How do I know which car is right for me?

by Hector Tan (htan@sph.com.sg)
published on 29 March 2016

How do I know which car is right for me?

Can’t tell the difference between a hatchback and coupe, or an SUV from a MPV? You are not alone.

Even if you know most of the car makes or models, choosing a car to buy can be perplexing. Should you go for functionality or aesthetics? What colour should your car be?

Mr Darren Wong, manager of pre-owned vehicles at Volkswagen Group Singapore, said: “There’s no one-size-fits-all car that suits  everyone’s needs. It’s easy to be swayed by new designs and flashy gadgets in the showroom, but it is the little things that make the difference when you start driving the car on a routine basis.”

Here is what to look out for.

1. SPORTY

Convertibles and coupes are some of the top choices for sports cars among people who like a ride that go from zero to 120km per hour in a matter of seconds.

Prices may be higher for this range of cars so make sure that you have proper financial planning before you purchase one.

Mr Wong said: “Sports cars are favoured by drivers who prefer fun and speed. Practical concerns come second. But many sports car models today offer functionality features as well, such as having seating for four people unlike the usual two-seater arrangement, and providing comforts that are equivalent of standard saloon cars.”

2. FAMILY

There are many car options for families, depending on what they need. Bigger families who enjoy generous headspace, leg room and seating capacity usually go for the multipurpose vehicle (MPV).

“Four-door saloon cars remain hugely popular because they offer a good balance of passenger space and boot capacity. A MPV provides versatile seating arrangements and lots of space. MPVs come in both compact five-seater as well as the larger seven-seater arrangements,” said Mr Wong.

But unless you have a large family, saloon cars would be suitable for most people.

Ms Julene Kee, a director in events management, recently purchased a one-year-old Volkswagen Jetta Sport from Das-WeltAuto, the pre-owned car division of Volkswagen Group Singapore last year.

She said: “Safety and stability while driving is important to me as I send my two children to school every morning. The car boot space is also decent enough for my husband to put his equipment when he goes for his bowling and golfing sessions with his friends. The car is easy to handle and is a sturdy drive, especially when I need to cover longer distances on the highways. It gives me and my husband a sense of assurance when we bring our children along on road trips.”

3. SINGLES OR COUPLES

A hatchback car is suitable for singles or couples looking for a personal mode of transport without the need for a lot of space. These cars have a rear door that opens upwards to grant drivers easy access to the car boot.

Most models have rear seats that can be folded down to free up more space in the boot area.

“Hatchbacks are easy to manoeuvre and park. Compared to saloons, hatchbacks have adjustable boot spaces that can easily be configured to carry bulky items like sports equipment or furniture,” said Mr Wong.

4. ADVENTURE

Outdoor enthusiasts or adventurous drivers often pick the sports utility vehicle (SUV) for its extra muscle and power which comes in handy when there is any off-road driving needed.

But while most people associate SUVs with adventurous lifestyles, there are now many other car types that appeal to drivers who want something that is both unique and functional, said Mr Wong.

He said: “Adventurous drivers like to stand out from the crowd. Due to their active lifestyle, they also need a ride that provides enough room for a variety of uses.

“An estate car, or station wagon, is also a good option for someone who needs versatility. It is spacious and handles similar to a sports car.”