My first car, a small 3-door Corsa, was a bought from the in-laws for a princely sum of £1. I loved that car and it served me right until the carpark of the dealership to be part-exchanged after a quick jump-start.
The thought of choosing my car this time around was exciting. How hard can it be? Do some initial research to help set a budget, decide what I want, do some more research and go buy myself a car. Turns out car shopping is a different ball game altogether.
- Isofix for a car seat
- Boot space for a pram
- Cheap to run
- Within my budget
- Comfortable to drive
- Rear parking sensors
I also made a list of features I wouldn’t mind having but would not influence my purchase decision too much. They included:
- Aesthetically pleasing (shape and colour)
- Front and rear parking sensors/cameras
- Integrated sat-nav
- Heated seats
- Wide-opening doors
Turns out there are quite a lot of compact family cars out there. So narrowing down my options was going to be time-consuming and require a spreadsheet. Yes I’m that kind of girl. However, I needed reliable sources of information and ideally all in one place. Cars.com was one of the websites that fitted this bill perfectly. I love the review section especially as it’s a good and quick way to get the lowdown on a car’s performance.
After gathering all the information, each car was given a rating per feature and the top runners made it to the shortlist. My first test drive was daunting to say the least. I had a very critical mindset, as you should because it’s a big purchase, but it led me to focus more on the bad aspects of the car rather than why I liked it. I was more relaxed for the second one and was able to pinpoint the good and bad points.
Both were very close in my stringent scoring system and as the dealerships were next door, it was easy to compare deals and try some face to face negotiations. In the end, the Hyundai dealer gave the better deal. I (well my father-in-law) managed to get some extras thrown in and they were keen to sell as it was the end of the tax year. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sweet-talk my way to a free red colour pack but I did get a bunch of flowers which made me very emotional – though the pregnancy hormones may have played a part here.
Joyful Car Shopping?
Apart from our house, this was to be my next biggest purchase so I was keen to get it right. However, halfway through my extensive research, I realised that there’s no such thing as the perfect car, well not for me anyway. This took some of the joy out of it but one of the main things I learnt is to pay attention to bad points mentioned in reviews, regardless of the number of positive reviews. I think I definitely made the right choice as it ticked all the “must have” boxes. My only regret is not getting it in red – but thinking of all the clothes I could buy with the upgrade price was enough to put me off. I might consider it next time when I am going through a mid-life crisis!