By Jessica Jackson
Perceived wisdom states that being a car lover is an expensive curse. The hard economic truth of it is that if you own a large, powerful or heavy car, especially a ‘luxury marque’, you will feel the pinch when it comes to a trip to the fuel pumps or to the garage for a service. There is, however, a way to lighten the load, rather than your wallet:
Downsizing. It’s almost a dirty word to a motor enthusiast, but let’s examine the prospect before dismissing it completely.
Fewer trips to the pumps
Smaller cars are often lighter, generally making them more fuel-efficient, especially diesel and hybrid models. New petrol engine technology also makes smaller models more fuel-efficient. Downsizing doesn’t always mean moving to a tiny car however; for example, in an independent review, the 2012 Toyota Land Cruiser 3.0L Diesel model returned 40 mpg (extra-urban) and can cover over 500 miles per tank. Thankfully for the adventurers out there, there are still options for large 4x4s with lower costs – although these are the exception rather than the rule.
Reduced service costs
Owners of large-engined behemoths tend to dread the annual service costs, but servicing a smaller car is often less expensive and when new parts are needed, they tend to be less expensive too.
It’s all about the carbon
These days carbon emissions decide how much road tax you pay. If you buy a new car in the UK this year, you will pay only £135 road tax in the first year if your carbon emissions are 141-150 g/Km, compared with a whopping £460 in the first year for a car emitting 186-200 g/Km.
Smaller cars and engines tend to have lower average insurance premiums for a variety of reasons, including likelihood of theft, the amount of damage they can cause in a wreck, and the average pay-out on insurance claims.
Quite simply, large and powerful cars require expensive tyres to keep them safe on the roads. Smaller cars don’t require such advanced tyres and downsizing makes it easy to save hundreds of pounds on these costs alone. For instance, a well-known brand of tyre costs around £260 per tyre on a 4-litre petrol car but the equivalent tyre on a 3.0L diesel car costs approximately £160 per tyre – a savings of £400 on each set of tyres.
What are the options?
In addition to saving money on running costs, insurance and maintenance, buying a smaller car is also cheaper on the lot. These days many smaller cars contain, as standard, many of the toys that are only options in larger models. Even when they are options they can cost less in smaller cars.
Whether you are moving to a 1.0L petrol engine or a 3.0L diesel Toyota Land Cruiser, downsizing pays dividends! Think about it, your wallet may thank you!