex­pen­sive to in­sure, so keep this in mind when cal­cu­lat­ing the over­all monthly cost of the ve­hi­cle. Also, be sure to shop around, since pre­mi­ums can dif­fer quite a bit from one in­surer to the next. An­other im­por­tant thing to keep in mind is what you’ll be us­ing a ve­hi­cle for. Don’t as­sume that your in­sur­ance cov­ers over­land­ing, 4×4 trails and track ex­cur­sions. If you’ll be over­land­ing through Africa or hit­ting the of­froad trail on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, you prob­a­bly need 4×4 in­sur­ance that cov­ers th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties.

3. Tyres

Never un­der­es­ti­mate the ex­pense that a new set of tyres can rep­re­sent, es­pe­cially when you’re re­plac­ing a set of off-road tyres or wide and low-pro­file per­for­mance rub­ber. You could eas­ily be forced to spend more than R20 000, so check the tyres be­fore buy­ing a ve­hi­cle. Find out how much life is left in the cur­rent set, and check what a new set will cost.

4. Ser­vices

Even a reg­u­lar ser­vice can be ex­pen­sive when it comes to lux­ury ve­hi­cles, so find out what sort of bill you’re in for. One of the down­sides of a used ve­hi­cle is that it tends to be out of date of its ser­vice/main­te­nance plan, which means that ev­ery­thing is com­ing straight out of your own pocket. Th­ese days, you can buy a ser­vice/ main­te­nance plan for a used ve­hi­cle, which can be worth it, but check the fine print to make sure that you’re prop­erly cov­ered. None of th­ese plans are cre­ated equal.

5. Re­pairs

Even if your used ve­hi­cle is in great con­di­tion when you buy it, there will come a time when you need to re­pair some­thing. When you’re deal­ing with an ex­pen­sive and so­phis­ti­cated lux­ury SUV, th­ese re­pairs can be dis­turbingly ex­pen­sive. Re­plac­ing a turbo or gear­box can eas­ily cost tens of thou­sands. As with a main­te­nance/ser­vice plan, you can pur­chase a war­ranty for your used ve­hi­cle, but th­ese also need to be in­spected care­fully. Pay at­ten­tion to what the ex­clu­sions are. For ex­am­ple, you want to make sure that a turbo or gear­box is ac­tu­ally cov­ered by the war­ranty.

Above: A 2012 Range Rover Sport (left) or a 2013 Lexus LX570 (right) might seem like a bar­gain on the sec­ond-hand mar­ket, but be aware that a lux­ury ve­hi­cle is still ex­pen­sive to own. Fuel, tyres and ser­vices are sure to be pricey. Be­low: As the man be­hind RFS Auto – which buys and sells tested and in­spected used ve­hi­cles – Chris du Plooy knows the sec­ond-hand mar­ket.

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