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Took delivery this week of my new car arranged by Howlett Leasing. Didn't have a clue what was the best option for me after having a company car for the last 15 years but my excellent contact at Howletts explained everything I needed to know to make an informed decision. Great range of cars available at amazing prices which I couldn't beat anywhere else, added with great service made dealing with Howlett a pleasurable experience. I will certainly be using Howletts again and recommending their services to friends and colleagues.

Jeremy Pinnock

Fantastic service from Stacey, when i ordered my car I was told because of the colour/trim choice I made that no vehicles of that colour/spec in UK. It would have to be a factory order and delivery would not be until December, we decided to wait as the colour was fantastic on that model.

So imagine my surprise when Stacey got in contact and said 'your car is ready when do you want it delivered', this was at the end of October a couple of months earlier than expected!

Thank you Stacey for all your hard work, and great service over the past few months, and for getting it for us at a very good price.

We highly recommend you to anyone thinking of getting a new car soon....First Class.

Mr Peter Cole, Manningtree

I have just had my Audi Q3 delivered on a business contract hire lease.
I would like to thank Stacey for all her patience in helping me to decide on this car and then finding it promptly for me.

Debbie Rosson, Essex

I have just taken receipt of our new lease car from Howlett Leasing. Stacey has been very helpful and responsive. She took the time to guide me through the process to find the best deal for me. I would not hesitate to recommend them.'

Alice Whitney, Harrow

I have just taken delivery of my Audi A1 on a Personal Contract Purchase, Stacey dealt with and organised it all very swiftly for me. A nice car at a very reasonable price per month - perfect!

Karen Williams from St Ives

Howlett Leasing is superb and Stacey is great to deal with - she’s very patient and has a great selection of cars. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to others! I love my Peugeot. Thanks

P Wilby, Sudbury

I would like to thank Stacey @ Howlett Leasing for delivering excellent customer service from start to end.

Tracy Dolan - Molly Maid, Glasgow

Delighted with my new car and thank you to Stacey who organised it all for me in her usual patient and efficient way.

Eric Britt, Cambs

This is the second L200 leased through Stacey at Howlett Leasing, I was pleased with all her help and her fast response to what we wanted.

Ricki Stevens, Aldershot, Glous

This is my second personal lease from Howlett Leasing. Stacey searched endlessly for the best deal for me and ensured I got the car I wanted at a price I can afford. I highly recommend personal leasing - cars lose their value so quickly, leasing takes this into account and allows me to pay less than I would on a bank loan and get a brand new car every 2 or 3 years. Thank you once again Stacey and team.

Jeanna Suckling, Norfolk


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Petrol or diesel: which fuel is the better choice for your next car?

A question of growing importance, so we are here to help you pick a winner for your driving style.  Leaving Electric Vehicles to autonomously wander the roads for a bit, the debate of whether to buy a diesel or petrol car is still a tough one to answer.

There are benefits to both, but when buying a new car it can be difficult as manufacturers have reduced much of the deficit, in terms of economy, between petrol and diesel engines. This guide is here to help  weigh up the positive and negatives of petrol versus diesel, so you can pick the right car to buy. It doesn’t matter if it is the new family wagon, company car, or a B road warrior, below you will find all you need to know to help make your mind up between an oil-burner and unleaded engine unit.

 We should however, acknowledge the elephant in the room before going any further. Diesel has, in recent times, had a bit of a kicking in terms of its environmental impact. What’s more,there is the potential for diesel cars to be phased out from our roads in the next few decades. However, we've covered these new issues here, too, so you can make a judgement call on which is the right fuel for you.

The guide below helps match your driving style to either a petrol or diesel car.  You can then use this to help you decide whether to purchase a petrol or diesel-engined car next time you come to buy.

Performance Diesel engines used to be noisy, smelly and generally unrefined. That’s far from the case today, and while some may get clattery when revved hard, or rattle at idle - especially when it's cold - it’s rarely enough of an issue to be a deal-breaker. Modern cars usually have a fair amount of sound deadening around the engine bay to help mask engine noise, so even if a new diesel car sounds a bit gruff from the outside, it's likely the occupants will hardly be aware of the noise.

The biggest difference in driving character between a petrol and a diesel engine is that diesels tend to rev lower, because they deliver their torque earlier in the rev range. This power band is usually relatively narrow when compared to a petrol engine, too, but as there's plenty of torque on offer, a diesel is highly flexible even in higher gears – so you may not need to change down to overtake on a motorway.

Petrol engines tend to need to be revved higher in order to extract maximum performance. However, with many manufacturers now switching to turbocharged engines, this is less of an issue as engineers are designing these units with the turbo spooling up at low revs, and thereby replicating somewhat the torquey power delivery of a diesel. The lazy flexibility of a diesel is well suited to motorway cruising, but given sufficient reserves of torque and power, many modern diesels have all the performance they need to out muscle a petrol equivalent on a British B road too. With so much of their effort delivered at low revs, they’re generally superior for heavy loads and towing duties as well.

However, as we mentioned, the latest generation of turbo petrol engines are closing the gap on this kind of power delivery, so shouldn't be ruled out entirely. The performance diesel is an intriguing addition to the sports car ranks. The closest you can get to this is either fast versions of SUVs, or there are a few diesel hot hatchbacks on offer as well.  But, when you compare them to their petrol equivalents, it's clear that the performance diesel still has a little way to go to match its petrol bretherin in performance figures alone. Take the Ford Focus ST, for example. The ST with the 185PS TDCi diesel manages 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds, but the 250PS EcoBoost petrol is clearly faster, taking 6.5 seconds to hit 0-62mph. The difference is in economy, where the diesel has a claimed average of 67.3mpg, while the petrol manages 41.5mpg. If that's your thing, then go for the TDCi, but you pay a £1,200 premium for the diesel, and if fuel savings are your chief concern, then why are you looking at an ST diesel in the first place?

Purchase price and residual values. 

Manufacturers have invested huge amounts of development cash into diesel engines in recent years, and most experts would agree they tend to feature technology that’s more expensive to replace than their petrol equivalents. High-pressure diesel components like fuel pumps and common rail injector systems are much more expensive to engineer than simpler petrol equivalents, and this is factored into the purchase price. On average a modest family car with a diesel engine will cost around £1,500 more to buy than its petrol-engined sister model, and as a rough rule of thumb will be worth around £750 to £1,000 more when it comes to reselling it (assuming a typical ownership cycle of three years and 30,000 miles).

Running costs

Petrol is usually a little cheaper than diesel at the pumps, but diesel engines are generally more efficient than petrol by a considerably higher margin. That means a diesel model will almost certainly be cheaper to keep filled up, even if you only do an average mileage. Motoring experts have calculated that a supermini-sized car will only save around £250 in fuel costs over three years if you average 10,000 miles annually. Move up to a family sized hatchback like a Ford Focus or a VW Golf and the savings increase to nearer £500, while if you pick a medium sized SUV like the Nissan Qashqai the diesel saving could be closer to £900.

Clearly, given the price differentials involved, it makes most sense to pick a diesel if you’re driving significantly more miles than the average 10k per year, and especially if you’re doing it in a larger than average car. If your mileage is only average, the cost of buying and selling tends to even things out, and there’s usually no financial advantage in buying the pricier diesel. This unlikelihood of making fuel savings with a diesel becomes even more significant if you’re shopping for a used car outside of its warranty period, as you’ll also have the prospect of more expensive diesel repairs. The latest diesel technology doesn’t come cheap, and faulty fuel pumps, injectors and particulate filters are all potential expenses that petrol car owners don’t have to face.

Emissions and the environment.

The environmental impact of diesel engines has been called into question in recent months. When lawmakers, in their wisdom, decided to impose car tax structures based on CO2 emissions, it was clearly a move that favoured diesel engines. CO2 is linked to global warming, and while diesel cars emit less of it than petrol cars, the waters have become rather muddied in recent years with the Volkswagen ‘diesel gate’ scandal and its ripple-effect.

Diesels are good on CO2, but they produce lots of other nasties like nitrous oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons and particulates that are linked to asthma and other respiratory conditions. Many experts now consider the CO2-based tax system to have been ill-considered and there's a push for tighter controls on the exhaust emissions that diesel cars produce more of. In the US where controls on NOx and particulates in exhaust emissions are tighter, diesel cars made up only 3 per cent of total sales in 2014, whereas more than half of the cars sold in the UK had diesel engines.

One advantage that diesel has given up is its Road Tax savings. A restructure in April 2017 saw the CO2-based road tax bands that owners were subject to dropped in favour of a three-tier approach that sees only zero-emissions electric vehicles costing less than £40,000 paying zero road tax. Diesels now pay the same rate as petrol cars, whether it's £140 for cars that cost less than £40k, or £450 for ones above that threshold. Today, there's a distinct move away from diesel as a power source for new cars, as buyers turn to petrol, while company car buyers are starting to embrace the tax benefits of plug-in petrol-electric hybrid models, too. • Company car tax guide 2016: all you need to know Petrol or diesel?

The Verdict

Many drivers love the mid-range flexibility and pulling power that a diesel car delivers. They also feel smug during their rarer visits to the filling station, even if a new or used diesel is unlikely to make sense on a purely economic basis unless it's driven considerably more miles than the UK annual average. Enthusiast 'purists' enjoy the smoother, free-revving nature of a petrol engine while everyone else will enjoy the refinement and avoid the extra costs of all the extra tech that diesels need to make them clean and efficient. The reality is that legislation is starting to put diesel out of favour, although if you're spending more on a car, the financial penalties aren't quite as harsh as they are for small cars.

The answer in the great petrol vs diesel debate was that it depended on how you used your car and what you wanted from it. Now, it's not quite as clear-cut. Each fuel type still has its strengths and weaknesses while there are good and bad engines on both sides of the fence, too, but at this early stage it remains to be seen if diesel will be legislated against to discourage sales in the future. At the moment your best bet is to weigh up the pros and cons above according to how you use your car and use the Auto Express reviews to make sure that whatever car you buy is a good one, plus taking into account the monthly leasing costs, whilst keeping an eye on potential changes to legislation in the future.

Article featured in Auto Express, 15th September 2017.

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Posted on 16th November 2017 at 12:40 PM

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