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Many motorists downsize their car for a variety of reasons, you may be an empty nester whose children have now left home, or you might want to find a cheap and economical car for commuting to work. You may even just fancy a change.
Whatever your reasons for downsizing your car, Trusted Dealers have created 7 top tips below on the best way to do it.
Consider your options
Before you make the decision to downsize, it’s well worth considering the implications a smaller car will have on your current lifestyle. Depending on the size, you may not be able to carry as many passengers or as much luggage as before – will this cause any disruption to your daily routine? If not, then the benefits do tend to outweigh the negatives. You’ll be behind the wheel of a lighter, more agile and more nimble car to drive. You’ll be able to park more easily and you’ll usually pay less in fuel costs. Furthermore, small cars tend to be less costly to run, insurance is cheaper and replacement parts will be less expensive too.
How small should I go?
If you’re thinking about downsizing your car, you have obviously owned a larger car previously. This may have been for practical reasons such as the school run, fitting the family dog in, or fitting in the pram, which are obviously things you now no longer need to consider. However, don’t forget that you probably found that extra space practical for things such as the weekly shopping trip, a trip to IKEA or a visit to the garden centre. A smaller car won’t be as suitable for such trips and you may struggle with the adjustment initially. Make sure you consider carefully what you’ll need to fit into your new car and how much you’re prepared to compromise when you downsize.
Will I save money?
The question on most people’s lips when considering a smaller car is whether it will save them cash. In general, it’s safe to say that smaller cars usually cost less to run than larger cars. In terms of fuel, car insurance and general running costs, you should be looking at a reduction in cost. It’s worth noting that newer cars are generally cheaper to own and run than older cars. You’ll pay out more initially to own one, but the long term savings should prove cheaper.
Older cars require servicing more regularly and will not be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. Therefore, if you currently own an older car you may think that buying a smaller newer one will vastly boost your wallet. However, make sure you carefully consider the initial outlay – people often pay thousands upfront to change a car when they are actually only saving hundreds on running costs. If your choice to downsize is based on economy, make sure you calculate your numbers carefully first.
Handling the adjustment
Many drivers find it harder to adjust from a larger car to a smaller car – the opposite to what we are often led to believe. Most people would agree that handling a small car round a busy supermarket car park or a congested city will prove much easier, but often smaller cars can be less comfortable, and when you’re stuck in a long traffic jam without your creature comforts, you may regret your choice. There are many smaller cars which offer plenty of equipment as added extras but it’s worth noting how much you may have to fork out to be in line with what you may have had before in a larger car.
Will I be comfortable?
When out on the open road, larger cars tend to soak up speed bumps and pot holes better than smaller cars. In comparison, a small car will be more agile in handling and manoeuvrability, but this might make you feel more nervous and less stable on a motorway. You’ll also be more susceptible to crosswinds. Smaller cars also tend to downsize other aspects of the car such as the width of the seats and/or the adjustment range of the steering wheel. Make sure you take a smaller car for a decent test drive and take time to find a comfortable seating position before you commit to a sale.
Don’t downsize for performance
If this is the case you may be disappointed. Often drivers downsize their car for economy reasons, which means choosing cars with the most economical engines, but these tend to be the lowest performance engines as well and can mean you end up in an incredibly slow car which may struggle to keep up with the cut and thrust of normal traffic as well as motorway driving. Working your engine harder to keep up with traffic will also mean you’ll use far more fuel than the official figures suggest, in fact, you could end up using more fuel than your larger car, so be mindful of this before you make your decision.