Buying a car is a crucial financial decision, and for first-time buyers, quite a stressful one. The process can become confusing if you aren’t car literate, and the salesperson starts discussing technical terms. If you want to eliminate the hassle or mitigate it, you need to have some knowledge about these terms as it will help you pick the right car for your needs.
The make and model are certainly important factors, but the decision is more complex and goes beyond that. You need to know the specs that you want in the car. Different brands have different sets of features in their cars. Some boast of a better fuel economy; some have enhanced safety features, while others are merely aesthetic. Some of these features come standard in most cars, but few are still considered luxuries and cost more.
It is a good idea to make a list of features that are non-negotiable for you as a first-time buyer. To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled some essential specs that you should consider when buying your first car. Read on to find out.
Engine type and capacity:
Choosing between gasoline, diesel, electric, and hybrid is a tricky choice, even for experienced car buyers. There are many factors to consider, which makes the process even more complicated. Diesel cars have more fuel efficiency, but they are costlier and high on maintenance.
The decision for the engine type and capacity should be based on your daily driving and the terrain. If you are frequent on the road, gasoline or diesel-powered engine might be an ideal choice for you. However, if you drive in simple terrain with short drive distance, consider buying an EV or a hybrid model. It will limit your visits to the station and significantly lower your fuel expenses.
Engine capacity refers to its displacement and is proportional to the amount of power it can create. It is measured in liters, cubic centimeters, and cubic inches. Engines with larger capacity are powerful, but they consume more fuel compared to an engine with smaller capacity.
The transmission type is a fundamental factor to consider when buying a car. It is the gearbox mounted on the engine which converts the combustion power into the momentum that drives the vehicle. It does all of this through the gearbox that can be operated either manually or automatically.
A car with a manual transmission type involves a clutch that is engaged and disengaged by the driver to shift gears. In an automatic transmission, this happens automatically. The transmission regulates the speed of the car without the need for the driver to engage a clutch.
Traditional cars have predominantly used manual gear. However, the number of automatic transmission type has increased significantly over the last few decades. In 1985, only 5 percent of the cars in the UK had an automatic transmission, a number which has now grown to over 40 percent.
Each transmission type has pros and cons. So, the decision for the right transmission ultimately comes down to personal preferences.
Boot space is a relatively simpler term on a car spec sheet. It refers to the luggage storage capacity in the vehicle’s boot. In hatchbacks and 5-seater SUVs, the boot space is usually just the back of the rear seats while it acts as a separate unit in sedans.
Everyone has a different requirement for boot space, depending on the type of material they transport. Generally, if you are purchasing a family car, boot space should get the utmost attention.
The boot opening is a factor that also needs some consideration. A boot with a bigger opening facilitates loading up in case you have restricted movement.
Torque refers to the amount of ‘turning force’ being exerted on the wheels by the engine of the car. Torque also defines the pulling capacity of the engine’s powerband. More torque means that the engine is more suited to perform heavy work like hauling, towing, and driving steep terrains. This also allows the vehicle to accelerate comfortably even in higher gears. This is the reason why diesel-powered vehicles are better suited for highway driving and long drives.
Torque is typically measured in Newton-Meters or Pounds-Feet. Maximum torque is the maximum amount of torque produced by the engine. The peak value is achieved only at a certain RPM (revolution per minute), so you might see specs like ‘X’ lb. ft of torque at ‘Y’ RPM.
Drivetrain refers to the system that transfers power from the gearbox to the axles of the car. Most of the vehicles in today’s market come with 4 types of drivetrains. They are:
- Front-wheel drive
- Rear-wheel drive
- All-wheel drive
- 4-wheel drive
AWD and 4WD are different since AWD is locked into all-wheel drive all the time, while 4WD has to be toggled into this mode manually by the user. For instance, if your car is stuck in mud while off-roading, you can switch it to a 4-wheel drive to transfer power to all wheels.
Safety features are probably the most crucial aspect to consider while buying your first car. Nothing is more important than your safety on the road. Whether you go to a dealership and pay in fiat money or visit an online platform to buy cars with cryptocurrency, look into the features that the cars offers and then choose the best according to your preference.
Essential features to look for are crash avoidance capabilities like airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), and child safety features. You should also consider comfort features such as seat adjustment, climate control, driving modes, and an awesome sunroof. These features will make your drive safer and more comfortable.
Buying a car for the first time can be a daunting experience. You should have a clear idea of the features that you are looking for. If you aren’t acquainted with car specs, try contacting an expert in the field. More research and planning will make the purchase process faster and easier.