Tag Archive | "buying cars"

Understanding Your Car Priorities


These days with the wealth of choice available, choosing the right car for your needs is getting harder and harder. Selection choices must be both rational and emotional. Family commitments combined with an itchy right foot mean that any decision must be properly informed.

There’s a need to get to grips with the options available which must begin with body size and type. Convertibles are fine for young singles or retired lotharios trying to recapture a misspent youth but they don‘t really work with two kids and a dog the size of a Shetland pony. Hatchbacks are easy to use, great as family cars and shoppers but are often, in standard form at least, a bit dull and ubiquitous. The best of all worlds can sometimes be achieved by getting a sporty estate. MPV’s are great but are they, perhaps, just a bit too normal? The decisions are endless but it is a lot of money being spent so selection has to be right first time.

A car purchase must be carefully analysed from various different perspectives. The trick is to prioritise preferences and the first item to raise its head will always be the budget. This is the one that controls all the others and the one that needs the most respect. Nobody wants to spend their entire life paying for an ageing car so if there is a budget it is best to stick religiously to it.

Some people are swayed by style, others by comfort and others still by reliability. Build quality and performance must also be taken into account. Some buyers couldn’t give a fig what a car looks like provided it will carry four people, return in excess of 50mpg and be serviced for under £200. Enthusiasts will want to be performance orientated which means that whilst the drive might be great the chances are that the collective family buttocks will pay the price of stiff suspension.

Then of course we come to the issues of specification: extras like climate control, leather, infotainment and so on whilst still catering for roominess and safety; not necessarily in that order. On and on it goes.

The careful buyer will ensure that not one T is left uncrossed and no I left un-dotted. Make sure that the final decision satisfies all – or at least most – of the many requirements we have for cars these days. Only then can the careful buyer be sure that life with the car will be as near to perfect as possible. Bliss.

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Used Car Buyers Are Playing Safe


Everybody likes an exciting car and most people, given the appropriate funds, would no doubt plump for something exotic and desirable. Alfa Romeo, for example, continually design exquisite cars; sadly though there is always a ‘but’ at the end of the purchase.

With AR there is always that reliability issue at the back of a buyers mind. They say – and can be believed – that their cars have never been better at not breaking down or succumbing to electrical gremlins BUT, if you know the company’s sketchy history in this regard, it will always be a mental niggle and cause for concern.

They are by no means the only car maker with long-standing reputations for unreliability and, in these shaky financial times, what most ordinary motorists want and need is peace of mind. Rising motoring costs coupled with the general astronomic cost of living means that drivers are starting to become wary about used cars and used car dealers are beginning to understand this.

Buyers are often surprised these days by the difference in what they would like against what they can actually afford. Car dealers are now representing what some would say to be rather ordinary cars as having a sort of ‘new credibility’ when it comes to a buying choice.

Gone are the days when the heart could rule the head. Instead, today’s prospective car buyer is looking for very well maintained stock with full service histories, suitable warranties, simple economic servicing schedules and, crucially, a real reputation for being reliable over time. In short – a vehicle they know they can trust.

It’s a sign of the times. Only the well-to-do can afford to take chance on car choice these days. The rest of us will have to make do with the best that we can afford. What you buy may not set your pulses racing but at least you be confident that there’ll not be any nasty surprises around the corner.

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New Cars To Expect In 2013


Every year at about this time it can be guaranteed that certain things will happen. Television companies will interview Noddy Holder and show diabolical ‘Christmas Specials’ recorded last August or even last century. Look carefully and you can see the sweat on Santa’s brow. The other thing that is sure to happen is that you will start considering which new car to buy in 2013.

Once upon a time the motorists of Britain would troop off annually to a strange and windblown area of London called Earls Court – where their ears would be assailed by the mysterious twang of Australian accents – to look at new offerings from motor manufacturers and that would be it for the year. Now, car shows proliferate world-wide and the choice available to us has never been greater. This is a good thing.

In the year forthcoming we can expect to see, the economy notwithstanding, a range of exciting new vehicles. Some are concepts that may make it into production but others will be in the showrooms soon.

Let’s start with the good old Renault Clio, with us for over twenty years. This is a car that the French company re-invent from time to time. This fourth generation model is a real looker – it’s got a wider stance, a lower ride height and a face that comes straight from the glorious DeZir concept It will only be available as a five door, including the subsequent Renaultsport model.

As you might expect it’s packed with tech thanks to the integrated system known as R-Link, a big touchy-feely screen that’s internet-able, with satellite navigator, Bluetooth, voice commands and so on. It will even give eco-driving advice, presumably in a pious and holier-than-thou tone of voice. As ever there’s a selection of engines including a new three cylinder and a diesel capable of 88mpg, so they say.

In the battle of the superminis, Mitsubishi are wading in with the Mirage. It’s got everything you’d expect at the price point and is designed to compete against the likes of the Skoda Fabia and Hyundai i20. The only snag is that it’s looks are a little bland – some competitors may be more appealing for this cosmetic reason alone.

VW will feature the GTI version of their 7th generation Golf and Ford their much anticipated ST version of the popular Fiesta. There’s the attractive and sporty looking Kia Pro Cee’d, new Leon’s and Toledo’s from SEAT and, later in the year, a new Mondeo (pictured). This is a really nice looking car that’s bigger than the present model yet – surprise, surprise – it will be offered with Ford’s  acclaimed 1.0L three cylinder EcoBoost engine offering a punchy 125bhp. It will be interesting to see if that little postage sized unit can lug this huge car around without gasping for breath at every incline.

At a very rough count there will be some 44 new or revamped cars to choose from in 2013 (as well as all the existing models) but this includes some previous concept cars that may make it into production, but aren‘t confirmed. For some of them, the Skoda Mission L is an example; this should be a reality though. So reach for the plastic. 2013 is going to be another bumper year for car buyers. If a new car is out of the question, the used car market is looking like good value just now. You’re spoiled for choice.

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Sites For Sore Eyes


Once upon a time, one of the worst things about buying a new or used car was the need to trawl through the classified ads in local papers or peer into the packed pages of Exchange & Mart or the Auto Trader searching for that special bargain. The alternative was to walk or drive around all the dealers and forecourts until you came across your chosen car. It was very time consuming – although of course we knew no better. Then, one day, like a ray of sun breaking through the clouds of confusion, came – the internet. Now the venerable E&M is no more, at least on paper, and Auto Trader is likely to cease print production in the near future. Fortunately both names are alive and well online. This is the beauty of the virtual world and the place to go for auto deals. We don’t even have to go outside.

For most things now the search engines are the first port of call for would be seekers of every imaginable purchase. Now, new car main dealers, used car forecourts, private sales and auction sites are just a click away. Buyers can even chat live on line with salespersons. Whatever your needs, be it a sports car or family SUV, the right product is easily located. The web has made the trading of cars much more competitive as buyers can now search further afield.

Specifications can be checked and compared, comparison sites and car reviews read and test drives booked. Finance can be arranged and scams avoided (mostly) by working through the many sites available. In fact, if you haven’t bought a car in recent years then everything you knew, or thought you knew, is now old school. Canny buyers look online. It will always pay to try to get at least three firm quotes for your choice of car as it is gives you negotiating strength. In short there is no doubt that the internet has transformed the way we buy and sell cars.

Suddenly, we are overwhelmed with choice. There’s a bewildering array of web sites from lowly start-ups to high powered dealerships offering cars and insurance and finance and so on. So many places to go. So much to read. In a way, we are back to trawling through magazine pages and classifieds, only this time we are doing it in the full glare of monitor screens, rubbing our poor tired eyes. What’s worse is that we don’t even get any exercise whilst doing it. You wait, the next headline will be: ‘buying cars causes obesity!’

What’s needed is a true one-stop online shop. Somewhere a buyer can research all his or her needs in one go. That way we might be able to get out more.

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