Choosing a car is by no means an easy feat. The automotive market is vast, and there are seemingly endless varieties of vehicles at all manner of price points for you to choose from. Where do you start? Oftentimes, breaking down your search into a number of set criteria can help you narrow your focus; here are some basic suggestions. 

Budget

Invariably, budget is the most impactful criterion when it comes to choosing a car. If money were no object, most of us would be driving brand-new high-spec vehicles regardless of our needs. Your budget might feel like a limitation, particularly if it is not the largest of budgets, but it can also be a useful way to focus your search.

A low budget also doesn’t need to mean settling for a sub-par car. In buying used from a local dealer, you can expand your search to older cars with more functionality – and also benefit from more comprehensive long-term reviews over a car’s quality and longevity. Of course, your budget does not stop with the upfront cost of the car; you will also need to budget for ongoing costs, from insurance and tax to fuel and maintenance.

Size

Next, size is a vital consideration – with its own impacts on your budget. If you are hoping to drive your extended family, whether as part of the school run or for summer holidays, you’ll want more seats – meaning an MPV. But if you don’t need this many seats all too regularly, do you really need them? Careful thought about what you actually need could lead you to making a more suitable decision.

Type

Car size naturally segues into car type, with properties like seat count and boot space generally dictated by the class that a vehicle occupies. But there are other properties that you should be thinking about, with their own impacts on usability or suitability for your needs.

A prescient example lies in the difference between petrol- or diesel-fuelled vehicles and their new hybrid or electric counterparts. Electric vehicles, or EVs, are only becoming more efficient and more popular. They could be a great long-term investment option if you’re a regular driver looking to cut down on fuel costs, but their initial price might also have implications for your budget. Meanwhile, older fossil-fuelled cars might be cheaper and easier to maintain.

Usage

As touched upon briefly above, your intentions for your car will have dramatic implications for how appropriate any one vehicle choice is. Drivers with regular and long commutes might need a comfortable vehicle with high fuel efficiency – hence considering EVs over fuelled cars. If buying a used gas-guzzler, diesel cars are better suited for longer motorway journeys, while petrol vehicles are typically better for urban drivers.

Choosing a car is an unavoidably personal thing, and the above criteria can only ever be guidelines for you to follow. But in thinking seriously about your needs and budget, you’ll find it much easier to land on the right car for you.