How you could do a deal Swiftly here -- even in a downpour
Garagewatch: Ray Crofton Ltd, Kia Motors, Celbridge Road, Maynooth
Through swirling winds and pounding rain, we chugged up the road to Maynooth in search of a bargain. The January blues have a way of enveloping all around them.
The wet and unwelcoming weather rearing its ugly head didn't help matters much.
As such, we were perhaps a bit less than eager to brave the elements and trudge on to a rain-drenched forecourt to peruse prospective vehicles.
But we gritted our teeth and stuck at it.
The type of car we were after was to suit the needs of a young professional woman, whose career had recently brought her to this part of the world. She was looking for a comfortable, affordable car. It needed to be small enough to be easily parked and manoeuvre around the city, but strong and reliable enough for the occasional cross-country driving her job required. Her budget was €10,000.
Our first impression of this garage was the great, dual panelled automatic door that slid open to reveal a spacious showroom, large reception area and comfortable-looking waiting area, complete with tea and coffee making facilities. Within minutes, we were greeted by Robert Crofton, our sales executive.
After briefly discussing our aspirations and budget with him, and after picking up a detailed used-car price list, we were ready to run the rule over what was on offer outside, even if that did mean standing in the rain again.
He anticipated our concerns and gave us a great big black umbrella at the door. He was well prepared as he had obviously been in and out with customers all morning.
"Ten grand is a great budget for what you're looking for," he smiled as we made the short trip to the front car park. Although there were several options on the price list that suited our budget, they quickly boiled down to two practical contenders: a silver 2010 Renault Clio Royal Eco 1.2-litre with 77,000kms on the clock priced at €9,750; and a silver 2008 Opel Corsa, 119,000kms for €7,850.
Though both cars seemed to match our pre-agreed criteria, a buyer's gut instinct - a most sensitive barometer that can neither be accounted for beforehand, nor ignored in the midst of an acquisition - came into play for our young professional. Sensing that she was not wholly convinced by either, Robert led us back a couple of paces before stopping at two pristine looking 131 Suzuki Swifts (1.3-litre), one silver, one metallic grey and both with between 20,000km-24,000km driven respectively.
Though listed for sale at €12,275 - comfortably exceeding our budget - Robert quickly added that, should we be interested, we could drive away in either car for €11,500. The reason?
The Swifts were the remaining two of five demo cars brought in by the dealership this time last year. Once the 'new' price of €15,650 was knocked down, the first three sold quickly, and now it has been adjusted again to reflect the new year. There was sure to be a lot of interest.
The deal sounded impressive, and we were eager to learn more. Robert had us behind the wheel and headed for the motorway on a test drive in a matter of minutes. We liked the look of the Swift, and the interior was comfortable. We noted especially the USB port for charging an iPhone or playing music.
Was there Bluetooth? Although not standard, Robert assured us it was no hassle to source and install one should we take the car. A nice touch.
We found the Swift nippy and easy to manoeuvre in both traffic and on the motorway, and, with extremely low mileage, like-new condition and two years remaining on the manufacturer's warranty, this was certainly enough to turn our heads, even if it did come in €1,500 over our budget.
From our point of view, the only negatives to be taken from the day were: the boot in the Swift was a little bit small than we would have hoped for, though the back seats did fold down; and the facilities inside the showroom were nothing to write home about.
All in all, however, it's fair to say that we were impressed with the calibre of car we were offered, and with Robert in particular. We felt in good hands from the off. And we felt that was a good deal on the Swifts. Yes, we'd come back here to do business.