Search by Keyword
Auto Feature Benefits and Test Drive
If an auto will be mostly driven in a city setting vs. rural areas then one could narrow down unique features that will become an asset in that particular environment. Parking spaces are more of a challenge in the city and cars make more frequent stops. In this case a smaller vehicle will prove most useful and one that gets good gas mileage. Heavy winds while driving or fuel economy smaller SUV’s with continuous variable transmissions (CVT) mild noise may not be of any effect. The fact is that V6 engines with automatic transmissions do run quieter than 4- cylinder automatics. Most 4-cylinders autos have a lighter body frame in order to improve fuel efficiency and therefore could be a bit noisier due to wind and faster driving. On the up side, many improvement have been made that there is hardly much difference between the two. “As for the future of the V6, in recent years the disparity between 4-cylinder and V6 engines has lessened considerably.” (Marshall Brain, How Stuff works) Click here to learn more, How Car Engines Work.
Other areas to note before deciding and going for test drive:
· Tires are usually more costly to replace in smaller economy cars. One could choose between standard or high performance tires. However, with better gas mileage and lower fuel cost this benefit may outweigh this cost. Ask about future tire replacements.
· Hybrids, which run on gas and electric battery, do cost more and it takes a while to get your money back to experience the benefit on the savings. (Consumer Reports New Auto Buying Guide, 2014). When keeping an auto for the long term this is definitely a benefit. The average car buyer keeps a car for about five years with many others willing to invest upfront for a vehicle that delivers more down the road.
· “A common misconception is that 4WD (4 Wheel drive) and AWD (All Wheel Drive) systems help in all driving situations. In fact they provide added traction only when accelerating. They don’t help in braking or cornering ability. “ (Consumer Reports, 2014, page 7). Slippery or snowy conditions will demand extra attention no matter what one drives.
· No one knows for sure how long battery packs will last in electric cars. The advantage is mainly that electric cars require less maintenance, give more mileage for the money and some like the GM Volt could travel up to 300 miles before needing a charge. This is enough to go and come back from work; however the sticker price range is much higher fluctuating around $39,995. Most electric cars have limited distances and fewer places to recharge to include depending on low electricity rates. Some homes may have to get a 240-volt outlet similar to those used for dryers to more effectively charge a battery in less time. It may take 16 hours to recharge with a 120 Volt outlet and just 4.5 to 9 hours with the 240V. The main types of electric Plug-ins are the Dedicated EVs (Electric Vehicles), which are pure battery electric cars with no gasoline, the Extended Range EV-such as the GM Volt and the plug-in hybrids that go 12 to 23 miles before reverting to their standard hybrid operation of using gas and electric power. (Consumer Reports New Car Buying Guide, 2014). Also to note is that in cold weather the heater and other systems may cause higher battery drain and shorten the driving distance and need for recharging. Some drivers have the time and dedication in owning these types of vehicles. The extra mileage benefit and gasoline prices in comparison make it a good try for many.
· Driving at moderate speed and having good tires may be a less expensive way to save on fuel. Moderate speeds reduce aerodynamic drag which increases exponentially the faster one drives for it takes more fuel to power the car through the air. The loss is an average of 5 miles per gallon (mpg). (Consumer Reports, 2014). Check your auto manual to see if your vehicle could just use regular gas instead of premium. Note that many new auto designs have more of an inclined windshield area to also reduce losing mileage benefits to wind resistance. Diesel cars typically get 30% better fuel economy than gasoline powered vehicles but diesel fuel costs about 10% more. Several luxury brands do offer diesel. (Consumer Reports, (2014) Fuel Economy, page 21).
Finally, spend some time analyzing the cars that appeal to you. Check for safety reports, recalls and general auto performance by getting several types of consumer reports. Sites such as safecar.gov offer recall notices and one could type a manufacturer and make of a vehicle to find earlier models safety issues and company long-term reliability. Click here to learn more, Safecar.gov. Now that your preliminary preferences, pricing range and needs have been conducted, the test-driving will be the ultimate decision maker and easier to do now with more confidence. Now, one has a better idea of interest rates, loan sources, features and lifestyle considerations for a vehicle. In the test drive is important to experience and check for ride comfort, acceleration, quietness, steering and road handling on corner turns, window visibility (very important when driving in Colorado), and cargo or trunk space dimensions. Remember that some vehicles perform best at sea level while others do better at higher altitudes, so is best to just ask your auto sales person for more details on how the vehicle performs at higher altitudes in spite of fuel efficiency 4-cylinder engines. Many compensate with more traction that is provided from the (AWD) All Wheel Drive and great quality tires.
In keeping a lower car payment per month it is recommended to save or place at least 15 to 20% down payment when buying and best to sell your own trade-in order to try and get more money for it. It is a growing trend to lease vehicles since this method allows for a much lower car payment and works for some professions that require newer vehicles such as for business travel. The average mileage allowed per year on a lease is 12,000 miles (Consumer Reports, 2014) with the average consumer driving about that much per year so best to check how much more of a cost a lease will incur if one drives more than the allotted miles. Another way to find out is to ask friends or relatives who have leased cars in the past to see what their experiences have been. Also, note that the money paid monthly although lower amount from your pocket does not buy ownership and vehicle must be returned. One may ask about ability to buy the auto when lease is up. Buying a car is really a pleasant experience once basic research and information gathering has been conducted. Also, when test-driving a vehicle consumer reports recommends spending at least 30 minutes in the vehicle to get a true feel for it and to drive in different roads. This allows enough time to check for noise, visibility and performance. For more information visit more than one dealership and test-drive the autos from your narrowed down list and enjoy! America is passionate about their vehicles large or small.