Reliability, consumption, emissions, options to pay, value over time and more: the assessments to be made to avoid disappointment. Buying a car is an investment that should not be underestimated. Often, the choice is dictated more by the “belly” than by reason: like a model, like the brand and this prevails over other considerations which, although necessary, take a back seat.

Except then emerge when by now it may be too late, that is when you have already bought the car and you cannot change your mind: the interior is not as comfortable as you thought, the trunk is poor, the engine restart is not what you imagined, road holding leaves something to be desired, etc. You come to the conclusion that it was certainly preferable to consider some details well before deciding. Here, then, are 7 things to know before buying a car and how to decide if you want a luxury car or a city car.

These are measures that concern the vehicle at 360 degrees and that have to do not only with the comfort of the passenger compartment, the practicality of driving or the performance of the engine but also with other aspects typical of those who have a “long eye”. For example: if in a few years you wanted to change it, would you be able to easily sell the car you are about to buy? Are you sure it’s cheaper to buy a new car than a zero-kilometer or used one? Is it better to take an electric vehicle to take advantage of the bonuses? How much will you spend on maintenance on one model rather than another?

Look at what you can’t see

Appearances are not everything in a car. When you go to the dealership, you find it intact, beautifully washed, in perfect working order. What makes the difference, however, is what is not seen . But that the prospective buyer can know even before talking to the seller.

Internet today gives a big hand to know the identikit and reliability of a car. First of all, because on the web you can find the technical characteristics of the vehicle, consumption , power . The latter data, moreover, is essential to know more or less how much the car tax will be paid (at least as long as the tax is still paid based on the kW / h and not on the number of kilometers traveled, as Europe would like did in a few years with the single stamp).

Then there are the various forums dedicated to the car in general and to individual models. Okay: saying “this car is fine” or “this car is a fiasco, I would never buy it again” is always very subjective. But it always serves to have an extra idea. The most popular forums offer interesting ideas on individual performances, on the driving experience: does it hold well on the road in curves? On bad roads, does the suspension ensure passenger comfort, or do even the smallest potholes feel sick to your stomach? How does it behave uphill? Elements with which you can go to the dealership to compare them with the seller.

How much it consumes

The second thing to know before buying a car is not so much the cost to take it home, but the cost of using it over time. And here several fronts open up.

One is that of consumption . This you will know exactly when you are already using the car, because a lot depends on your “foot”, that is, your driving habits, and where you use it most, that is to say in the city or on the extra-urban roads.

It must be said that the manufacturers evaluate the declared consumption on the basis of parameters required by the European Union, which vary according to the driving context.

Car consumption in urban areas

In the city, you know, you drive (or you should drive) at a moderate speed: you shouldn’t exceed 50 km / h. But fuel consumption is stressed more because of the constant stops and starts (traffic lights, intersections, queues, etc.). The tests in this context last 3 minutes and 25 seconds with a peak equal to the maximum speed allowed (50 km / h, in fact).

It starts with the engine cold and then two stops are made with the engine at idle to simulate the red light. The average speed is 19 km / h.

Consumption of the car in the suburban area

In this case, the test lasts longer: 7 minutes and 6 seconds, with a peak speed of 120 km / h. After the start, you reach and maintain 70 km / h for a few seconds, then slow down to 50 km / h. Finally, the speed is gradually increased up to 70, 100 and 120 km / h. The average speed is 63 km / h.

Real consumption of the car

Pay attention, however, to what the manufacturers claim regarding consumption: some tests carried out by certified bodies argue that, in reality, cars “drink” more than what is claimed. Therefore, we place among the things to know before buying a car that of consulting a trade magazine or a specialized body.

How ecological it is

Third thing to know before buying a car : how ecological it is , i.e. which class it belongs to, if it is Euro 5, Euro 6, etc. This information is essential for those who must enter, if not daily, at least very often, in cities that have areas prohibited for cars powered with certain types of fuel. In Milan, for example, only electric and hybrid vehicles that have certain characteristics (in addition to vehicles for the disabled and others that benefit from the exemption) can enter Area C. All the others have to pay from 3 to 5 euros per day (a considerable expense for those who have to go to work every day), while some, that is, the most polluting ones, cannot access it at all.

How much does it cost to maintain it

There’s not just fuel to consider when thinking about the cost of maintaining a car . The maintenance coupon, insurance, road tax, etc. must also be taken into account.

Maintenance is a sore point but very important to keep in mind before buying a car . Some vehicles that, a priori, may be convenient, such as those running on LPG, due to the low cost of “full” fuel, can arouse bitter surprises when you go to the mechanic. The service of a gas car will always be more expensive than that of a petrol or diesel car. So, before deciding for this type of vehicle, it is worth considering how many kilometers you drive during the year to justify the savings on LPG .

Then there is the car tax , probably the most hated tax by the Italians together with the Rai license fee. A real asset, because the tax must be paid for the sole fact of owning the vehicle, not for using it. The amount depends on the power of the car and the rate established by the owner’s region of residence. On average, it varies between 150 and 200 euros, depending on the model. So, before you buy a car, know that the more horsepower you take home in the hood of the car, the more you will pay for the road tax.

At the same time, the insurance will increase more . Of the TPL policy, that is the one on civil liability, you cannot do without because it is mandatory. Then, there are certain variables, such as how long you have your driver’s license (who has a fresh-fresh one will pay more because inexperience can lead to more accidents), age, place of residence, etc. It goes without saying that at the beginning, that is, in the first years of the life of the machine, as a rule, a theft and fire policy is made and, given climate change, also one on atmospheric events (for example, against hail). It is therefore always advisable to inquire about the offers of the various companies before buying the car. Also because the dealership will make its proposal with some agreed insurance, therefore it is better to already have some ideas so that you can make a comparison.

How convenient is prompt delivery

You may have noticed that dealerships obviously have cars on display to show to customers. One of these can be yours immediately, or once the paperwork has been completed. Before buying a car , therefore, know that there is the possibility of getting one ready for delivery , that is to say new, never registered, never driven and available in a very short time : two or three days at most, or the time to resolve the registration procedures with the Civil Motorization.

The advantage of this choice, in addition to being able to count on the machine within a few days, is to be able to save something . The dealership manages to sell a car without too many demands on the part of the customer and, usually, gives in a little on the price.

The disadvantage is that you have to be satisfied with what is there: the color, the options, the displacement, etc. On the other hand, if you want the car as soon as possible, you can’t even think about getting it “made to measure”.

A similar alternative – not to be confused with prompt delivery – is that of kilometer zero . Before buying a car, find out about the models and offers that dealerships offer on vehicles registered by them and which have traveled short distances. You will certainly have a lower price than the same brand new car, but it is better to check the year of production carefully: it may happen that it is the model just before the last one and that it is not equipped as you expect, even if at first. view do not notice any difference.

What optional to pay

It is one thing to want the machine with every kind of comfort and another quite different is that all the accessories are included in the price. So, before buying the car , find out on the Internet or at the seller which are the standard options and which, instead, must be paid for separately: navigator, wi-fi system, cruise control, sensor for pedestrian detection, etc. Almost all the options are already installed on the top-of-the-range models, while on others you have to have them installed. For a fee, of course.

How much will you be able to sell it

If you use the car often, to go to work or, in any case, because you love to travel a lot, before buying the car you will have to think about the choice you want to make when the vehicle has a certain number of kilometers: keep it as long as you go or change it to always have a relatively “young” car.

In this regard, many dealerships propose an agreement to have the vehicle leased : in practice, after a set period (for example, two or three years) you go back to the seller and change the car. The car will never be yours, of course. But it will never get old and you will save on maintenance, since with a few years of life it will give you less problems.

The alternative is to find out in advance how much the car you are about to buy may be worth over time, that is, if it will still be well quoted as a used car after three, four or five years in case you want to resell it to a private individual . What counts is the reputation of the brand, as well as the care you have taken of your vehicle.

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