Getting the car buying experience right

I recently decided to start looking at new cars, I'm a bit fickle and tend to change my car around every two years. Up to this point I've not been overly adventurous. My car buying history is continuously swapping one Volkswagen Polo for a slightly newer Volkswagen Polo.

I began the journey by visiting Robins and Day's website. As the retail wing of PSA Finance it made sense to start there. I viewed the offers on the new 208's and noticed that their website offered a part exchange valuation service. I entered my reg, mileage and a few bits of personal info and got my valuation.

At this point, I almost dropped off the search for a new car altogether. I wasn't overly happy with the value that came back for my car as it would leave me a little short on my finance settlement. That was at least until one of Robins and Days sales people phoned me from the dealership closest to where I live. They explained that there would be a number of options available to me and convinced me to book a time slot to come see them during a sales event at the weekend.

I was still a little uncertain, but went ahead anyway. I got to the dealership bang on time for my time slot at the weekend, there was a fair few people milling around the showroom but I was greeted almost straight away. We took a look around the car they had on the floor and then sat down to talk models, numbers and requirements.

Like any car buyer, I wanted to press a fair bit to get the deal right. At no point was I made to feel as though I was over stepping or being a nuisance, but we did get to a point where my sales person would need to step away and speak to the sales manager. The showroom was still pretty busy with the sales event and I could see a queue of people near the sales managers door.

What happened next is what probably fully convinced me to not only buy the car, but also to buy from this dealership. The sales person returned to the desk we were sat at, handed me the keys to an identical model vehicle to the one I was considering and told me to take it away for an hour by myself. "Just go, drive around, get to know the car and enjoy it". I genuinely didn't know that dealerships did this sort of thing. I also didn't massively know the area, the only place I could think to drive to was Villa park. Possibly part of the reason I enjoyed the drive as much as I did.

The test drive fully convinced me that I wanted the car. I don't mind test driving with a sales person along with me, but this way of doing it, helped me fully imagine myself owning it. I got back to the dealership, parked up and tried to play coy which immediately fell apart. They could tell I enjoyed it and we ended up quickly agreeing on a finance deal.

My details were fed into the finance system under my agreement. It was a very busy weekend for the group so I couldn't get an immediate decision, I did however, get a phone call before I'd got home letting me know it had all gone through and been approved.

Overall, the experience was easy and actually enjoyable. I felt like a lot of effort was put in to ensure I got the right vehicle and understood what I was buying. I've experienced situations in the past where you feel rushed and ill-informed, this certainly wasn't that.

Now I'm just waiting for my new car to be delivered. I even get to go and choose my own plate. Check back in a couple of years to see if I'm still a Peugeot driver.

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