MR EXCLUSIVE: City Council pays out BIG to maintain civic limousines


How does £185 for a jump start sound? Or £859.78 on maintaining a car for less than 170 miles?

We’d say that’s pretty outrageous – but Motoring Research can exclusively reveal that these are the figures Leicester City Council has paid to run its Jaguar Sovereign Majestic civic limousine.

The news comes after the Leicester Mercury reported that the city council was replacing its Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz S 430 L with a Toyota Avensis.

We’re curious types here at MR, so when the Mercury reported that the council’s old limos were costing £16,000 a year to run, we just had to find out what went wrong with them.

A freedom of information request was fired off, and here are some facts, figures and a few rough calculations for you to enjoy:

  • Over the last year, a total of £50.19 has been spent fuelling the Jaguar. We reckon – with its 4.0-litre straight six engine – it’ll manage around 20mpg, perhaps significantly less in town. That means it’ll have covered no more than 170 miles over the last year.
  • Within the same period it’s cost £859.78 in maintenance. That’s over £5 a mile in maintenance alone. Repairs include a flat battery (£185 for a jump start – the battery was tested and fine) and £674.48 on a service and MOT. For the MOT the ageing Jag needed a new power steering pipe and, at the same time, the air conditioning was re-gassed.
  • Over the last three years the Sovereign Jag covered less than 4,000 miles and cost £1,802 in maintenance (more than 45p per mile). That’s solely on services and MOT work. Oh, and a £13.12 wiper blade.
  • Within the last year, the Mercedes has consumed £1,397.15 worth of unleaded. With a combined MPG of 23, that’s around 5,500 miles. In that time it’s cost £1,641.49 in maintenance.
  • Over the last three years the Mercedes has cost £5,541 in maintenance. During the same period of time, it’s covered 23,159 miles – that’s 24p a mile in maintenance. A bargain compared to the Jaguar.
  • In June of this year, £976.64 was spent replacing the leaking NSF suspension strut on the Mercedes. Four tyres were replaced last year at the cost of £506.24.

If the council replaced the two cars with newer versions of the same cars, they could have bought a 5.0-litre LWB Jaguar XJ Supersport for £95,870 – and managed 24.4 miles to the gallon. The Supersport will reach 62mph in 4.9 seconds and a maximum speed of 155mph.

Alternatively, going down the German route, we think an S 500 L AMG would be adequate for the lord mayor – with a price tag of £88,130. That’ll achieve 27.9mpg, but probably not while accelerating to 62mph in 4.4 seconds and reaching its electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

So, it would seem that replacing the Mercedes and Jaguar with a new Toyota Avensis is a sensible move. Not only should it be better on the reliability front, but buying something built in the East Midlands will be excellent PR for the council.

However, we can’t help but wonder why they didn’t go down the electric or hybrid route: for covering short distances around the city, something like the Auris hybrid would keep emissions down – AND it’s built down the road at Toyota’s Burnaston plant. A win/win on the PR front.

What do you think? Is Leicester City Council right to swap these two limos for a Toyota Avensis? Should it have done it sooner, rather than paying out extravagant maintenance costs to keep the two old limousines running?

And is the council right not to sell the ABC 1 and 1 ABC number plates that adorn the two limos? Leave us a comment below…

Web editor at Drives a 1983 Austin Metro. Tweet me @MR_AndrewBrady.

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