Ask the expert: ‘I divide my time between the US and the UK – should I buy a car in the UK?’

As the Telegraph's motoring expert, I weigh in on your car dilemmas to save you money and make your driving life easier

Stuart G W Price
Should we lease for each six-month period instead? Credit: Stuart G W Price

Dear Alex,

I spend six months a year in Florida and six months here in the UK. I average 3,000 miles, mainly short journeys, during the latter. 

I own a Kia Soul, which I want to change for another EV on our return from Florida next April. Should we buy outright in the UK (say, a new Volkswagen ID.3), or lease for each six-month period, rather than the car depreciating in the garage while we’re in the US. What do you think?

- TP 

Dear TP,

I’ll get out the calculator. Were you to buy yourself a new ID.3 Pro with the smaller 58kWh battery – all you’d need for your shorter journeys – it’d cost you £37,115. Residual value predictions from CAP put the ID.3’s value at three years and 30,000 miles at £19,625; with only 9,000-odd miles on it, let’s be generous and boost that to £23,000. 

Then there’s servicing – a Volkswagen three-year service plan on an ID.3 is a staggering £360 (given there isn’t much to do when servicing an EV). 

Then there’s insurance; let’s say each six-month policy costs £100. In total that’s £14,775 over three years. UK lease companies don’t tend to operate contracts of less than two years, so your best bet would be to use a subscription service. These allow you to rent a car, bundled together with insurance and maintenance, on a rolling contract of a month at a time. Onto is one such service, and it specialises in electric cars. 

Others are available, but I’ll use them as an example as they rent out the ID.3. The only ID.3 they offer is the Pro Performance version, which gets you a bigger battery with more range. Mileage is limited to 750 a month, more than enough for your relatively short trips. 

The price is £659 a month (or throw in inclusive public charging for £699); three blocks of six months, to take you to the same three-year period of ownership you’d otherwise be looking at, will therefore cost you £11,862. The big plus is that you get a new car each time you come back to the UK. 

You can also pick a different car if you don’t like the one you rented the first time around. And you get the added bonus of being able to take advantage of newer, more efficient battery technology as and when it emerges. I reckon renting your car through a subscription service each time you return is a no-brainer.

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