The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
~ ~ As most of you are already probably aware, I am a taxi-driver here in the Fair City of Dublin, Ireland for the past seven years or so. And any of you who have read my car reviews will also be aware of my obvious attachment to Nissan motor cars. In July 1999, I found myself on the lookout for a replacement for my trusty 1991 Nissan Bluebird, which was long past due for an honourable retirement. I had a notion that I could just possibly manage to find another Bluebird in good condition, so I began my usual round of daily and evening newspapers, local garages, and main dealers. And there my problems began. Although Nissan, and the Bluebird in particular, is a very popular marque here in Ireland, the last of these marvellous cars was manufactured in early 1992. And although there are still plenty of Bluebirds around, finding a "clean" example, which would stand up to the rigours of use as a taxi, proved a very daunting task. Looking through the Irish edition of the very popular "Autotrader" magazine for about the hundredth time, I noticed that they were now "online", and decided to give the site a look.
~ ~ The first thing I noticed was the diversity of services on offer. Nearly everything a car enthusiast could possibly desire is covered on this site, either directly or through links. But more of this later. After filling in the usual details to become a member, I headed straight for their Search facility. This had two levels. A basic search can be carried out by manufacturer and model, which results in almost too much choice of vehicles, as it serves up every single advert for that model that is stored on their database nation-wide. Their Advanced Search facility is far more user friendly. You can be more specific about your own individual preferences, and ask for a listing of cars on a geographic basis, or by year, colour, mileage, private or trade ads, or by engine size, to name but a few. The cars are all listed with details of their condition, along with a picture if one is available. You are also informed whether it is a trade or private advertiser. My original enquiry for “Bluebird” came up with a choice of around 400 vehicles, but when I began to be more discerning in my criteria, I wasn’t long in sorting the wheat from the chaff. I even came across a model I hadn’t previously known existed. I had always believed that the top of the range Bluebird was the 2.0 Litre S.L.X. But now I had a listing of about six cars for the 2.0 Litre “Executive”. This car comes with leather upholstery, air conditioning, electric rear windows, armrests, and 15-inch alloy wheels. One car in particular stood out, advertised by a small dealer in Blyth, Northumberland. Not only did it have all the above “goodies”, but was advertised as “one owner”, and with only 69,000 miles with a full service history.
~ ~ The next step was a phone call to determine if it was still for sale. After being thoroughly assured of its pedigree, I arranged for the Automobile Association to do a test for me, (at a cost of £90 Sterling) and to e-mail me back a report on the cars condition. This report resulted in a list of about five very minor faults, which the dealer readily agreed to rectify. I arranged to fly over and pick up the car, and the garage even went so far as to agree to pick me up at Newcastle airport. On arrival from Dublin, I was whisked off to a nearby hotel and treated to a hearty breakfast, and a little after an hour after landing all the paperwork was complete, and I was on the road back to Stranraer in Scotland, and the ferry home. Two years later, I am still the proud owner of my “Web Car”. It now has over 125,000 miles on the clock, but has never let me down, and with the exception of a front CV joint and replacement radiator, I have not spent a penny outside regular servicing.
~ ~ To return briefly to the other services on the site. I could easily ramble on for another thousand words, but suffice to say that they have all the bases covered. There are links for insurance, finance, reports on different manufacturers and new models, specifications, reviews, and a host of other services.
~ ~ So, overall, my experience with “Autotrader” has been nothing but positive. I have a car with which I am totally delighted, and which I had been having great difficulty obtaining by more traditional methods. In all probability, I paid a little “over the odds” for my Bluebird, as I had to factor in external costs such as air and ferry fares, the Sterling to Irish Punt rate, not to mention an iniquitous tax called V.R.T. (Vehicle Registration Tax) which we must pay on first registration of a vehicle here in Ireland. But to counter that I am delighted with my purchase. And these extras would not apply if you were living in mainland Britain. The mad cabbie recommends this service highly.