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  • #269841
    Glos Guy

      As mentioned on the lease extensions thread, our new car order window opens in 4 weeks time. We currently have a 2021 BMW X1 2.0i petrol auto 4WD X-Line, which has been the best car that we’ve had on Motability (after a succession of VW Tiguans). Other than the lack of AutoHold and slightly excessive road noise on coarse surfaces, it’s been nigh on perfect. I’m not a huge fan of lease extensions (but will consider some extension in this case) and I’m open to leaving the scheme and buying privately if we can’t find anything suitable. We would ideally like another petrol car, second choice would be a PHEV and last choice would be an EV. We don’t want a diesel.

      Today, after a nice lunch in Cheltenham, we spent some time at the massive 2 storey Cotswold BMW dealership that only opened a couple of years ago. My first choice manufacturer would be BMW (having had loads of different cars and driven hundreds of others they are my preferred make by some margin) and we went with the intention of looking at 6 different cars. Sadly, we had to rule out 5 of them.

      1) BMW 225e Grand Tourer M-Sport PHEV (currently on Motability). I’m afraid that we discounted this on looks alone. MPVs just don’t do it for us. My late Dad had an MPV and as Jeremy Clarkson says, MPVs are for old people who’ve given up on liking cars (which, in fairness, was my Dad! Neither of us liked the look of it and I know I’d regret getting one. The boot may also be a bit too small for the wheelchair, but we didn’t get that far.

      2) BMW X2. Not yet on Motability, but I reckon that the iX2 is very likely to join the scheme fairly soon. We ruled this out as the rear passenger compartment is far too difficult to get in and out of due to the sloped roof. I’m 6ft 2 and in all honesty it was a real challenge getting in and out. I had to bend my head right down on to my chest to get in and out and it was uncomfortable doing so. I would concur with the reviews I have read on the X2 that, other than looks, it is compromised against the better packaged X1 / iX1.

      3) BMW i4 (on Motability). They had a green Sport e35 which we thought looked lovely (the green looked fabulous under the showroom lights). The boot was big enough for the wheelchair, but as the rear of the car is sloped there wasn’t much space left. Getting in and out of the back seats was also a bit of a challenge due to the sloped roofline, but less difficult than the X2. We ended up dismissing it for 2 reasons. First and foremost, with the lower seating position my wife really struggled getting out of it, as she had to pull herself up more than she does from an SUV, and this was a major problem for her. The other reason was that we felt that the car seemed claustrophobic inside. Forward and rear visibility through the comparatively shallow windscreen and rear window felt very restricted compared to what we are used to. The windscreen almost felt as though the sun blinds were down (they weren’t). Shame as we both really liked the look of it, but it’s just not practical for either of us.

      4) BMW 3 Series Touring. When the 330e M-Sport Touring came on to Motability a few months ago, it was the first addition to excite me in several years. I had already established the biggest negative with this car, when I’d worked out the cost of all the options that I’d want to add (which makes it ludicrously expensive for a lease car, especially when added to the £12,000 sacrificed benefits). Whilst it wasn’t as claustrophobic as the i4, my wife really struggled getting out of it so, whilst we liked it, we had to eliminate it.

      5) BMW X5. This would obviously be a private purchase, probably a 3 year old one as I just can’t bring myself to part with £70k for a car. Much as I’d love one, and as a car it left all the others in the shade, it was impractical for two reasons. Whereas the i4 and 3 Series were too low for my wife to get out of, the X5 was too high for her to get in to. Also, the side sills on M-Sport models protrude and were problematic for my wife as they make it a bigger gap to reach the seat and also result in soiling your legs from road dirt. Finally, the daft split tailgate would be a nightmare getting the wheelchair in and out of the boot, involving too much of a stretch (not good for my back). Alas, I don’t think I’ll ever get my X5 ?

      6) BMW iX1. They didn’t have an iX1 in the showroom but they had an identical petrol X1. This was the easiest car for my wife to get in and out of (no doubt because it’s closest to our current car), but it was also the easiest for me. The boot is fine for the wheelchair and, other than the bigger X5, it was the best car for visibility. I don’t like the fact that the iDrive rotary dial has gone, but at least they have fitted AutoHold on the new model. Almost 3 years on, it’s the one thing on our current X1 that still irritates me (as it doesn’t have it). This ended up being the best car for both of us, but unfortunately only the iX1 EV is on Motability at present. I had an iX1 30e X-Line for a day last year and didn’t like it anywhere near as much as our petrol X1. Ideally I’d like to see the petrol X1 on the scheme, but with how Motabilty is going, I suspect that it won’t. However, there are now two X1 PHEV models so, with the more expensive 330e having joined the scheme, I am hoping that one of them might join next quarter. However, there’s no EV equivalent of the 3 Series Touring, whereas BMW will want to use Motability to get their EV numbers up so will want to shift the iX1 as a priority.

      So, as far as BMW goes, if we stay with Motability we will hope for the X1 PHEV and if that doesn’t happen, and we don’t find a better car from another manufacturer, we may end up having to go for an iX1 20e M-Sport, which you can get through Motability with the tech pack and M-Sport Pro packs included. I’d considered an X3 as a private purchase, but it’s no bigger inside than the new X1/iX1 so that doesn’t really make sense. So, in some respects, a frustrating day, but at least it’s helped narrow the BMW choice down to one car.

      Next steps are to look at the Hyundai Tucson Ultimate PHEV (not sure I want to spend that much for a Hyundai though) and the Mazda CX-60, although I’ll wait to see if that’s still on the list in Q2 before making a trip as there isn’t a Mazda dealer anywhere near us. My wife has a prejudice against all French cars (?) and isn’t at all keen on a Skoda, even though I think they make some excellent cars now. The new Kuga won’t be any good as the Vignale is discontinued and you can’t get leather trim on the ST-Line X (she needs leather or faux leather to slide around on the seat). The new VW Tiguan still doesn’t have leather unless you pay over £2k which is outrageous (no faux leather option).

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