Buying a Car: Go Small or Go Home

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When considering the purchase of a new car, family size, income and purpose all come into the decision making process, although for many consumers the main factor is budget.

Though bigger vehicles have their advantages, small cars tend to be far more economical. Small cars provide more miles to the gallon, since a smaller chassis needs less power to push around; this is an important bonus as drivers feel the pinch at the pump. Small car owners are currently looking at an average fuel cost of around 140.2ppl, while diesel drivers will pay an average of 144.6ppl.

Smaller cars also tend to be cheaper to buy; from a manufacturer’s view point, a smaller car needs fewer parts, which, coupled with the lower demand for small cars, means that price tags are considerably less expensive. For example, a used Ford Ka costs around £1,000-3,000, a new Ford Ka is £8,725 OTR, while the larger Ford Focus clocks in at £13,995. The Galaxy, the largest car in the UK Ford range, has a hefty £24,995 basic price tag.

While families with three or more children generally can’t compromise on the size of their vehicle, a smaller car can be extremely practical otherwise. First time drivers will find a smaller car much easier to manage; they manoeuvre far more readily and are far superior in terms of handling. Points such as these shouldn’t be overlooked when shopping for a first car, particularly as insurance prices vary widely depending on the type of car being driven. Hatchbacks and city cars are lower in price for insurance and road tax.

The environmental impact of your car also now affects your insurance premium. Big, gas-guzzling cars such as Land Rovers or SUVs release more harmful gases into the atmosphere and are therefore much more expensive to insure. Car manufacturers are trying new, innovative ways to make their cars better for the environment so they comply with tough new emissions laws being passed around the world, with the new Nissan Leaf, an emission-free electric vehicle, as a stand-out example – while an electric car may initially cost more, the savings on fuel are significant enough to make up the difference. Also, in the UK, the Government are offering a £5000 grant to help with the cost of an electric car, making it a cheaper option in the long run.

So if you’re looking to saving money, and you only need to transport 2-4 people around town, a smaller car definitely has the financial advantage through initial purchasing price, fuel costs and lower insurance premium.

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