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Deciding on a new car? 7 things you need to know about engine and fuel type

David Simpson of Windsor Clonee says the future is electric.

max-lederer-499312 Source: Unsplash

FINDING THE RIGHT car for your needs, lifestyle and budget can be a tricky process. We want to help streamline the search. As part of our Insights series, every week we’ll take a different car-buying question to the experts at the heart of the motor industry.

January means 181 plates and plenty of new cars, trade-ins and trade-ups. If you’re considering a new car, how can you be sure you’re picking the most efficient engine and fuel type, while minimising your car’s impact on the environment?

According to David Simpson, Dealership Manager at Windsor Clonee, keeping these in mind should help you find the best type of engine and fuel type for your needs…

1. Get familiar with the emission scales

There are a lot of discussions about diesel in the media but the reality is that emissions from modern diesel cars are very low, though some of the older diesel engines like the Euro 5s wouldn’t be clean. If this is a concern, electric is without doubt the cleanest.

I would always recommend a vehicle in the A bracket if you’re purchasing a new car (A1, A2, A3 and A4), though we’d still sell a few in the B1 band which is only 120 grams-130 grams on the emission scale which is still very clean. A1-A4 are from 1 gram -120 grams.

2. When it comes to the environment, electric is best

austin-neill-246588 Source: Unsplash

The electric car has zero emissions and for new vehicles there’s a €5000 grant towards the car and payment towards your own home charging unit. They’re known for their reliability and the cost of running them is unbelievably low.

If you are looking at one, I’d recommend going in and talking to the dealer, there are different batteries and different ranges so make sure you think about whether it works for you day to day and week to week and that it’s suitable for your driving distances.

3. The future might be diesel-free

Although diesel engines are still selling well right now, it seems quite likely that we may eventually go completely diesel-free by 2030 or 2040. About four or five years ago around eight out of every ten big vehicles would have been diesel but nowadays it’s more of a 50/50 split.

There are now a number of powerful low-emission petrol engines in ranges from Nissan and Peugeot so I think that’s part of the move towards petrol engines – that they don’t have to compromise on power with a petrol engine if they’re driving big distances.

4. Consider the distance you travel, as well as the size of your family

leo-sammarco-328796 Source: Unsplash

If you’re doing under 16,000km a year, I’d recommend a petrol engine or an electric vehicle but if you’re doing 16,000+ kilometres, I’d usually recommend a low-emission diesel.

People often consider the amount of people who will be using the car but a really important factor is actually the amount of mileage you do. People doing big mileage will usually opt for a diesel engine as their costs would go up with a petrol engine.

5. The real key to engine value is getting it serviced regularly

I think whatever engine you buy, you have to service it regularly. If you buy a new car today I’d recommend servicing its engine regularly once a year or more depending on the mileage you do.

Any car will last if it’s treated right. You do need to maintain the servicing so go back to the dealer to get it serviced. For that couple of hundred a year you’re protecting the investment you’ve made in the car.

6. Buying a first car? Don’t go over a 1.2-litre engine

cory-bouthillette-152734 Source: Unsplash

When seeking a first car, you should be looking for something with low emissions and low road tax to keep costs down, especially for a new, young driver as naturally they will have issues with finding cheaper insurance policies.

I’d avoid powerful engines that are expensive to run and aim to go for one-litre and 1.2-litre engines. We find a lot of people buying their first car want a smaller engine and a safe car so that should be a priority.

7. The future is electric (but maybe not just yet)

peter-broomfield-239413 Source: Unsplash

I think in the future manufacturers will come out with cleaner engines. I also genuinely believe that they will increase the capabilities of electric vehicles as at the moment, they still don’t suit everybody’s needs.

In time I think you’ll see electric vehicles only. At present, the range capability makes some people reluctant to buy one despite the fact they’re more reliable and cheaper to run. With 100km or 200km charge limits you can’t just drive anywhere in the country at your leisure but that’s already increasing to around 280km in some of the never models.

More Insights: 5 questions to ask before deciding on a new car, according to a motor dealer

More Insights: Choosing between infotainment systems? We asked an expert what to look for

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