independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Garagewatch

Slaney View Motors, Honda dealer, Car Cur, Wexford

ratings

Location/access: 7

Customer Parking: 6

Signage: 8

Showrooms: 6

Customer facilities: 8.5

Customer service: 9

Models on display: 8

WHAT WE LIKE

Although busy, the salesman made time for all customers and kept waiting to a minimum.

WHAT WE disLIKE

Although we were lucky that Pat spotted us as we were looking to park, very few spaces are obvious on approach.

We were introduced to a new version of Murphy's Law the day we called into Slaney View, Honda dealers, on the way into Wexford town.

Our intention was to source a viable deal for a first-time owner -- something practical and affordable on a small budget.

With that in mind, we decided to work from two separate lower-end price ranges: €3,000 or less for the student or prospective first-time buyer, and €7,000 or less for a family car or 'runaround'.

Pat Murphy, sales executive, made himself known to us even before we'd parked.

As we pulled in, he was outside in the forecourt seeing some other customers off and, spotting us hovering while looking for a space, he promptly beckoned us over to park by the door.

We had arrived in the mid-morning rush and, with Pat running what looked like a one-man show -- dealing simultaneously with three separate groups of customers -- we were surprised to win his attention so quickly.

He inquired what we were after. We hesitantly told him our first lower-end price range, half expecting to be laughed at for our over-ambitious pitch. But we needn't have worried.

After going through and collectively dismissing a few prospective suitors parked out front, Pat's eyes lit up. He had clearly had a brainwave.

"I have one car with a lot of driving left in it," and he assured us that, unlike most of the lower-end models he had in stock, this one wouldn't push our budget as far. He beckoned for us to follow and, in less than the time it takes to say 'Ferrycarrig' we were behind the wheel of a 2001 Honda Civic 1.8ltr petrol for €1,950.

For a 13-year-old car, the Civic seemed in surprisingly fresh condition -- a few bumps and scratches on the exterior paintwork and 167,405km on the clock that reflected its age but, overall, it looked in good nick. It was NCT'd until August this year. It had a well-kept interior and was nippy and responsive during the test drive.

We quite liked it. The car had only two previous owners, was well looked after and, practically speaking, we could see it servicing the needs of a student or as a family runaround.

With the Civic sourced and coming in under budget, we turned our attention to the next mission: let's see what Pat had for us in and around the €7,000 mark.

We had parted company with him temporarily during our test drive but found the lone salesman behind his desk helping a couple who were looking to buy a new car. He instantly acknowledged our presence and was over with a full printout of the second-hand motors on site for us to peruse while he put his other customers inside a new Honda Jazz.

The bigger budget offered far more options and room to suit tastes. We isolated a few cars that jumped out and wandered outside to have a look at them in the flesh, so to speak. We noticed Pat didn't waste a second. No sooner had we gone outside, he was then looking after customer number three.

As soon as he had them looking around, he popped over to check in on us. Watching Pat operate conjured images of a plate spinner.

We had homed in on a 2007 Opel Corsa 1.2 Club 5dr, with alloys and air-con. It had 27,067km on the clock, with a road tax of €358. We liked what we saw. It would be an ideal family car for our price range.

At €6,750, the Corsa fell just within our budget, and having driven it, we were impressed. Although seven years 'on the road', the car's interior looked like new, there wasn't a mark on the paintwork and it handled really well. We had our bigger budget car.

Although Pat Murphy was rushed off his feet the day we called, we never felt neglected or made to wait. For the customer experience alone, we would consider buying here.

Irish Independent

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