Leasing a car, smart or stupid?

Buying your first car can be a pretty complicated process, there are a lot of options out there now, and it is hard to know which option is best for you. It is an important decision to make as the wrong decision could leave you suffering financially. Whatever you do, you understand the Ts & Cs of your contract whether you are leasing or purchasing the car.

I have recently been looking at getting myself a used Alfa Romeo 4C, and my browser kept bombarding me with adverts for Alfa Romeo 4C contract hire deals, which I must admit became more and more appealing the more I looked, but does leasing a car make fiscal sense? From a purely financial perspective it is not a great idea to lease. This is no surprise as you are giving out money for something that you aren’t going to own. However, buying a new car doesn’t make financial sense either, for it will depreciate a great deal unless it is a special limited edition or something which you don’t plan on putting any miles on.

That leaves you with the choice of buying a used car that is at least 3 years old. By this point the car will have taken the biggest hit on its residual value meaning you don’t stand to lose as much on it and it is still relatively new. However there is always the risk that is associated with a used car, that there is no guarantee that there isn’t an underlying issue that you don’t know about, and you may end up spending a fortune on a used car over the course of a few years.  So maybe when you think about it like that leasing isn’t the worst option.

With used car horror stories in mind, and my own first hand experiences, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to get on the internet and do a search for personal car lease Alfa Romeo 4C. The second you hit enter on search like that you are hit with a hell of a lot of choice, and before long you will be seeing offers every, ads will pop up on other web pages you go to that have nothing to with cars, until small monthly payments do actually start coming way more appealing. Hardly surprising, in my case it was either buy a £40k second hand Alfa Romeo 4C 1.75 TBi 2dr TCT and set up a finance deal, or pay £545 a month for 2 years after an initial payment of £3271.  The lease looks more manageable for obvious reasons, the car is new so it will be under guarantee, you shouldn’t get hit with any huge service bills and you don’t have to worry about the cars residual value at all.

The point that got me was my purchasing habits when it comes to cars, if I bought it outright by the time I got to paying it off I would typically be looking for a new car anyway, so regardless of how I go about it I’m going to be spending the best part of £600 a month for the foreseeable future. Obviously, the benefit of buying a used car outright is I can get some money in my pocket each time I trade the car in. But it is extra admin and shopping around, having to barter with dealers etc which is genuinely up there with my least favourite things to do, right behind selling a car privately.

As you can probably gather I am leaning more and more to personal contract hire Alfa Romeo 4C being the best option. To answer the original question, does leasing a car make fiscal sense, no, but your other options aren’t exactly fantastic and leasing makes sense in just about every other aspect. I’ve tried convincing my boss to take out a Alfa Romeo 4C business car lease, through the company, rather than giving me a pay rise! Fingers crossed.

Favourite Cars: Cadillac CTS

Cadillac’s CTS is a unique compact executive model with a distinctive style. The car is reasonably priced and offers a high level of standard kit. The car’s unique exterior design will definitely catch an eye or two.










European buyers may have an outdated perception of American cars. US car makers have come a long way in terms of vehicle dynamics, build quality and economy. The new Cadillac is definitely not the same as its ancestors.

Cadillac hopes to get a serious foothold in the highly competitive compact executive sector. The sector is dominated by BMWs, Audis and Mercedes’. Cadillac’s CTS will be tasked with tempting and attracting buyers who are often loyal to these other brands.

The CTS will attract plenty of attention with its unique exterior design. This sector of the market is conservative as the norm, and the Cadillacs flahy good looks will certainly not go unnoticed. The car also offers buyers more cabin space than rival brands, and rear-wheel drive. Cadillac also hopes come across to buyers with a more sporty appeal, and the company will face some stiff competition on that front as well.

The CTS will remain a rare sight thanks to conservative target markets. The CTS will be bought by an elite few who wish to be seen in something different ahead of class-leading dynamics.


The CTS won’t be a cheap car to run, and Cadillac doesn’t offer a diesel option. The dealer network is very small compared to rivals and could pose some inconvenience and additional expense on down the road. Resale values are questionable due to the vehicles anonimity outside the US.

Size matters in the compact executive class and the CTS’ cabin space will work in its favor. The car’s cabin space beats out that of its rivals and might be enough to attract a good number of buyers away from some of the better known brands. Cadillac has added several useful features such as cupholders, door bins and a useful sized glovebox. The boot is also a decent size for coping with luggage or family life.

The car’s main dials and controls are clear and easy to use. The car’s indicator stalks are easy to reach but could have been more intuitive. The rest of the car’s controls and dials are easy to find and do what you would expect them to. The car’s radio is easy enough to use, but the car’s sat-nav system looks a little messy due to the vast number of buttons surrounding it.

The car’s cabin is very comfortable. The car’s seats could be more supportive and can become a little uncomfortable on longer journeys.The seats do offer an impressive array of adjustment to suit most driver’s and passengers. The steering column only adjusts for rake, but rear legroom is better than most rivals. Engine and wind noise are successfully suppressed.

The CTS’ cabin provides excellent passenger space for both front and rear passengers. Head and legroom is generous all-round. Rear legroom is more than generous compared to rival brands. Boot space is also generous and will carry a good deal of luggage or other large items.

Parking the CTS is not too difficult thanks to light steering and good forward visibility. Reverse parking can be a little more difficult, but doesn’t take long to adjust. Parking is fairly straightforward and shouldn’t present much of a problem.

Life Style

Cadillac has delivered a very appealing driving experience. Steering could have been better and road imperfections also could have been dealt with a little moreeffectively, but other than that the CTS delivers an excellent driving experience. The 2.8 engine delivers above average performance, and the car’s auto transmission delivers a smoother ride.

The CTS would make an excellent family car. It provides plenty of passenger space and comfort for both forward and rear passengers. The car’s saloon boot will count against it when it comes time to carry strollers and extra large or odd shaped family items. The car’s posh interior will also not fair well when it comes to dealing with the abuse that small children can dish out.


This is not a good first car. The car is too expensive for most first time buyers and rear-wheel drive is not the best idea for a novice driver. The car is unlikely to be appealing to most first time buyers anyway.

Cadillac is a well-known and respected brand within the United States, but it is relatively unknown in Europe. Europeans tend to view American cars as having poor build quality and even worse fuel economy. The Cadillac CTS is an attractive car but the firm’s image will be judged based on future models.

Security and Safety

The car’s standard security features include remote central locking, an anti-theft system. The car will attract plenty of attention due to the limited numbers that are seen in the UK.

The car’s standard safety features include twin front, side and curtain airbags. The CTS also comes with anti-lock brakes, traction control and brake assist. The car also comes with a slip differential to help improve grip levels.

The Finishing Touches

The car’s standard audio unit includes an RDS radio plus a six-disc CD changer. The system includes eight-speakers and delivers excellent sound quality. The basic functions are duplicated on the car’s steeringwheel. The only available upgrade is to a sat-nav system with a large colour screen.

The CTS’ exterior design looks flattering in both light and dark colours. The cabin design is comprised of mostly black and makes the cabin appear too dark. The car’s leather upholstery and wood trim help to lighten things up a bit. Black plastic make the CTS’ interior a little on the oppressive side.



The Cadillac CTS has some very good features on offer, but as a whole the car is not really outstanding. The car does offer something different to the likes of BMW’s 3 Series, Audi’s A4 and Honda’s Accord. The car’s rear-wheel drive feature is unique and may attract some buyers to the brand. Cadillac has put forth a good first effort but will probably have to do a little better in order to steal customers away from some of the bigger brands.

Favourite Cars: Bentley Brooklands

With a stratospheric price-tag and more pulling power than any production car on the market, the Bentley Brooklands represents motoring aristocracy. It rates as one of the most desirable and expensive coupes money can buy, unfortunately my money wont stretch that far, I can just about afford to lease a Nissan Pixo.


Bentley Brooklands Car Review

The Bentley Brooklands has road presence in spades with large dimensions and a swish exterior that never fails to attract attention wherever it goes.

It captures hearts with a sweeping roofline and big wheels that touch base with the great Bentleys of the past.

That’s not to say that the Bentley Brooklands isn’t bang up to date. It is very much the 21st century luxury car with a host of expensive toys, striking tailpipes at the back and a jewel-style filler cap.

There is a bewildering array of top notch interior options to choose from in a cabin that is quite simply stunning.

The sense of occasion as you step into the car is just the start of the Bentley experience. To fire up the monstrous twin turbocharged engine is to experience a true sense of awe.

The 6.75-litre V8 power plant pumps out 530bhp and a massive 1,050Nm of torque. But these figures tell only part of the tale as the amazing bellow of the engine and terrific turbos add to the drama. Put the pedal to the metal and the nose rises as a wave of torque is unleashed and the Bentley Brooklands surges forward.

Obviously a car that is longer than a Ronnie Corbett joke takes a bit of getting used to – but once the sheer size of the thing has been assimilated then you will simply want to drive it all the time.


The cabin is a wonderful place to spend a journey. According to the manufacturer the Bentley Brooklands has the most spacious rear cabin of any coupe on the market thanks to a pair of electrically adjustable seats. It also has a light, airy, luxurious atmosphere that just oozes class.

The Bentley Brooklands has a remarkably stiff chassis so ride comfort is top notch while the handling is phenomenal in a car this big. Levels of grip are excellent but the car’s weight catches up with it if you start to throw it into corners. However, it’s almost obscene to even think of abusing a Bentley Brooklands in this manner and if the need is for fast cornering then buy a Ferrari.

There is a downside to the Bentley Brooklands and that is unsurprisingly the amount it costs to run. Both fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions are predictable dire, the only respite for rainforests being that relatively few Brooklands are being built and sold. But let’s face it, if you’ve got the loot to buy one, the cost of the fuel is going to be small potatoes indeed.


Life Style

Think Pemier League footballer, media mogul, or captain of industry and you’ll be in the ball park for the target market for the Bentley Brooklands.

The £25,000 deposit needed to secure an order is just the start. Even paying the balance on the £230,000 price-tag isn’t the end of it as the amazing carbon ceramic brake discs – vital to stopping such a huge car with 0-60mph time of just five seconds – cost an extra £19,650. There’s also a special set of wheels for a couple of grand and a ‘Flying B’ mascot that for a shade over £2,000 ducks out of danger before reappearing when its owner does.

The cabin is decked out with high quality wood, leather and shiny metal inserts. There’s also a knurled alloy shift lever for the six-speed automatic transmission that dominates the glorious centre console.

The array of luxurious interior options available with the Bentley Brooklands is truly astounding with a huge number of colour and trim combinations possible.

The idea is to make each Bentley Brooklands unique for every owner so no two cars will be the same.

As a general rule a Booklands buyer spends approximately £30,000 personalising the car.

Security and Safety

A car this desirable obviously is a tempting target for professional gangs stealing to order and the myriad of measures protecting the Bentely Brooklands reflects this.

Safety in a car this powerful is also a priority for Bentley with a raft of equipment designed to keep occupants safe in the event of an accident as well as hi-tech electronic aids to prevent it happening in the first place.

The Finishing Touches

It’s perhaps easier to say what the Bentley Brooklands doesn’t have. Jacuzzis, saunas and squash courts are a little thin on the ground, but every other car luxury is included – and if you think of any that are not I’m sure Bentley will move mountains in an attempt to include it.


Silverstone Rally day!

I’ve just returned from a day out to Silverstone with my brother Brian and boy did we have a blast. You get the chance to blow around a rally circuit in a top of the range Ford Fiesta which was absolutely thrilling to drive and complete with roll bars. I didn’t want it to end; they had to prise my little pincers from the steering wheel!


Brian was a little more reserved but I would not fancy paying the servicing costs after he had his way with poor Fiesta, though I guess they are built to take a bit of a thrashing. As much as I love Kelly the Ka, I must admit I have been browsing the web for a used Fiesta with dreams of getting deep under its bonnet, in an attempt to recreate the driving experience I enjoyed at the Silverstone Rally day.

For now though, I’m going to start saving for further racing experiences at Silverstone, as it was truly ace.


The Vauxhall Adam

Many people have passed the Vauxhall Adam off as just a smaller Corsa or simply the replacement for the Agila which is now sold as the Suzuki Splash. But Vaxhall would have you believe that this is their answer to a new fashion conscious breed of car that has spawned the likes of the Fiat 500. And you can see what they mean when they say that, it definitely bears a resemblance.

It is much smaller and compact in size than the kind of car you would find in the supermini MPV class such as the Nissan Note, so it isn’t one of those, and it becomes quite difficult to see where the Vauxhall Adam Fits in. It can’t really be pitched against any of the none mpv superminis either, such as the Ford KA or Hyundai i10 leaving the Adam and the Fiat 500 in a league of their own. Which begs the question of whether or not the Adam was a wise move from Vauxhall, as the Fiat 500 isn’t a car you really want to lock horns with considering the 500 is one of the UKs bestselling cars, and Vauxhall have the gall to price the Adam higher than the Fiat 500.

However as a car in its own right the Vauxhall Adam should be taken very seriously, very seriously indeed. If you are a young driver who isn’t really concerned with luggage space and practicality, you will find that the Vauxhall Adam does everything you need it to, what’s more, it does it all in style. There are only petrol engines available, and they all manage around 50-55 miles per gallon. It has done very well in numerous surveys so you can also expect the Vauxhall Adam to be pretty reliable.


In closing then, the Adam is aimed at a very niche market of buyers who are fashion conscious and probably without family. But it isn’t just a pretty face, it has plenty of brains to, and is fun to drive, especially on the city roads.

Best of British

Today as a look out of my window at the doom and gloom outside, I fancied perking myself up a bit so I’m going to have a little celebration, a celebration of all my favourite cars that have originated in the one and only Britain.

Jaguar E-Type

The Jaguar E-Type is one of the greatest things to ever come out Britain. It was a 60s icon which provoked kind words form Enzo Ferrari who said it was “the most beautiful in the world” and has since feature in the Austin Powers films as the shaguar. The E-Type was designed by Malcolm Sayer and they were assembled in Coventry. Malcolm Sayer was born in Norfolk and was one of the first designers to apply principles of aerodynamics to car design, an idea that was reflected in the Jaguar E-Type. The E type is such a timeless classic that a restored original would cost you more than £5m now, though after the recent introduction of the Jaguar F-Type (which was meant to be a modern day version) the E-Type is set to make a return, albeit brief, with Jaguar planning on making 6 from scratch, by hand, in Coventry! The sense of nostalgia is overwhelming.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

Second on my list of superior British cars is the Rolls-Royce Phantom, a name that has been used numerous times for different Rolls-Royce cars in the past, all the way back to the Rolls Royce Phantom I in 1925. All have been great, but I thought we should take a trip to the present day with the Phantom and explore the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe which came about in 2008, and underwent assembly at the Goodwood plant in West Sussex. Having said that I think I prefer the 2003 Phantom, it looks a little more old school and like a classic, so that is the picture I’m going to use.


Lotus Elise

The Lotus Elise is another car that has its origins in Norfolk, but this time Norfolk is where it was assembled. Production began in 1996 and it has been going strong ever since. It may not be up there at quite the same level as the Rolls Royce or the Jag, but it is incredibly unique to look at and I think it has a lot of potential, especially after seeing the third generation concept at the Paris motor show in 2010. I’ve got a feeling that in 50 years time the Elise will be a classic that we reminisce about, with second hand Lotus Elises from today going for millions because they are seen a British classics…. If you haven’t seen it check out the picture of the Lotus Elise Concept below.

 lotus elise

Well that’s all from me, I guess it’s back to staring out the window now whilst wishing I owned one of these. Maybe one day, for now though I will have to be content with my 7 year old Honda Civic… Kelly the KA is no longer with us. Lame.

Cars I have Driven

Hey everyone it’s Code Byter here and I thought I would share my vital statistics in my latest post, I’m not talking about the size of my chest or how tall I am, no, l am in fact talking about the different cars I have been lucky enough to experience, to give you a sense of how serious I am about my driving.


I’ll get things started with the best car I have ever had the pleasure of driving and that is the one and only Nissan GT-R. I did a track day at Silverstone in the GT-R and it absolutely blew me away, it was the second time I’d had a track so I reckon I was a bit more comfortable than my first one, making me a little more confident and able to enjoy the experience that little bit more. It was also my first time at Silverstone which made it that little bit more special. It does 0.62 in 3 seconds which is quite frankly astonishing, I’d barely had my foot on the pedal and I was already terrified in a good way. Its top speed sits at 193 km/h and whilst I never got to that out of it, the 127 km/h I did manage was more than enough to satisfy my need for speed.

The second car I’ve drove worthy of mentioning is the McLaren MP4-12C which was the car I took for a spin on my first ever track day at Blyton Park. Again it was a superb experience but I was just getting used to it when my 3 laps where up and I felt that I hadn’t achieved my full potential that day. The MP4 12C isn’t quite as quick off the mark as the GT-R capable of 0-60 in 3.3 seconds, but that was more than enough acceleration for my first track experience.

Another personal favourite was the Toyota GT86 that I got to have a go in at the Goodwood Drift experience which was super fun and allowed you to drive a car in a way that you never have before, on a low grip surface to really put your handling skills to the test. I wasn’t exactly a natural at the drifting but I got the idea after a while and it is something I would definitely give another go as it did make a nice change to the way I usually drive.

I have also been lucky enough to do a rally day at Silverstone where you go out in a Subaru Impreza and do 10 laps. This was much better than when I went out in the fiesta on a similar rally day (see first post). Driving the Impreza gave me a whole new appreciation for rally driving as I’ve never really enjoyed it too much as a sport, but having a go at it myself made me realise just how skilled these drivers are. It was another great experience despite some pretty poor weather conditions, and another thing I’d have another go at in a heartbeat. In fact I’m looking at booking another rally experience now in a second hand Subaru WRX.

download (1)Another car I am proud to say I have driven is the Maserati Grancabrio which was in a bit of a different setting to the others. I have a friend who works at a used car dealers that specialises in prestigious sports cars and they had one of these in stock, next thing I know he’s outside my house in it and we spent the whole day taking turns driving it and I must say it was a head turner. The Maserati Grancabrio did for me what countless hours in front of a mirror applying hair gel and buying new clothes couldn’t in seconds, the amount of heads we turned was phenomenal.

We also did the same thing in a second hand Lotus Exige they were selling as they had to take it across country to deliver it to a different garage, once again I was taken along for the ride and got the chance to give it a little drive. The experience wasn’t quite as special as the Maserati Grancabrio but in this case it wasn’t really about the car, I have no doubt that the Lotus Exige was better to drive that the Maserati, but there was just something about cruising around in a high end drop top in the sunshine.

Favourite Cars: TVR Cerbera

The TVR Cerbera is a stylish sports car that now offers additional practicality in the form of two rear seats. The Cerbera is still very appealing and offers a top speed of approximately 200mph. Although the Cerbera is not the most popular TVR, it is certainly a promising one.














The car’s seats are supportive and the cabin definitely has a sport feel. The car’s controls are all viewable through the steering-wheel and look very attractive. The switchgear is not always logically placed but it is always functional.

The car now provides rear seating. The low roof limits space and the rear seats are only adequate for seating children. Adults will feel much too cramped, and even children may feel too snug for prolonged periods.

The car’s interior is comprised mostly of vinyl, and the car’s ventilation system blows cool air in the face of the driver while blowing warm air to the rest of the cabin.

The car’s 4.0-litre engine delivers 350bhp making it a very good performer on the road. For more enthusiastic drivers the 4.6 V8 engine provides 420bhp and can go from 0-60mph in under four seconds.

The car’s steering is quick and the car lacks traction control. The ride is not the easiest and this is definitely not a good car for novice drivers.  The car’s lack of safety kit is disappointing.


The Cerbera offers a lot of performance for the asking price. Build quality could have been better though and insurance and fuel costs will be high. The car’s resale values aren’t great and buyers should keep in mind that they are paying so much for the performance being offered.

The Cebera offers limited cabin space. Front seats passengers will have adequate room for riding, and the rear seats are practical and useful, but due to limited space rear seat passengers should be children or shopping bags or even small pieces of luggage. The car’s boot also provides limited space.

The car’s controls and dials are all of good quality. They are all visible by the driver through the steering-wheel. All of the switchgear is functional and the layout is attractive, but not all of the controls are logically placed.

The Cerbera was not designed for comfort. The car’s seats are supportive and comfortable enough, but the car delivers a very rough ride and rear seats aren’t all that comfortable even for smaller passengers.

The car does deliver good accessibility. The doors are large and open wide providing a good aperture for easy loading. Accessing the rear seats is a little more difficult, but the boot is easily accessible and provides a practical storage area.

Parking the Cebera can be a little tricky due to limited rear vision and the car’s long bonnet. The car’s rearview mirror and side mirrors come in very handy while trying to park.

Life Style

The Cebera provides an excellent, fast, fun and exciting driving experience. The car looks great and handles well. The car is fast enough to take to the tracks but is designed more for on the road driving. The car’s rear seats add a touch of practicality but the car is still geared toward delivering a fast and enjoyable driving experience.

This isn’t a family car in any sense of the word. Children will not fit well in the car’s seats and the rear seats should only be used for occasionally. Limited cabin and boot space make it unsuitable to perform any real family duties. It could be used as a third car for a family just to have around for fun.

The Cebera is definitely not a good first car. It is too expensive and would be impossible for a new driver to ensure. There is too much power on hand for a novice driver and parking can be tricky.

The TVR Cebera has a good image; it’s fast and beautifully designed. The Cebera comes with a decent warranty, but build quality could have been better and the car’s reliability is questionable as well.

Security and Safety

The Cebera is a highly desirable sportscar, and will attract a lot of attention. The car will need a comprehensive security system to keep it safe; unfortunately, the car’s security kit is very lacking. The car comes equipped with an alarm and an engine immobilizer.

The car’s safety kit is very limited as well. The car comes equipped with seatbelts but doesn’t provide ABS, traction control or any seatbelts. This clearly isn’t enough safety given the car’s performance capabilities.

The Finishing Touches 

The car’s standard audio system provides good sound quality. The Cebera’s interior is of good quality. The car comes standard with vinyl trim. The car’s exterior design looks good in a variety of colours. Metallic colours always draw an extra bit of attention and provide better resale value.



The Cebera offers up to 420bhp and is a fast car by any standard. Insurance and running costs will be high but the car is being offered for a very reasonable price for a car in this class and offers good value for money considering the performance that’s on offer. When you come to buy your insurance on the Cebera it will obviously be a little more pricey than your typical cars especially if the insurance companies take into account the disappointing level of safety and security being offered. All in all the Cebera provides a very fast ride with good handling.

Hyundai i10 Prices Revealed

Hyundai has revealed prices for its new i10, which will go on sale in the UK towards the end of January 2014.

hyundi010The second generation i10 will be 80mm longer, 65mm wider and 50mm lower than its predecessor. It will be offered with two petrol engines: a 1.0-litre unit which will allow for acceleration from 0 – 62mph in 14.9 seconds, and a 1.2-litre unit which will complete the same run in 12.3 seconds. Top speeds will be 96mph and 106mph respectively.

There are three trim levels to choose from, with the entry-level S model costing from £8,345. It comes with 14-inch steel wheels, central locking, cloth trim, electric front windows, a CD player with USB input, daytime-running lights and a tilt adjust steering wheel.

Upgrading to SE trim, which is priced from £9,295, will get you remote central locking, electric rear windows, electric heated door mirrors, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, driver’s seat height adjustment and a black B-pillar.

hyundaii102014intTop-spec Premium trim cars start from £9,995, with the range-topping model costing £10,495. They’re equipped with 14-inch alloys, Bluetooth with voice recognition, steering wheel controls, LED daytime-running lights, front fog lights, rear speakers, door mirror indicators and a leather steering wheel.

Overall, the new Hyundai i10 will be slightly more expensive than the current model, but its release should also contribute to a fall in the price of used i10 vehicles. Listings are at CarVillage.co.uk and CarDealerLocator.co.uk.


Kelly the Ka's 13th birthday

Kelly the Ka’s 13th birthday

Good day, my (nick) name is The Code Byter! I plan on keeping this blog running in order to discuss my true passion… Cars. I am your typical petrol head and I drive a second hand Ford Ka, sure it’s not the most reliable car in the world but it offers much more in the way of personality and character and constantly keeps me on my toes in the garage, something which I welcome rather than begrudge.

I am obtaining many skills thanks to the demands of my Ka, I have mastered all the basics and can now replace my own headlights, air-filter, spark plugs and I am sure my Ka will force me to learn something new before too long.

It has passed its MOT check over 10 times and it fills me with pride to think that when I bought it, the previous owner slashed the cost and warned me that it probably wouldn’t last too long.