When shopping for a new car, it’s reassuring to know that it’s quite difficult to make a really bad choice. Almost without exception, today’s new cars are carefully designed, expertly assembled and built to last.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy to pick a really good one, however. Taking into account make, model, engine, transmission and major trim levels, there are roughly 4,500 cars to choose from today, sold by 50 brands. Real clunkers may be extinct, but there’s still a huge choice between average and outstanding. There are also huge variations in value for money, length of warranty, ride comfort and handling, fuel economy and practicality.
Selecting a vehicle that will really hit the spot requires careful thought and a little research – plus the vital visit to dealers to test-drive shortlisted cars.
Your first step should be to assess which sizes and styles of car are capable of carrying your family and their luggage. Most manufacturers provide digital brochures for download, allowing you to weed out those cars with an absence of legroom or a boot like a shoe box.
Once up close to a candidate car, don’t be seduced by its lustre and new-car smell. It may help to make a checklist beforehand.
Work out where you would stow your bits and pieces, check if there is a socket to charge your phone, and remember to assess the needs of passengers – front and back. No one will thank you for prioritising sporty acceleration and go-kart handling if your car makes the dog whimper and the kids throw up.
It’s also important to park your prejudices: many families are attracted to the space, practicality and comfort of a sports utility vehicle (SUV) – the higher seating position can be a boon when strapping toddlers into kiddie seats, for instance – but mistakenly assume all 4x4s are gas guzzlers. That preconception is entirely outdated and the current generation of SUVs are lighter and more efficient than ever.
With aerodynamics no longer of the barn-door variety, efficient diesel engines and the option of front-wheel drive, rather than full 4×4 hardware, the fuel consumption of a new SUV can be surprisingly frugal. The New Hyundai ix35, for example, is a family SUV that can eke out as much as 53.3mpg* under the combined-cycle test.
Obviously it’s preferable to avoid accidents in the first place, so look out for the presence of an electronic stability control program in the cars of your choice. Identified by the letters ESP, ESC or DSC, this electronic system can keep you safely in control in slippery conditions or during emergency manoeuvring.
Good all-round vision also maximises the chance of spotting trouble ahead, so remember to assess if screen pillars or mirrors get in the way during your test drive. The commanding viewpoint of an SUV is often cited as an advantage, helping the driver to spot trouble far in advance. A colour reversing camera can also give a safe view behind the car, so see how much one would cost – many are now included as standard.
Do your homework and you may be surprised by how quickly the bewildering choice of cars on the market today boils down to few strong and sensible options for the family-minded motorist.
One of these options should be the New Hyundai Tucson.
This is a car that puts great design in the hands of its drivers. Its purposeful crossover silhouette gives way to an interior that is both spacious and comfortable, and packed with technology to make your driving experience both pleasurable and safe. Five well-equipped trim levels offer a wide range of specification to meet your desires, with everything from a touchscreen satnav with rear view camera to heated seats, bi-xenon headlights, Bluetooth wireless connectivity with voice recognition and USB and aux connections.
The Tucson is well equipped to take care of your family too, offering an impressive five star safety rating and a range of standard safety specification including Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and six airbags. There are also ISOfix child seat anchorage points for the rear outer seats to allow you to fit child seats securely.
All of this wizardry comes in a package that marries ample interior space for front- and rear-seat passengers and their luggage with surprising frugality at the fuel pump, and impressively low CO2 exhaust emissions. The New ix35 1.7 CRDi 2WD, for instance, emits just 139g/km of CO2 while averaging 53.3 miles per gallon* under the combined-cycle test, without compromising on ride, handling, or sheer driving pleasure.
Further security comes from the knowledge that all of this engineering and design excellence is backed by Hyundai’s five-year unlimited mileage warranty, which also includes five-year roadside assistance and five years of annual vehicle health checks. The New Tucson is a car built to suit your family’s lifestyle.