Time For An Update – Big Changes in 2022

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It seems like since 2016, there has been no such thing as a ‘normal’ year and so far 2022 has certainly created a whole new mix of challenges for us all, and as such, we have all had to make some changes in our lives – some bigger than others, of course.

Last year we had an incredible year with the consignment business here at Well Driven with over 60 cars sold for our clients all over the UK and even though we are still very much still running the service, this year has thrown up many, many challenges. With rising fuel costs, the cost of living crisis, and stock availability creating some particularly large obstacles, I decided I needed some more stability in my life. To add to this, my partner and I decided to buy our first home this year – so with all this going on, there was only one thing for me to do… So I put on my big boy pants, brushed my hair, and went out to get a job.

Fortunately, a job found me before I even thought about the minefield that is various recruitment agents and job-seeking apps, and after a few weeks of interviews and presentations, I found myself working in the automotive department of a very prestigious and high-end UK-based audio company. Given that my two biggest passions in life are cars and music, this really did feel like a match made in heaven.

Saying goodbye to the L322 was a tough decision and I miss it every day.

I have now been working for this business for 6 months and I have to say, I have loved every day I have been there. The only real downside to this new position is the commute. I’ve gone from working at home for two years with only the odd trip out to a client or partner’s lunch to driving 30 miles each way five days a week. When diesel is as good as £2 per litre and your Range Rover only gets 22mpg, some tough decisions need to be made.

As much as I didn’t want to say goodbye to the big L322 – which was a car I’d wanted to own for years – the decision was much easier to make than I originally expected. It also sold quickly, which really helped. So, in the space of three weeks, I had moved into our new house, started a new full-time job, sold my Range Rover, and purchased a much more sensible replacement.

Picking a replacement started off as quite a tricky task – whatever I ended up in had to be cheap to tax – ideally £30 or less a year – it had to return at least 55mpg, it had to big enough to get the dog in and a few extra adults when needed, but I also had to like it and at least some interest in the car. What started as a very long list of possible options soon got whittled down to three choices; a mk7 Golf diesel, and BMW 120d, and an Audi A3 Sportback. Straight away, the only Golfs that were available and in my budget were dull and low spec and just never really did anything for me, so that was removed from the list leaving me with either an Audi A3 or a BMW 1-series.

I have owned a 1-series before, it was the most expensive car I’ve ever bought and the only car I’ve ever purchased new from a main dealer back in 2010 and it was a brilliant car. The problem I faced this time around was a smaller budget and far less time to get something sorted. There were many potential options out there for me, but most were either on the other side of the country or were missing certain deal-breaker options. I had a similar problem with the Audi. Many were miles away, others had been modified in some interesting ways and many just didn’t have the spec I wanted. And then on a grey and overcast day, whilst waiting to board a flight to my parents’ place in Spain, I found the one.

Misano Red really is a lovely shade and the S-line spec gives the little A3 a nice and sporty look.

Whatever I bought, it had to be an automatic as my new commute is an hour of slow-moving traffic each way. It also had to be either an M-sport if a BMW or an S-line if an Audi and I really didn’t want another black or grey car. So when I saw this bright ‘Misano Red’ Audi A3 Sportback S-line with a black half-leather interior and just about all the options I wanted, I knew I had to have it.

Having worked in the car industry for many years and also spent the last year working with car sales, I obviously knew what I had to do to make sure I made a sensible purchase, and that was to call the garage, make an offer and pay the deposit over the phone and essentially buy the car completely blind after looking at it for no more than an hour online. I explained to the garage that I was quite literally about to board a flight and that I would be out of the country for a week and they kindly agreed to prep the car for me so it would be ready for me to collect the following Sunday as I was due back in the UK on Saturday night.

Fortunately, when I did finally get to the garage to collect the car, it was exactly as described and in very good condition so I was more than happy to take the keys and get on my merry way n my shiny little red hatchback. It’s now been 5 months since I picked the Audi up and so far, so good. Everything works, it’s nice and comfortable, the little four-pot diesel engine has plenty of poke to keep me happy, and after nearly 6,000 miles of driving, I’m still averaging a frugal 60mpg.

As I said earlier, even though I am now working full-time in automotive audio now, I am still running Well Driven and we are still managing the sales of all the vehicles listed on the site and constantly looking for more. I am also still writing and reviewing cars for the website and I even have a column over at Redline Magazine. Obviously, my day job comes first, but as I get more settled in my new role and my new home, etc, there will be plenty more content to come.

Still to come…

I have at least two more car reviews to post here including the Rolls Royce Dawn Black Badge and, as always, I’m hoping to bring the website even more for 2023.