Do you know what to look for when buying a car? If you’re new to driving, or if you’re buying your first new car in years, you might need a bit of guidance.
There’s a lot of different makes and models to choose from. And once you start to think about things like mileage, emissions, and the whole petrol/diesel question, things might start to feel overwhelming.
All that matters is that the car you choose meets your specific needs. Get this right, and everything else should fall into place.
We put this blog together to give you some ideas of what to look for when buying a car in 2018.
What To Look For When Buying a Car – First, Consider Your Needs
Ask yourself two questions: How often will I be driving? Where will I be doing most of my driving?
The first question is probably the most important. How often you drive is a key factor in determining the sort of car you’ll need. For example, if you’re going to be commuting for miles every day, then you’ll want a comfortable and efficient car with good mileage. Otherwise you’ll find yourself paying far too much for fuel far too often.
The second question might take a bit more thought. Obviously your needs might change on a daily basis. But the sort of environment in which you’ll be doing most of your driving should help you to narrow down the sort of things to look for when choosing your car.
What Car is Best for You?
City cars are widely considered to be good all-rounders. Despite the name, they’re designed to be dependable even beyond the urban environment. They’re manoeuvrable, fuel efficient, and usually very easy to handle, which makes them the perfect choice for new drivers.
Take a look at What Car’s list of the best city cars. The Kia Picanto is currently at the top of the list, but take the time to compare a few models to find the one that meets your specific requirements. If you’ll be doing a lot of driving in London, for instance, look for a car with emissions lower than 75g/km, as this will make you exempt from paying the Congestion Charge.
But a small and manoeuvrable city car might not be so suitable if you expect to routinely head off-road. They’re also somewhat unsuitable for larger families. If you need a safe and reliable car for the school run, you’d be better going for a reliable SUV like the Nissan Qashqai or the Skoda Karoq.
And if you drive for a living, you’ll want to prioritise comfort, mileage, and fuel efficiency. A compact saloon, like the Ford Mondeo or the Audi A4, might be just the car you need.
Diesel, Petrol, or Other?
The UK government could ban new petrol and diesel cars by as early as 2030. What’s more, London isn’t the only UK city to impose a congestion charge. Durham’s imposed penalties since 2002, and cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff have long considered introducing charges of their own.
Long story short – it’s becoming increasingly expensive and impractical to drive a petrol or a diesel car, and all signs indicate that this trend is going to continue. But unfortunately, the electric car charging infrastructure in the UK is not yet robust and reliable enough to make choosing an electric car, or even a plug-in hybrid car, a practical choice for everyone.
Our advice? Once again it depends on your specific needs, but it seems that petrol might be the best choice overall. Yes, in terms of pure fuel running costs, diesels come out on top. But diesel cars have higher tax, so you’ll only really see the benefit if you frequently use motorways, and if you drive hundreds of miles each month. Diesel cars also cost more up-front, and diesel itself costs more than petrol.
What To Look For When Buying a Car – Final Thoughts
Every car has been designed to meet the needs of a certain sort of driver. Once you’ve determined what sort of driver you are, you’ll have a much better idea of what to look for when choosing a car.
But no matter what car you choose, and no matter how experienced you are as a driver, it’s essential that you invest in some comprehensive car insurance! This will keep you covered and give you the peace of mind you need to get the best out of your lovely new car.