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Jamie Gibbs

What car should I buy?


Long before you go for a test drive, and well in advance of browsing for cars online, you need to figure out exactly what you want your car to do.

Car driving into the sunset

What’s the point in buying a 4x4 when you’re trying to conserve energy? Why buy a 7-seater MPV when it’s just you and your cat making trips to town? Knowing what you want your car to do will make the whole buying process much easier.

Take a look at these five car-buying archetypes to find out what you should be looking out for.

The budgeteer

Recommended models: Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio

The budgeteer wants something that isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg, but doesn’t look like a box on wheels. The budgeteer spirit is more commonly found in younger drivers and those getting their first car.

There’s a compromise between performance and affordability – something that’s not too expensive but still has some power under the bonnet. Budgeteer top priorities:

  • Low-cost

  • Performance

Vauxhall Corsa

The city slicker

Recommended models: Fiat 500, Audi A1, Volkswagen Golf

You’re a commuter, so you need a motor that’ll get you in and around the city without much fuss. The city slicker is after something with a little bit of pizazz and a few mod-cons added for extra style. Be on the lookout for something with a relatively small body for easier parking.

A car with parking sensors and extra tech features is a big plus too. City slicker priorities:

  • Small and stylish

  • Accessories and gadgets

Audi A1

The family driver

Recommended models: Ford S-MAX, Nissan Qashqai, Vauxhall Zafira

When it comes to cars and kids, there are two things that are a must: safety and space. For infants and younger kids, a car with Isofix seats is needed to secure a child safety seat. You can also check out the Euro NCAP safety ratings for more detailed information on specific models.

With extra luggage for holidays, an estate car or SUV will give you that added boot space without compromising on the roominess of the car itself. Family driver priorities:

  • Safety features

  • Luggage space

Nissan Qashqai

The road-trip warrior

Recommended models: Audi A4, BMW 5 series, Vauxhall Insignia

A free spirit with an adventurous streak, you hit the open road with gusto. Longer journeys and road trips are the name of the game, so you’ll want a car with good fuel efficiency.

If you’re going to be sat for hours, you should look for a car that has a good blend of performance and comfort. It’s no good cruising across the country if you can feel every single bump on the road. Road-trip warrior priorities:

  • Comfort

  • Fuel efficiency

BMW 3 Series

The run-around

Recommended models: Toyota Aygo, Volkswagen Up!, Ford KA

At the end of the day, you need something to get from point A to point B. You don’t need raw power or any fancy gadgetry. You’re after an all-rounder with no fuss. The run-around needs a car that has low running costs. We’re not just talking fuel but the whole package – financing, insurance, tax and MOT as well.

Don’t confuse practical with plain, though. There are plenty of stylish and comfortable models that are inexpensive to run. Run-around priorities:

  • Low running costs

  • Comfort and style

Ford KA

Ultimately it comes down to your individual circumstances. But by looking at these common types you can get more of a feel for what kind of features you should look out for when buying a car.


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