New year, new car? Nope. Older car
❝ How can a 14-year-old Merc give better mpg than a trick hybrid? ❞
Ido sometimes wonder whether it is just me. You know, becoming old and grumpy and going on about how great things used to be and that modern life, or at least modern cars, are rubbish. Luckily, a lot of you are on the same wavelength and I am indebted to Steve for telling me his story.
Steve had to return his company car, a Mercedes-benz C350e AMG Line Estate, after a year. It was a plug-in hybrid that was fully loaded with the AMG Premium Plus pack and the Night pack. All that stateof-the-art goodness cost a fairly whopping £46,000. In return, though, Steve was getting 280bhp and more than 100mpg.
Well, that was the theory, anyway. What Steve found was that over a not inconsiderable 35,000 miles, the best he could manage was a lessthan-impressive 42.5mpg. He didn’t think that the extra 200kg worth of batteries were helping, either the handling or the practicality, because there wasn’t so much boot space, the boot lip was high, things would roll about and the car ate tyres. Incredibly, Steve got through three sets of tyres and was not far off needing another, after 35,000 miles. More to the point, Steve made it clear: “I didn’t drive it like I stole it. These were mainly 80-mile-plus motorway journeys at below the maximum speed limit.”
Steve did the only sensible thing and bought a 2004 Mercedes C270 CDI, with 90,000 miles, service history and lots of receipts. He did not hang about, though, and replaced the thermostat, gave the car an oil and filters service and an EGR clean and corrected the tyre pressures. It’s effectively a gruff old Sprinter engine but it has done the job, with an average over 3000 miles of 44.5mpg and a best figure of 62mpg.
“How is it that a 14-year-old, rather agriculturally engined Merc can return better mpg than one of the most technologically advanced hybrid vehicles in the Mercedes range?” he says. “Only Lewis and Valtteri have a slightly more advanced hybrid. Is progress going backwards?”
Steve is a complete hero because he has also recently changed his Porsche, from a 2016 Boxster 981-series Black Edition to a 2005 997-generation 911 Carrera S. He says: “Not quite the same drop down but, for half the price of the Boxster, I have a lot of car, and again it does everything the newer car did but will hopefully lose a lot less money in depreciation.”
Steve says it isn’t Bangernomics, but really it is. He’s making his money go further and not short-changing himself when it comes to performance or practicality. Be like Steve: sell your modern car and buy an old one.
A 2004 C270 CDI is still capable of easy and frugal cruising
Reader Steve got an older 911 in place of his newer Boxster