So, you’ve been an auto fanatic for your entire life. You think you know everything about cars; the good, the bad, the ugly, and all the models in between. You’ve grown up on car magazines and TV shows and spotting new models around the neighborhood.
Yet for whatever reason – age, finances or lifestyle – you’ve never owned a car of your own, and that’s about to change. Buying your first car can be very exciting, particularly for an aficionado of all things moto-related, and you’ll quite rightly want to get the best you can, so you can be proud of the wheels you’re driving around. However, there are definitely considerations to make in terms of practicalities, performance and specific features that are different from the admiring observer, to when you are making a purchase decision for yourself. After all, this is the vehicle that will carry you, your family and your friends to work, to social events, and even on a road trip if you fancy it – and it has to work for you.
The Basics: Mileage
When looking for a daily driver, horsepower isn’t as important as efficiency and mileage. We may salivate over super-vehicles that can do 0-100 in 4 seconds (or better), but in reality you probably won’t be getting up to those speeds any time soon. Instead, though it may seem less interesting, the most important stat when buying a car will be your miles-per-gallon ratio. This will determine how cost-effective your car will be in the long run, which could make a massive difference if you’re planning long or regular journeys.
When buying your first car, you may want to have that shiny feeling that comes with a brand new vehicle; however, it’s worth considering second hand options due to their price bracket. Of course, second-hand car dealerships can have a certain reputation based on years of public mistrust and portrayals in film and TV, but if you do your research and find a reputable supplier, you can get some amazing deals on pre-owned cars. These range from models barely a year old, abandoned due to fickle owners, to souped-up older models that could almost be considered vintage. If you’re a fan of character and individuality, you could have a great time investigating the options near you, and finding something completely unique. When looking at second-hand cars, it’s important to check out what mileage it has done, and ask very specific questions about functionality and current capabilities. If you do this, you could be up for a very sweet deal.
Radios, sound system, charging ports, cup holders and more. All domestic cars have a basic set of accessories, but these will change depending on the model and brand. Once again, it may not be something you would usually consider as an auto-fanatic, but in terms of real day-to-day driving, it’s these features that can make a massive difference to your experience and enjoyment of your car. If you enjoy music, find a model with a good sound system and plenty of bass. If you’re a constant coffee-drinker, a car without a cup holder might make you go insane. It’s not something Lewis Hamilton has to think about – but then you don’t have to consider taking sharp bends at speeds approaching 300kph (which would make anyone spill their coffee, cup holder or no cup holder), so it’s swings and roundabouts.
It’s not just the car itself you’ll need to consider. Insurance is a huge consideration, particularly for first-time drivers or car-owners. You’ll have a slightly better chance of finding a good deal if you’re an older driver, but there are some great options out there for everyone, particularly if you drive safely and keep those premiums way down. If you’re not going to be a regular driver, it’s also well worth considering newer insurance models such as pay-per-mile plans where you are only charged if you are out on the roads. You can check out Metromile’s reviews page for more information on how others have found this innovative way of producing car insurance, and decide if it is the right choice for you.
Specific Needs and Ecological Impact
Of course, don’t let anyone pigeonhole you into a specific brand or model when they don’t know your particular driving needs. If you are an inner-city driver, you will need something with very different specs to someone who may live in a more rural area, or another person undertaking long trips across the country. Consider your specific needs for your vehicle, and tailor what you are looking for accordingly. In the current climate, it’s also well worth considering the environmental impact of your car. Eco-friendly vehicles, including electric cars, are enjoying a surge of development and investment, and this eco-efficiency can also translate into cost-efficiency.
Following these simple tips, you should be able to narrow down your search and find yourself that perfect starter vehicle in no time at all. Happy hunting.