Having let go of our Range Rover, we were on the look-out for a three-row SUV that could fit up to 7 people. Requirements change, and now that my second child was born a month ago, I’d have run out of space once my parents come to stay with us for babysitting duties. Car-shopping is easily one of the most awful processes you can go through, especially when it comes to used cars. However, the bigger story is why we bought this 2014 Nissan Patrol LE — with zero mileage and a full dealer warranty!
Mind you, before we settled on a Nissan Patrol, we played out a whole host of scenarios in our heads. Would another more-reliable 5-seater SUV be enough? Do we just rent a 7-seater as needed? Do we just beg for a 7-seater from a carmaker as a pointless 2-month long-termer?
Well, we started off shopping for used Jeep Grand Cherokee SRTs, Range Rover Sports, BMW X5s and Mercedes-Benz G55 AMGs. There were several listed on various classifieds websites, but we only went to see a handful of them. Most of their stories weren’t particularly enticing on the phone, with skipped services, vague ownership histories and no admissions of accidents, even though clearly visible in photos.
We then switched to looking at cars at prominent used-car dealerships. The used car dealers continue to be a joke. We saw one 2012 Jeep SRT with new “Deestone” tyres, hardly the top name in performance rubber, so who knows where else they skimped. We saw a 2014 Range Rover Sport with a repaint so comprehensive that they forgot to put most of the badges back on. We saw a 2010 Mercedes G55, which this self-proclaimed “premium” dealer tried to blackmail us into buying by initially refusing to return our “test-drive” deposit, which they had clearly told us was refundable. Even worse, the G-Wagen had no service history, and they told us they can just go down to the dealer and get the service booklet stamped because they have insiders there. We still made an offer, and they refused it. We eventually got our money back after raising our voices slightly. They advertised the car two weeks later at our original asking price, but we weren’t going back there again. As for the various 2014 BMW X5 models, we simply lost interest, having never driven one and not having the desire to psycho-analyse their current owners on why they are selling.
We then started hitting the official dealer-affiliated outfits. We went to the one-and-only Automall, made an offer on their ridiculously marked-up Jeep SRT and the salesman didn’t even bother negotiating, choosing to let their car sit and fester for months instead. It’s still there, if you want to pick one up for 20% above market value. Skimming through the ads for certified-preowned Range Rovers and Nissan Patrols, we figured it’d be the same story with the other dealers as well.
That was the first time we even thought of Patrols, and we finally settled on it as the ideal family bus to carry seven people and two prams, while being just premium enough to get some road respect. We started trawling through ads for “Y62” Patrols, with a vague budget of Dhs 100,000, or maybe even Dhs 150,000. We can afford a new one, but we’d rather put our money into property — you know, something that makes money and doesn’t depreciate. However, we ended up coming up with the same type of junk that hounded us in our earlier search. Most used Patrols are high-mileage, poorly-maintained or just had plain mysterious histories.
After a while, my buddy Asif contacts me. He works at the Nissan dealer’s pre-owned division, is a follower of our website, and he had sold us that Renault Safrane back in 2010. He tells me (on Whatsapp!) he heard I’m shopping for Patrols. I said I wanted an LE since it has the better 400 hp engine, and I wanted at least one trim-level above the base LE, so I can get the integrated multimedia system instead of the ratty aftermarket-looking one they stuff in the base models. That’s all. Unnecessary navigation, leather and “city” bumpers be damned.
As luck would have it, he had a 2014 Patrol LE in the exact spec that I preferred, that too in a colour I would’ve picked if I bought new. And to top it off, it was a “zero-mileage” leftover car! Asif tells me there is a Ramadan offer coming up, so it will be further discounted from their Dhs 222,000 advertised price. A new one costs Dhs 262,000 at least. I was then negotiating with him on Whatsapp without even seeing the car.
In under an hour, we finally settled on a cash price that was even more eye-poppingly lower. Let’s just say, with the money I saved on a new model, I could buy another Honda S2000. This is without any “under-the-table” media discounts that many carmakers give journalists, but we don’t want to disclose the final price as we might single-handedly kill resale values of Patrols in the UAE inadvertently. We were just shopping in the right place at the right time. The next day, we just wrote a cheque at the new Arabian Automobiles used cars showroom on Ittihad Road, and picked up the car a week later. This is as hassle-free as used-car buying can get.
So there you have it. We now own a brand new 2014 Nissan Patrol LE with a 4-year leftover warranty. As part of Nissan’s certified programme, they even threw in new Bridgestone tyres without asking, as the old unused ones had flatspotted. It’s my first “new” car, and while it’s not as luxurious as my old Range Rover, it at least gives me peace-of-mind for the next several years as a family bus for my kids. Even if I bought it on a Whatsapp chat.