So, you’ve decided it’s time to buy a car. This is a purchase that’s made for all kinds of reasons. You might have just recently passed your test, and be looking to get out onto the road for the first time.
Or, you might be a veteran driver, looking for a different sort of vehicle to serve you through a new period in your motoring life.
Whatever has motivated the decision, it’s a good idea to take stock of a few key points at this juncture.
What type of fuel will you be using?
The motoring industry is midway through an unprecedented shift toward battery electric power. Rather than burning refined oil, we’ll instead use lithium-ion batteries to power our cars.
New petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from sale in 2030, according to government plans. But there’s still reason to prefer them in the meantime. They’re more predictable, cheaper in the short term, and you’ll have access to a mature and rigorously-tested system of filling stations, mechanics and dealerships. In other words, it’s reliable, proven technology.
On the other hand, a battery-electric vehicle might be tempting for a range of reasons. They’re better for the environment, on balance, and cheaper to run. This goes double if the charging infrastructure near you is well-developed enough to cope.
A middle ground between these two options comes in the form of a hybrid car, which uses both an electric motor and a traditional internal-combustion engine. If you’re looking to hedge your bets, this might be the way to do it.
What will you be using the car for?
Different sorts of vehicle are suitable for different sorts of use. If you need to ferry your kids to and from school, you’ll need something spacious and practical. If you’re going to be just doing short commutes in the city, then something more compact might be appropriate. On the other hand, if you want to have fun behind the wheel, then a sporty convertible might appeal.
Whatever your decision, it’s essential to consider the reality of how the car will be driven – not just in the adverts, but in your day-to-day life.
What’s your budget?
Of course, certain cars cost more than others. Set out a budget in advance and limit your options. That way, you won’t be tempted to push things further than your finances allow. If you’re willing to delve into the used market, then you might get a great deal more for your money. A premium option, like a used Audi, BMW or Mercedes might be picked up for a very reasonable sum.
What body style are you looking for?
If you’d like to narrow your options, then you might think about the different styles and broad categories of vehicle before you start your investigations. SUVs, estates, hatchbacks, saloons, coupes – they all offer their various drawbacks and benefits.