Balancing Beauty and Practicality When You Buy a Car

young woman looking out the window of a car

Let's face it, most drivers want a car that looks good. You might accept that hottest car on the market is out of your budget, but you don't exactly want to be driving an old banger around either. When I was looking to buy my car, the way that it looked was way up there on my list- and I probably gave it more weight in my decision than I should of done. I now own a cute convertible Beetle, but it's really not that practical to drive (for a start, the back window is tiny so reversing is always difficult!) When you're searching for a car, don't let appearance be your only priority. You also need to think about other factors, and getting a practical car is important too. Fortunately, it's possible to balance style and function, here's how you can go about it.

Selling Your Old Car
First thing first, if you already own a car, it makes sense to sell it on and use what it's worth towards the cost of the new one. That way you know what your budget is, which is essential when it comes to searching for your next model. You could part exchange which can be convenient as you won't need to arrange test drives with potential buyers and answer the same questions over and over- although you won't get quite as much for it selling this way. Your other option is to sell privately, Gumtree has a handy new 'sell my car' feature that can make the process quicker and easier, as all you need to do to start is enter your registration number. From there it will automatically select the specifications, with the option to add more detail if you feel anything has been missed. Plus it explains how to go about preparing your car and the documents you will need. Speaking of preparing your vehicle, it's definitely worth spending some time cleaning your car and getting it up to scratch. If there are any repairs that need doing it's often worth getting them done as you'll get more for the car when you sell it. Even minor issues that don't cost much to fix can put buyers off or have them trying to barter the price right down.

Put Safety First
You might want a car that looks good, but safety needs to come first when you buy a car. A safe car certainly doesn't have to mean an ugly car, or at least it doesn't anymore. If you want a safe vehicle, you can look at sources like Euro NCAP and Which to find safety ratings for top cars. This should help you to find something with a good safety rating that matches up to what you're looking for in terms of style. There are several features that you might want to look for, including lots of new technology, such as various sensors that help you stay in your lane, park, and more.

Always Go for a Test Drive
You've found a car that you like the look of and it looks good on paper too, but is it really what you're looking for? It might seem like a practical choice based on the specifications but you won't know for sure what it's like until you drive it. It's always wise to take a car for a test drive before buying it so you know what it's like to handle it. You don't want to drive it away for the first time, only to realise that you don't feel comfortable driving it.

Be Careful with Second Hand Cars
Buying a second hand model can help you save money and get the dream car that you want. For most of us, used cars are our only option since brand new vehicles can genuinely be extortionate! Most people buy used without any issues but do be careful. Choosing an official or approved dealer is a smart move. Go with a dealer that offer a full twelve month MOT on their vehicles so you know you're getting something that's in good working order, and do your own checks of the car too before you buy it. 

Make a List of Your Needs
To ensure you get a good balance of style and practicality, make a list of your requirements before you start looking for a car. If you have kids, you might need a certain number of seats, or only want a car which has five doors rather than three. If you often take your bike places with you or like doing a lot of shopping, boot space will be a high priority. If it's mainly just to get you to work and back then a car which is fuel efficient should be on your list. When you're comparing cars, you can then see which tick the most boxes for you. For my next car, something with good visibility all round, parking sensors and a decent boot are all on my list! Since these are the things I've struggled most with on the Beetle. Oh and AC- I quickly discovered that a convertible roof doesn't make up for lack of air con!

Cars can look good and still be practical. Just make sure that you get the balance right.

No comments