This has - of course - involved test driving. So far we have test driven:
- Volkswagen Golf
- Ford Focus
- Vauxhall Astra
- Toyota Auris
For each of these appointments I have rung ahead - or where possible - booked online. For every single one of these appointments, the car dealers have been in complete shock when we've turned up; literally none of them were expecting us.
That is the first thing I graded cars on. How efficient their booking systems were. So far, they're all level at a big fat 0, with the exception of Toyota who actually lost an additional point, when I said, "I booked with Jamie", I got the reply, "Oh yeah, he's a complete nightmare. Never writes anything down." So current scores, -1 for the Auris, and a fat zero for everything else.
Next up, quality of the toilets in each establishment. All have been pretty poor, so again, awarding no points for this.
Refreshments offered: the Volkswagen garage not only had tea and coffee, but also fridges full of Cokes. However, they miss out on a potential high score here for keeping their Cokes from us and only offering the tea and coffee. The Toyota garage had no Cokes, but did have a chill-out area with a Playstation. Unfortunately the Playstation didn't work. The Ford garage offered us tea or coffee, but "We ain't got no milk."
Scores so far:
Last but not least, arguably the most important category - the dickishness of the car salesman. I say "salesman" because the only woman we saw throughout the entire process was the receptionist at the Toyota garage.
Volkswagen: Surprised we'd turned up (despite me speaking to the very man we saw for the test drive). Seemed somewhat stunned when I said I'd test drive first (before TheBloke (TM)) and never called back with a valuation for the Mini. -3
Ford: Could not quite understand his accent. Again seemed a) shocked to see us and this time b) shocked I was allowed to drive. Insinuated that every car salesman apart from him was a charlatan. Refused to answer any question straight. Refused to give a warranty on any car he sold. However, was surprisingly unbothered when it turned out I'd driven the Focus for three full miles with the handbrake on. Perhaps he was right about me not being allowed to drive. -5
Vauxhall: Kept us waiting for ages to get a valuation, and then valued the Mini at about £4k under market value. American. Could not understand my pronunciation of the word "bear". I had to do actions. This doesn't normally come up in a test drive. -3
Toyota: Clearly a salesman, but didn't treat us as though we were quite as stupid as other salesmen had. However, failed to phone back with a valuation for the Mini. 0
In terms of driveability of the cars, meh, they're all much of a muchness.
I have no idea why Which haven't approached me to do reviews yet.