As with our previous article – ‘Buying a Used Car: Your Important Check List’, this article is all about how to choose the right car for you and your family. With so many different cars out there, it can be a mind boggling task at best. How do you go about separating which car will work out to be the best choice for you? If you decide on what it is you want from a car and setting your budget, you are able to narrow down these choices and end up with the car of your dreams. Here are our tips:
Setting Your Budget
When you set your budget for a new or used car, you should consider also the ongoing costs, such as replacement tyres, fuel, car tax and general maintenance. It is no good buying a car that puts you just within your budget if further down the road you find that the tyres are too expensive when it comes to passing your MOT. Also, check how much value the car will lose over time. Have a look at adverts for older versions of the car you’re looking to buy as a rough indicator.
How Much is the Petrol?
Obviously, you will want to buy a car that uses less fuel than one that drinks it. These days, most modern economical cars will cover more than 70 miles per gallon, although you may have to consider a diesel. Some cars, like the Volkswagen Polo Bluemotion have been specially tuned to deliver good fuel economy, and part petrol-part electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius are getting more economical all the time.
What about the Road Tax?
From March 1, 2001, all road tax is based on how much CO2 a car emits. There are 13 tax bands from A to M which group emission and each has a different cost. In general, the more CO2 a car emits, the more it will cost to tax. If you buy a new car you will also have to pay a higher first year rate of tax, which is called showroom tax. Cars registered before March 1, 2001 only have two rates of tax – a lower rate for cars below 1,549cc (more commonly known as 1.5- or 1.6-litre) and a higher rate for those above it.
What will the car be used for?
Consider what you want the car to be used for. If it is for everyday use and you will be driving plenty of miles in it, you’ll want something that is comfortable, roomy and possibly with some extras such as air con, stereo and a good suspension. If you want more of a sporty car then a sports suspension and huge alloy wheels will fit the bill but not necessarily be that comfortable to drive in.
Will you have Passengers?
If it is typically only going to be you driving, you can get away with a three door car and you won’t need much extra space plus bigger cars are more expensive to run. If you might have the odd passenger from time to time, consider a city car like a Fiat 500 or a supermini like a Ford Fiesta. A Volkswagen Golf-sized hatchback or family saloon like the Ford Mondeo is adequate for four or five. If you need a large family car then perhaps a Vauxhall Zafira MPV and Land Rover Discovery 4×4 would suit as it can seat seven in comfort.
Long Journeys or Short Trips?
If you are only going to be taking short journeys you are probably better off buying a car with a small petrol engine. Typically they are cheaper to buy than cars with a diesel engine – and are increasingly economical. For longer trips and motorway driving, it is more economical to buy a diesel, as the extra fuel economy will fund the additional outlay in the long run. Low-powered cars often use more fuel at motorway speeds than bigger, higher-powered cars as their small engines need to work much harder.