When the time comes to buy a new car it can be pretty overwhelming and easy to get confused – with literally hundreds of cars to choose from, new and second hand options, and all sorts of concerns around environmental impact and fuel efficiency, it can be hard to know where to begin.
A key starting point is to decide on your budget. Once you know exactly how much you can afford to spend you can count out lots of options that are out of your price range. It might mean you’ve got to be looking at second hand cars, or if you’re set on a new vehicle then it might affect the engine size you’ll go for and limit the additional features that you can afford to set your heart on. Remember that brand new cars are subject to additional road tax in the first year, so if you need to save money there are lots of reasons to consider second hand vehicles.
On the topic of additional features and budgeting – cars with lots of safety features are often cheaper to insure, so it’s well worth choosing a car with good safety specifications. When it comes to finding cheap car insurance, you can use various sites to find the best quote and policy for whichever car you choose.
Next you need to consider what kind of driver you are. If you live in a city and mostly make short journeys then a small car might be just the ticket. The smaller the body the less trouble you’ll have squeezing into parking spaces on busy residential streets. If you live out in the country you might want something that’s a little more robust, with a bigger engine and more traction for bad weather conditions and country roads.
Fuel efficiency is a major consideration, and it’s also heavily dependent on the kind of use you’ll get out of your car. If you regularly travel long distances or take the car out on the motorway it might be worth the extra investment for a diesel engine – these have greater fuel efficiency over long distances and when you have a faster average speed. If you mostly use the car for short hops, such as quickly popping to the supermarket or dropping kids off at school, you can probably get away with a small petrol engine. They are cheaper to buy and pretty economic if you’re not asking them to take on long journeys or motorways on a regular basis. Bear in mind that if you’ve got your mind set on a sporty BMW you might end up paying more for petrol!
There are of course other things which might influence the size of car and engine you need. If you’ve got young kids you may well need a bigger car, or you might have dogs which need plenty of boot space. If you know you’ll need a big vehicle, a diesel engine is probably going to offer the most efficiency.
It’s essential that all the drivers are comfortable and relaxed when driving, which is why it’s so important to test drive a car – more than once if needs be! Comfort isn’t just about the seats and positioning of the steering wheel and gear box. The size of the car, ease of manoeuvrability and additional features like air conditioning can also really affect how relaxed you are in the driving seat.
To summarise – decide on your budget, how much space you’ll need and what you’ll be using the car for. Then you can figure out whether you’ll get better fuel economy from a diesel or petrol engine, and if there are any particular features that you’re after. Finally, try to get a recommendation from a friend on a good and trustworthy car dealer; a specialist who can help match your needs with the perfect car.