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Whittling Down Your Shortlist When Buying a Car

There’s no doubt that having a car can make life easier. No waiting for unreliable public transport, waiting on lifts from friends or spending hours walking just to run some simple errands. You can get from A to B with ease, you can go where you want, when you want. But what will you go for? Vehicles come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, there's different engines, handling and safety features to take into consideration. A car is a big decision and you don’t just want to pick the first thing that you see, so here’s what you need to do to whittle down your shortlist to your dream car


Before looking at any car, it’s important to work out how much you can spend. This will immediately whittle down your choices, and make it quicker to find the right car for you. This could be an amount you have saved, or you could choose to go down the finance route. Put some quotes into a car finance calculator to work out your monthly repayments and make sure these fit in with your budget. Don’t forget to think about running costs, repairs, fuel economy, road tax and everything else when you’re working out the numbers. You need to be sure you can afford to buy, run and maintain the car you eventually pick.

Body Type 

The next big decision to whittle down your choices is the body type. Will you go with a hatchback, an estate, a saloon, convertible, SUV, MPV or something else? Not only are you choosing the overall look of the vehicle, but the size and space too. For example, larger vehicles like SUVs tend to have bigger engines and can be pricier to run - but you do get more space inside. As well as the way the car looks, think of the practicalities. Will this mainly be used just for you to get to work and run errands in? If so, something a little smaller or sportier could be suitable. If you have a family, or go on active adventures such as biking or camping you might want something that’s more spacious. Find the right balance between looks and practicality. 

Manual or Automatic 

Chances are you will have a strong preference already for which of these you want, but if you find a great car would you be prepared to switch? If not, be sure you’re ruling out all automatics if you want to drive stick shift, or all manual cars if you want to drive automatic. Lots of models will offer both options so you can find either, but others won’t, so it’s something to bear in mind. While switching to a different type of gearbox can be tricky at first, it is something you get used to very quickly.

Fuel Type 

The type of fuel your vehicle runs on can affect lots of other things. For example, cars with higher emissions tend to be more expensive on road tax. The cost between petrol and diesel can also vary, and so if you’re looking for the best fuel economy then it’s something to think about. Some cars will be adapted to additionally run on LPG gas, which is a cheap fuel source which is also better for the environment. These days, you also have fantastic electric and hybrid models on the market. There are plenty of options to think about, which will affect cost, the environment and the kind of car you choose. 


Colour makes such a difference to cars. What looks great in one colour can look rubbish in another, and plus the colour you choose is a big reflection of you and your preferences. If you have a particular colour in mind, it can be frustrating waiting for the perfect one to come up, especially if it’s a slightly rarer one. But it’s worth holding out for the one that you want, you will likely go on to regret your choice otherwise when you see your dream car driving past!


If you really can’t find the colour you want, or you want a rare shade that wasn’t offered as factory standard then you always have the option of having a custom paint job done. However, be prepared to budget for this. Car paint jobs can be eye wateringly expensive, but it’s worth it if it helps you to create your dream car. One thing to bear in mind about this is that it could make your car more difficult to sell later on, so if you do want to sell it in the future be aware of this. Make sure you’re updating the DVLA with the new colour once it’s done. Other customisations could include a personalised number plate, it’s always best to use official DVLA registrations. You could have your interior fit with new carpets or seat covers, alloy wheels or smaller accessories like a new gear shift and steering wheel cover. If you’ve chosen an older car, perhaps something a little more retro or vintage. It all depends on how much you’re looking to spend and how custom you want your car to be. If this is a vehicle you’ve wanted for years and dream of it looking a certain way then why not go for it?  

People can tell a lot about your personality by the car you drive, but far more importantly - you’ll feel good in a car you love. It will be fun to drive, and you’ll be proud to own it. Spend some time considering what it is you want to whittle down vehicles, and eventually find the perfect one for you.


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