Buying a car in Singapore is no small matter. Unlike most other purchases in life, a car will set you back well over a hundred thousand dollars, including refueling to periodic servicing. As such, making the right choice is imperative.
And considering that the general lifespan of a car here is about 10 years (due to COE and not the actual car's lifespan), it is important to ensure that your car purchase will meet your needs for the next decade. Not sure where to begin? Fret not, as we have outlined some key pointers to get you started!
Arguably the most important first step, you must first identify which body type suits your needs the most. From there, the parameters are set and you will find the process of narrowing down your options a lot easier.
Looking for an economical city runabout? A bread-and-butter saloon car or hatchback are available. Looking for more space for your family trips or work? A station wagon is the answer, with the cavernous boot space available. You may even consider getting an MPV, should you need a third row of seats for your tiny tots! Want that extra “road presence”, in the form of big vehicular dimensions, MPV-challenging space and superior visibility behind the wheel? An SUV is probably more up your alley. The choice is yours.
Since you will be spending most of your time inside of a car, why not select the one that best fits your ergonomic needs? Hop inside your shortlisted car and get a feel of the driver’s seat, or better yet, opt for a test drive. There, you will be able to assess whether the vehicle’s blindspots are acceptable, whether the cabin is spacious enough, and whether all the buttons and controls are within easy reach. No use buying an expensive car, only to find yourself bending over backwards figuring out the aircon controls every single time!
At the same time, if you have a family with whom you commute regularly, it would be prudent to also assess the rear passenger space together. From the effectiveness of the rear aircon blowers (it is after all blazing hot in Singapore all year round), to the number of storage areas, these seeming minor features will definitely make or break a your road journey! And finally, have a good look at the size of the boot as well, as you may need the extra space to transport your barang-barang for special occasions. It would also be wise to see how easy it is to fold the seats down and back up.
Times are bad, and unless you’re Elon Musk, it would probably be unwise to drop your money on a car with a large-capacity engine. Thankfully, automakers are now scrambling to downsize their engines while adding forced induction, in a bid to match power outputs from larger engines while still returning better fuel economy. Today, you can find a variety of high quality cars that are powered by 1.0 litre engines, such as the Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai i30. Not only are they light on the wallet, they are also more than capable of bringing you from Point A to Point B rapidly.
However, if you want to future-proof your vehicle purchase, why not have a look at the hybrid/all-electric offerings? There are many options to choose from, from mild hybrids like the Kia Stonic to the fully electric MG ZS EV, which we reviewed. And with the COE structure having recently been revamped to bring in more electric vehicles into Category A, you can now save up to S$30,000 in rebates, thus saving more in the long run! However, do note that if you plan on buying an electric car, it would be best to have a charging infrastructure near your home, as they are not as mainstream as we would like them to be, yet.
Of course, there are other factors not listed here that one may choose to prioritise, such as driving feel and engine output. But for the vast majority of Singaporeans, being pragmatic is key, and these three points are good starters in the journey towards settling down on the right car for the job.
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