WHEN we drove into Hogan Motors and got out of the car after parking in one of the three customer spaces, we were taken aback by the large selection of new Hyundai models on display and the number of people looking around and speaking with salesmen.
These, and the big selection and mix of used cars which were priced and presented neatly, were heart-warming to see on a chilly morning.
Inside, the L-shaped showroom felt homely and was bright and immaculately maintained. The low ceilings gave the place a warm feeling.
We saw a young lady at the reception desk and believe a name tag would not have been out of place, because as we were going to have dealings with her later it would have been nice to thank her by name.
We looked at the eight new models on display which included the Santa Fe SUV that was recently launched.
We liked the way the "i" cars were parked in line. The i10, i20, i30 and i40 stood shoulder to shoulder, all presented well but, interestingly, none was priced. We took a price list from reception.
As we looked around we were met by Vincent Mullins and told him of our interest in an i40 saloon.
He invited us outside to see a demo model and handed us the keys to take a test drive.
As we sat in he cautiously asked: "You will come back lads?" We smiled and headed out of the city.
After having a nice run in the i40 we went back to the showroom.
Vincent was busy, so we went over to the lady at reception and asked for a used-car list. We were promptly handed one.
On seeing sweets for sale in aid of Crumlin Children's Hospital we handed her the €2 for a packet. As we waited and sucked on our rhubarb and custard sweets we spotted a comfortable customer-waiting area with all mod cons and facilities. There was a set of colourful tables and chairs for children and we inspected the dual toilets which were well-maintained.
With Vincent now in our midst again, he asked for our keys to see our car. We handed them to him and remained in the warmth of the showroom.
We noticed that inside this open-plan showroom everybody was busy and every one of the staff who passed us said "Good morning".
Vincent arrived back and invited us to his desk.
"Nice car, lads," he told us. "I'll have to work on the value and I'll phone you next Tuesday."
He took our details and walked us to our car.
We told him we were going back into the city, so he said he would open a back electric gate for us.
This kind act saved us having to drive all the way up the dual carriageway and turn to come back.
Outside and some distance away we parked up to write our notes and studied the used--car price list. We think it made interesting reading.
Hogan's had the 66-car list broken down into four segments -- Hyundai, Toyota, Lexus and others.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday came and went but we failed to hear from Vincent.
Friday arrived and he phoned. He told us he would allow us €6,500 against the i40. By buying a 12-registered model we could save around €2,000 to €3,000.
While we really liked Hogan Motors and the helpful Vincent, we have to treat his trade-in allowance as an off-side goal.
We wonder if a little birdie may have seen last week's Garage Watch report on Galway Skoda dealer, Monaghan and Sons Ltd.
Monaghan's allowed us €5,750 on the same car that we took along to Hogan's.