RAC Cars News


How To Choose Your Next Car

By raccars Published

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Research by the Office for National Statistics suggests that car ownership is one of the largest monthly expenses facing British families. Excluding insurance, running a car costs families an average of £55 per week. With insurance on top, that comes to £66 per week.

By comparison, food bills average £59 per week, mortgage and council tax costs £44.30 and electricity and gas bills come to £27 per week on average, according to the ONS.

This means that how you choose your next car is vitally important, as it can have a big impact upon family bills. Apart from the age old new vs used argument, here are some of the other big choices you face.

Petrol vs Diesel

One of the biggest dilemmas facing car buyers is which fuel source will be best for them. Traditionally, diesel powered cars offer lower running costs, but a series of potential new charges on diesels could change that. Already residents of Islington in London face paying an extra £96 per year for parking their diesel cars. However, the auto industry is fighting back, claiming that anti-diesel rhetoric is misplaced and that modern diesels are cleaner and greener than ever.

When it comes to fuel prices, petrol is cheaper than diesel, but how much difference this makes to your fuel bills really depends on your driving career. If you cover fewer than 11,000 miles annually, you'll probably save money by opting for a petrol car - with the added bonus that these are usually cheaper to buy. However, high mileage drivers will almost always be better off with a diesel car.

Buying vs leasing

Leasing is becoming an increasingly popular way into car ownership - except of course you don't actually own the car. Instead, you rent the vehicle for two or three years at a cost of maybe £100-£400 per month, then return it to the dealer at the end of the contract.

This can be a cost effective option if you are going for a model which suffers bad depreciation rates. The Ford Mondeo, according to a Which? survey, loses 64% of its list value within three years, making leasing a better deal. The VW Scirocco, however, loses only 37% of its original value in three years, so buying works out cheaper.

Beware of mileage limitations with leasing policies, and remember that tax, insurance and repair costs need to be added to the leasing fee.

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