Ok then, one down, eleven to go!
As soon as I received the documents from the DVLA I figured that the best thing I could do was to put a for sale ad in the rear, and side windows, and just drive about in the hope that someone might see it and try to buy it from me. Unfortunately for me this didn't happen, and so I decided to put an ad on Gumtree for the Frontera, and included a small selection of photos, nothing fancy, just some pretty basic record type photos taken of it in a car park. I wanted the photos to be clear, and show the Frontera at its best, but still honestly. I didn't want to try and hide anything as I wanted whoever was going to be interested in it to be able to see exactly what it looks like. I didn't really want to list it on the bay of E, mainly because of the messers who infest it, and make sellers lives a misery by winning things, then never turning up to collect them. I'd never tried Gumtree before, so I thought I'd give it a shot.
I thought that as my original purchase price was £580, I would put it up for £650 to leave room for a little haggling. Within five minutes of listing it, I had already had a couple of texts from people offering me a hundred quid, and they would pick it up tonight! Erm, yeah, right-e-o then, come and get it... NOT!! I honestly struggle to understand these people, and I genuinely believe that if I had actually said, OK to them, then I still would've never heard from them again! The other thing is, all these texts were in text-speak, which personally I hate, honestly, why would you write "100kwid m8 n il pik t up 2nite" I honestly despise text speak, I look upon it as mindless babble from an under-educated zombie nation! Anyway, despite this I still thought that I should respond as I think its both bad manners, and bad form not to, so I simply text back "no thankyou" and, as I expected, I never heard from them again. I thought that from here on in, in my future car ads I shall stipulate that I will only answer phonecalls, as I feel that this may possibly deter the people who aren't so serious in buying my car.
However, eventually, after my ad had been up there for three days I did get a phone call from a chap who wanted to come and have a look at it in three or four days time. I said that would be OK, but in the back of my mind I felt this was really going nowhere, as who wants to come four days after making contact? However, four days later the fella arrived with his mate, and gave the Frontera a bit of a looking over.
The good news was that it was just what he was looking for, and he liked it. Then the inevitable haggling which I sort of feel is part of the fun in buying a used car started. I had it advertised for £650, and he wanted to pay £500, which I guess is fair enough, but that does put me out of pocket to the tune of £80, which is not really ideal! So eventaully, after a little bit of haggling we settled on £550, and he was off down the road. Now, unfortunately for me, this did make me out of pocket by £30, which is irritating, but as with all hobbies no matter what they are, they do all cost money. Besides which, a lot of my friends have a hobby called smoking, which I do not participate in. But the average price of a pack of smokes (back in 2015) is apparently £8.47, most of my friends who do smoke, smoke between 20 and 40 a day, so if we say the average is to smoke 30 a day, that costs them £12.70 a day, or £88.90 a week!! Thinking about my little loss like this I can just about justify my £30 loss to myself by saying to myself that if I was a smoker, then I would have lost another £58.90 a week smoking! Incidentally, if you do happen to be a smoker who enjoys on average 30 smokes a day, it's costing you about £4622.80 a year, that would be a pretty cool ride in your drive instead, which I think is certainly something to think about!!
Anyway as usual I'm rambling, so I'll try to get back to the point! What was it like owning a Vauxhall Frontera?
Well, it was pretty good actually. Starting with the looks of the thing, I think, and have always thought that they look pretty cool, I like the chunky looks of it. I realise that mine was a bit scruffy around the edges, had the odd rust blister, and a slightly mis-matched bonnet. But to be honest, every time I looked at it I felt happy about owning it, I even liked that it has a black bonnet.
Under that black bonnet was a 2.0 litre petrol engine, which was OK, it had plenty of power, even enough to get a bit of a drift going on a piece of private piece of land! For what most of these soft-roaders are used for the 2.0 litre engine was perfect. I must admit, I didn't really try it off road, although in typical city 4x4 ownership style I did park on the grass verge outside my folks house, and it was ideal for that, I didn't even have to put it in four wheel drive or anything!
When I picked up the Frontera its odometer read 139590, and when it left me for pastures new it's odometer now reads 139978 meaning that in my month of ownership I have managed to travel 388 miles. This cost me £100 in petrol which amounted to 93.56 litres, or in English, 20.58 Gallons. Therefore, what this means is that on average I was getting 18.85 mpg!! OK, I'll admit that this is possibly not the best mpg figure I've ever seen (still better than that damn Aixam though!), and according to Parkers website I should've been getting about 23 mpg from a 2.0 liter injected Frontera Sport, but heck, it's an old car, it's been a long way, and most of my driving with it was on the school run, and around town, and thats never great for your mpg!
Inside the car was a pretty nice place to be, although the drivers seat does probably need some attention as the seat base has collapsed, but that being said, it wasn't uncomfortable. The dashboard was clean and uncluttered, and everything worked. The only thing that did niggle me a bit was that the switches for the electric windows were down by the handbrake. Every time I tried to open the windows I found myself wondering what idiot decided that the center console was a good place to put them? Why would you not put them on the door? Thats where you'd put the handles if you had 'keep-fit' windows! Mind you, that's pretty much the only thing I really had to moan about so it can't have been too bad!
In the back my two little Monsters had acres of room! Infact, we've had a couple of so called BIG American cars in the past, and even a fairly big Dodge pick up, but I think that this little Frontera is the first car we've had where the kids can't kick me in the back while we're driving along! This is a feature I liked, a lot! Of course, this didn't mean that they didn't poke and kick each other to annoy one another as I drove along the road. But I guess you've got to be thankful for small mercies!
The boot could've been bigger, but then ofcourse by sacrificing room in the boot, it means that I'm not being kicked in the back by my two little Monsters, so I guess I can live with a small boot! Besides, the rear door has a feature that I've never had in a car before...
The rear window rolls down!! So anything that is really big, like this bed frame for instance, can still be transported, it's just that it can poke out the back a little! Admittedly this did also mean that I had to have the back seats down, so I couldn't take my two little Monsters with me, but then if I was planning to collect something of this sort of size anyway I probably wouldn't take the kids with me in the first place.
To conclude I can say that I really enjoyed my time with my Frontera, short as it was! The drive was a bit bouncy and choppy due to its short wheelbase, and high centre of gravity, but driving it put a smile on my face every time, and I always felt like I was driving a full scale version of Tamiyas Wild Willys!
I know they look nothing alike, but thats how I felt while I was driving it!
I don't really have much 4x4 vehicle experience to draw from, my only 4x4s being a couple of Range Rovers, and I don't think it was anywhere as good off road as they were, but thats not what these cars are about. They're about blatting about the leafy suburban streets, and running about like any normal family car. But that being said, I think if it had a big set of knobbly tyres, and not fat road tyres it would've been better off road, maybe on par with the Range Rover due to being lighter, and a shorter wheelbase! But as most people who own this type of car never go near anything more off road than parking on a verge, it was perfectly adequate as it was. But, would I have another one? Yes I would, but maybe the next one should have a bigger engine, and maybe a bit of a lift, and some big knobbly tyres! I'd like to see just how good at going off road this little car could be. I really think that it would be surprising just how capeable off road the Frontera could be. Plus, I reckon it would look pretty damn cool as an off roader. But that being said, it would probably be just as cool to go the other way. Y'know, big engine, slam it on the ground, and add some big rims with huge low profile rubber, I reckon that would look pretty damn awesome, and with the Fronteras small square footprint with a wheel at each corner it would probably handle quite well too!
So thats the first one bought, experienced, enjoyed, and now sold. Hopefully the second car of the year will be as much fun... NEXT!!