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Here's a useful checklist drawn by Neha that will go a long way in ensuring that you buy a car that's not just close to what you've been always desiring for, but also, the one that fits well within your budget.
Car buyers can have very different budgets and can be looking for different body type like a sedan or a coupe or a SUV, but irrespective of the segment or brand they may desire, every potential buyer has to consider some basic aspects. The aim of this article is to build upon common ground and come up with a useful mental checklist of things or features to consider while looking for the car thats ideal for you.
In fact this can also be used if you plan to rent some car. Hope we all become better prepared and can plan a mental profile of what will work best in our own unique scenarios.
I had a talk with a few potential candidates who had either recently bought or were planning to buy a new car. Based on that I have prepared the following list of common features (in no particular order) which are available across all cars. You could consider what is applicable to your situation and add it to your own list.
- Transmission: For more powerful driving with quicker acceleration and fuel economy, the cheaper option of a Manual transmission is preferred. If you want a hassle free drive, or are not familiar with manual gear shifts then choose automatic transmission. For many high end cars that are used for both power and city driving there is a semi automatic transmission available, so they can be used in a manual and an automatic mode.
- Cruise Control: Most cars that offer Cruise control have steering mounted controls. This feature allows the driver to set and maintain a desired speed until the driver hits the breaks or manually turns off this feature. Different cars offer different active and dynamic cruise control features with different names and some enhancements to this basic concept.
- Interactive music system with bluetooth and stering mounted audio control: This is a really cool feature to have for the tech savvy and the music lovers. Steering mounted audio controls allow the driver to enjoy technology and music easily while the interactive with or without touch screens are a pleasure for the passenger. Bluetooth allows you to connect your mobile with the car, making it easier for you to answer any urgent calls while keeping your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road. Bluetooth and USB ports can also allow to connect other media devices to stream music.
- Automatic Climate Control: Automatic climate control frees the occupants from resetting the temperature manually. Dual zone climate control is commonly available in most cars that allows the driver and passenger to set their preferences individually. A few cars have an option of a four zone climate control where even the passengers in the rear seats can choose their preferences.
- Safety: The Number of Airbags and the placement / location of airbags in the cars are important considerations. In addition all cars provide seat belts. Also, as per your budget you can choose other options like Fog Lights, GPS, Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind spot Detection, Head Up Display and Night Vision for pedestrian detection.
- The Sun Roof or The Moon Roof : This is one feature which is standard in most high end cars but is available as part of some optional package in others. This is not a necessity in terms of enhancing your on road capabilities but it adds an element of fun. It simply provides a different aspect of amusement and enjoyment to your driving experience. So on on a nice warm breezy day it might be just what you need. To me it is a really cool feature and I enjoy it to the fullest. In case it is an optional feature for your car, you have an option to save money to suit your budget.
- Comfortable Seats: Majority of automotive brands design cars with excellent front seats and also provide many packages that can allow you to customize or enhance the level of comfort for the front seats. The back seats are left standard in many cars and can cost a bit more reach similar level of comfort. For those who often travel a long distance for work or pleasure need to keep comfortable seating as a priority to save you from fatigue. Many high end cars offer memory setting for the seats and even a built in massage option which can be pretty cool to try. In case you live in areas with colder climates you heated seats are a charm.
8. Park Assist : The front and rear parking sensors (beep beep) are fairly common. Currently the rear view camera is available as a luxury feature. However, in the fast changing automotive market, it has become a standard and expected feature for the luxury segment. In fact the new exciting element is the front view camera and the side view camera which is available in chosen few. These cameras assist you to see the visual of whats around your car so you are able to park your vehicle, perfectly aligning it to the available space. In certain cars, these cameras along with the front and rear parking sensors, and an electric power wheel are programmed to create a Self Parking Feature, allowing the car to park itself and all you have to do is to follow the commands and put it in reverse as and when required. Majority of cars today, have an option to avail a similar feature.
9. Engine and pick up: While most information on the car engine is available online, many reviewers give elaborate information on the engine type and pickup. High power and torque numbers do not always translate into acceleration for the tyres. It depends on the engineering and design on how effectively that power and torque actually gets used. Thus, power and torque numbers should not be considered as a dependable measure. Many manufactures and reviewers provide the time it takes in seconds to reach a speed of 60 km/hr from rest, commonly known as 0-60 time. Sometimes 0-100 time is also quoted. Take a test drive and see it appeals to your driving style and sensibility.
10. Looks: This is highly subjective and all about personal preference. Choose something you like.
11. Low or Easy Maintenance: Choose a car that has a good service facility in your area but does not require frequent visits to the service station.
12. Good Resale Value: I prefer to keep focused on the present but we all should spend at least a minute to plan for the future. If you plan to finance a car it makes sense to use it longer than the payment period. Even in general, with all the technology in your precious vehicle it makes economic sense to use it well. A Good resale value is an assurance that your hard earned money will last longer and can be reused to get a new car later. Also when a car is popular and in demand, it’s spare parts are readily available in the market.
13. Diesel Vs Petrol: Mostly depends on your vehicle usage and cost of fuel in your location. Electric cars and hybrid cars are good options as well.
14. Leg Space: Roomy interiors and leg room are essential for taller individuals and when traveling with family. Take a test drive and see what suits your needs. Then sit on the back seats to make sure it is not cramped up for the passengers seating there. This is important for those who plan to travel long distances in their car.
15. Good Mileage & Fuel Economy: Cost effective fuel consumption leads to more affordable everyday running. For mileage numbers within the city and on the highway check some online reviews, and talk to other owners and see what the manufacturers claim.