Buying a car is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly and there are many different factors to consider when it comes to deciding on what you need from your ride…

Driving style

If you spend a fair amount of time in your car for work or parental duties, then you need to shop around for a comfortable car. If you’re looking for a car to take for long drives over the weekends then you can opt for a car with a bit more style and power in the engine.

Knowing how you intend to use your car and the way that you drive will speak volumes about the type of car you need. If you’re a speedy driver but know you’re about to be placed on carpool duty, then find a car that can slow you down, for example.

Passengers

If you’re part of a lift club with the other parents at school or with some colleagues from work, you need to consider your carrying capacity when choosing a car. And it is about comfortably seating the maximum number of people, not the ability to squeeze them in. Comfort and safety go together in the back of a car and if passengers are unable to easily buckle up, then it’s not the right car for your lift club purposes.

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But if it’s only you and the occasional friend or two, then a smaller car with two seats at the back and a “middle seat” as a handbag space (or a really small child who should otherwise be in a car seat and wouldn’t fit there anyway), will be more than fine.

And while you’re testing out the seating space in the car, you may as well make sure there is enough storage space as well. Chances are that your passengers will be bringing some cargo with them and it would be safer if they didn’t have to store everything on their laps.

Chances are that your passengers will be bringing some cargo with them and it would be safer if they didn’t have to store everything on their laps

Fuel efficiency

Your options when deciding on a type of car include fuel efficiency or power. Yes, there is the possibility of having both with some cars, but most of the time you’ll need to decide between the two. Depending on your driving style, as discussed earlier, you’ll know whether you need the car for errands or long distance, two trips a day or five, and that will affect the decision you make here.

Investing in a smaller, fuel-efficient car, will reduce the weekly or monthly cost of petrol per trip and it will also be easier to get the most kilometres out of a full tank as possible. Fuel efficiency considers more than just your additional car expenses every month: it’s also better for the environment.

Transmission type

Time to decide if you’re looking for an automatic or manual transmission type. This will also help narrow down your search and make it easier to find that perfect car. As much as the transmission type is a personal preference, here are the facts:

Fuel efficiency considers more than just your additional car expenses every month: it’s also better for the environment

Manual: Manual cars are less expensive, give the driver more control over the vehicle, are easy and inexpensive to maintain and are fuel efficient.

Automatic: Automatic cars, on the other hand, are easy to use, allow for more careful driving (both hands on the wheel at almost all times), hardly ever stall and are also fuel efficient. With an automatic, however, you will end up paying quite a bit more for it.

Safety features to consider

When browsing for cars with safety features, it’s not a matter of you being a bad driver, it’s about not knowing how the rest of the world’s drivers are out on the road. So a few safety features to consider in your vehicle purchase are:

  • Parking assist
  • Blind spot warning
  • Auto-braking
  • Automatic headlights
  • Bluetooth/voice command

Shop around for the best deal

The secret to finding the right car is by shopping around. One dealership may give you a great deal to secure you as a customer, but you may not necessarily be 100% happy with the vehicle on offer. You are allowed to look around: there are so many car dealerships in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban – wherever you find yourself in South Africa, you will find different dealerships to compare cars and prices. And there will be a car at one of those dealerships with your name on it.

Test drive

If you want to see what a car can do and decide whether it’s going to be comfortable to drive every day, then ask for the keys, put the car dealer in the vehicle and take it for a test drive. You’ll immediately get a feel for the car and know if there is enough power, comfort and ease in driving it.

Available finance

And, finally, probably the aspect with the greatest weight over what you end up buying, are the available finance options you have to work with. When you go car shopping, it’s important to go with a figure in mind and stick to the budget as much as possible.

When you’re presented with the price of the car, ask yourself if the features of the car, in your opinion, are worth the cost and be sure to find a comparable offer somewhere else before closing the deal.