There was a time not so long ago when the only options we as Indian car buyers had while purchasing a car was a Maruti 800, Maruti 1000 (later Esteem) or an Ambassador. Gladly, the times have changed and today, there is a range of cars to choose from in every segment. Even though the choices are widespread, there is still confusion regarding the brand, features, service etc. that keeps many thinking for months about their perfect buy.
To make things easier, here are a few things to look out for while deciding on buying the best-suited car for your needs.
This is by far the criterion that many fail to understand and later regret the decision on their buy. It is essential to probe into understanding one’s need for the car and then make a practical choice. A nuclear family can settle for an hatchback or a compact SUV. Also, a smaller car has a smaller footprint, thus making it easy to manoeuvre or park while in the city.
Automatic or Manual
Depending on the regular commute, it makes sense to decide between an automatic or manual too. While the automatic would not be as fuel efficient, it would be a more hassle-free experience while driving regularly through bumper to bumper traffic.
Petrol or Diesel
If the daily average usage of the car is 30-50kms, it makes no sense to pay more money and purchase a diesel car, petrol is just fine. Infact, to a certain level, petrol cars are even more fun to drive than diesels and they have lower maintenance costs compared to the oil burners.
As a thumb rule, European cars are more inclined to be maintenance heavy compared to Indian or Japanese cars as the cost of parts are significantly higher due to stringent manufacturing standards.
This is one of the most ignored factors when purchasing a vehicle. Mainly dependant on the brand and its overall history, resale value of cars vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. once again, European cars are quick to loose resale value and suffer from high depreciation while Japanese cars hugely retain their value over longer periods of time.
There is always a general tendency to like cars towards the higher side of the set budget. With EMI options at large, its very easy to get lured into settling for a slightly higher loan instalment. While not necessarily a bad thing to lean towards the car one desires, the interest rates should be properly calculated as they will be a part of regular expenditure along with maintenance, service and regular fuel costs.
While in business there are merits to being the first mover in the industry, purchasing a car this policy works quite the contrary. It is always advisable to weigh in your options, wait it out and never hurry into a purchase. Like every other industry, the automobile industry also presents a variety offers and deals at different times throughout the year. Picking the right time could mean huge savings. The festive season and year end sales generally prove to be the most lucrative.
While its essential to keep the buying costs in check, there is no reason to be overly miser while choosing on the features. If its the same vehicle that drives you to work, movies and short weekend getaways, it is essential to have certain key features that would make your drive more enjoyable. A clear line of differentiation between wants and needs is a must to make the right choices in equipment level, skimping on the ones that are not absolutely necessary to the ones that would make the ownership a better experience is a must.
With the ever increasing traffic density on city streets and highways, its becoming more and more essential to emphasise of safety. Certain features such as airbags and ABS should not go ignored while purchasing a new vehicle. Although, if traveling consists of mostly single person or a front seat passenger, then features like rear seat airbags can be skimmed out to dial in a few cents of savings.
Engine and performance
One of the biggest myths is that buying a car with a small engine would be the most frugal when its comes to economy, its not exactly so. While smaller displacement engines consume less fuel with each ignition cycle, they need to be constantly kept on a boil to get the desired power out of them, yielding in dramatic drops in fuel economy. On the other hand higher displacement engines run at a steady state most of the time, giving a much more averaged out fuel economy without being pushed hard for optimum performance all the time. This is one of the reasons that while in the city a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine would give almost the same economy as a 1.8-litre power plant under normal driving circumstances.