Buying The Right Car

My Volvo 960
My Volvo 960

Buying a new or used car can be either very simple, if you know what kind of car you want, or it can be difficult. The latter correspond to me and my family.

There are many things you have to consider when you buy a car. In a near future I'm about to buy a used car and probably sell my present car. The questions I'm asking myself, as a Finnish citizen, are:

  1. Why do I want to exchange my car?
  2. What kind of car do I want? Big or small? How old should the car be?
  3. Do I want a specific brand?
  4. What equipment should the car have?
  5. Which type of cars are fuel-efficient?
  6. Can I afford it?
  7. Where do I buy it? This is a question that you have to consider when you live in Finland, because cars are expensive here.

To begin with, my purpose of exchanging my car is that I'd like a more fuel-efficient car than my present. Right now I'm driving a fourteen year old Volvo 960. It's good in many ways. It's spacious and you can for example put a double jogging stroller in the trunk, which we always do when we go somewhere, and there will still be much space left for other things you'd like to take with you. It has been a great car during the time our two children have been little. You can bring all kinds of things with you when you go for a longer trip, and the seats are comfortable. I just love the leather seats! The space inside our car is also big. There are so many good things about Volvo 960 and actually, today our Volvo was inspected and declared fit for road for the next year to come. There are many reasons for us to keep the car, but there is one disadvantage and that is the huge gas consumption.

I'm a stay at home mum, but as our children are getting older, it's time for me to eventually go back to work. If I'll be working far from home, I really need a fuel-efficient car. Now to question number two.

Do I want a big or a small car? Well, a small car is spacious enough for me, and normally small cars are fuel-efficient. The thing is, though, that all of our family members should feel comfortable while sitting in the car. That's why we have to consider buying quite a big car. Another thing is my partner. He also has to have a say in the matter. In any case our next car has to be a family car, which everyone feels good about. We're not sure how old the car should be, but at least not older than ten years. The newer the better, but the main thing is that we can afford it, that it looks good and that it hasn't too many miles.

When it comes to the brands, we're not sure what to buy, though we have som good experience of Audi A3, but that was before the children were born. That car is too small for our current family. We've been considering Audi A6 or Audi A4. Yet we haven't tested any of these cars. Another alternative would be BMW* from the 3 series, alternatively the 5 series. That's a brand we don't have much experience of, but it seems like a very good car brand. The third brand that interests us is also a German car, and that's a Mercedes-Benz. I think, though, a Mercedes-Benz would cost too much considering to our budget. One car that impressed me, as I just tried sitting in it, was Toyota Corolla Verso. It was very spacious inside though it didn't look like that from the outside. And there's space for seven people in it. Another nice car is Mazda 5 with room for six passengers including the car driver. I think, however, that it's a little too big for us. Peugeot 307 SW is a car that I've always liked. I even tried test driving one some years ago, and it felt great, but as I wrote before, I'm not the only one in our family to decide what to buy. Regarding this brand me and my partners opinions are different.

There are so many more brands to choose from and maybe we'll get impressed by a brand I haven't even mentioned here. The only thing we seem to know right now, is that the car should be a combi. One type of car model that naturally could be our next car is Volvo V70. It's probably one of the most common cars here in Scandinavia and it's a nice car. The thing is that we don't want to get stuck in the "Volvo trap". I'd like to test another brand, but who knows. Maybe we'll end up with a V70 at last.

When it comes to equipment, we'd of course like to have all the things you can imagine, but as we're not buying a new car, we can't get everything. The things we look for in a car is that it should have an automatic transmission, because we're used to having that. Automatic transmissions are not very common in Finland, though. Another requirement is of course air condition, and leather seats would be nice. As I'm not that into the technical part of cars, I'm happy that the car is functioning and that I can drive safely with it. Something we're missing in our current car is an engine heater and that's a good thing to have in the dark, freezing, Finnish winters.

What kind of cars are fuel-efficient? That's one of the most important things to us when choosing a car, as the gas prices have been rising much in the past years. Of course small cars are economic on petrol. That's why we don't even consider buying a very big car or an SUV. Of the cars mentioned above, cars in the BMW 3 series are quite fuel-efficient. An alternative would be a Volvo V70 Diesel car. They have a good reputation of being cheap and safe cars to drive. There are of course other costs than gasoline or Diesel you have to think about as a car owner. The costs also involves costs of car insurance, spare-parts and service of the car. There are many things to take into considerations before buying a car. Spare-parts for certain car brands can be very expensive, and prices of car insurances may vary if you are male or female, and how old you are.

Yet we haven't set any limits for the car price, but it would be great to get a nice car under 20.000 USD. As I wrote earlier, cars are quite expensive in Finland due to taxes. That's why we consider buying a car from Sweden. An alternative to that would be buying one from Germany. If we decide to import a car to Finland, we'll have to pay taxes for it. They vary depending on what type of car you buy and how old or new the car is. Perhaps we'll find a car that appeals us here in Finland. Who knows? Wherever we choose to buy our car, I hope we choose the one that's right for our family.

*In September 2010 we bought a six year old BMW X3. I love the car! The Volvo is still standing here waiting for someone, who would like to adopt it.

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Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Thailand

Voted up and useful. You make some very good points. In the UK, the cost of insurance is also a HUGE issue, as many cars that I'd liked to have (VW Golf V6 for example) would cost thousands of pound in insurance each year.

SOCIALLY SHARING this too ....

Made profile image

Made 4 years ago from Finland Author

Thanks Brett! It has been a while since I wrote this hub. I've been driving a BMW X3 the last one and a half years. It's a great car, but it was expensive to buy even if it is from 2004.

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