Help! Which Car Should I Buy For Summer Road Trips?
Written by Jaillan Yehia
I always find the idea of actress Minnie Driver’s school nickname really amusing. Apparently she was known by friends as Tiny Motorist.
I feel like I’m a bit of miniature motorist myself sometimes; still in the kindergarten stages when it comes to car knowledge.
I’m a motorist with a small m; yes I have a car and I drive places, but I don’t really think about cars, and I certainly don’t know any more than the bare minimum about how they work.
I don’t want a car as a big status symbol and I don’t need to go from 0-60 in record time, I just want to be comfy, safe and not break down on the way to where I’m going, because for me the destination is the whole point.
Typical woman driver I may be, but let’s not get into all that.
With summer coming I’m ready to buy a new car (new for me not brand spanking new; budget of a freelancer and all that) and head off on a few serious road trips across the UK and Europe – so I would really like some outside opinions about what to take into consideration, because I’m not sure where to start.
So if you’ve got any car tips, love your own car and would recommend it, or have any words of warning for me, please read on and share your opinion…
Now that I am ready to buy a new car to tackle some summer road trips, I can see clearly why certain car manufacturers incentivise driving instructors to use their vehicles.
Because thinking about which cars I am considering, they’ve all got one thing in common, they’re makes and models of cars that I’ve driven before.
But I don’t want to limit my choices to cars I already know. That’s why I want your advice.
I learned to drive on a VW Golf so that’s something I’ve always been comfortable thinking about buying, and apart from that my main driving experience has been in 3 different version of a Honda Civic, so I’ve built up a level of trust with that make and model of car.
But when it comes to buying my next car I want to take a more crowd sourced approach to the research phase.
Like most people I always ask around on social media for advice on every other aspect of life – from where to go on holiday to how to fix a problem with my Mac – so I decided to ask you for your opinion on cars, because, well, it’s a pretty important decision.
So, this is what I’m after:
1.A Reliable Car
As well as the obvious popping to the shops and errand running, the whole point of a new car for me is having the freedom to throw a suitcase in the boot and go off anywhere in the UK for a staycation or drive within Europe this summer, with little notice and less worry.
So as someone not mechanically minded, I’m looking for something super reliable that I can drive off in with as little fear of breaking down as possible.
2. A Comfy Car
I want something comfortable but it doesn’t have to be flash. As long as I have a few mod cons (heated seats would be nice!) and a bit of space for my bag, I’m happy to go on my summer road trips in pretty much anything.
3. A car with good all round visibility
I love Fiat 500’s and I even follow the classic Fiat 500 account on Instagram. So I took one for a spin ready to want to buy it but I wasn’t that keen on the small rear windows and that’s when I realised that good all around visibility is something I really value in a vehicle.
In fact I also didn’t like the power steering and the weird semi automatic gearbox but that’s another story.
4. A safe car
When I lived in Canada I was driving a rather amusing old Honda Civic – we drove the entire length of the USA so it was pretty fun. But it has about, ooh, zero air bags, and when I was flying along on one of the bridges out of Vancouver (never at anything above the speed limit, ahem) I always felt really worried that if I crashed I’d lose all my teeth.
So if I am now choosing from ALL cars, I might as well get one that’s super safe. The Ford Mustang is the one that appeals to me on this list of the safest cars but as it’s the 2017 model I can’t stretch my budget to this beauty. Maybe one day.
5. A car with a lower seating position
The other thing that didn’t do it for me in a Fiat 500 was the higher, perched up style seating position. I think this might be a bit like riding a bike – I can’t stand racing bikes and being perched up, but I love a sit up and beg style cycling position, so I’m obviously a low rider at heart.
6. A car that’s good for the environment
The latest UK rules on diesels rules them out, but I’m also environmentally conscious – I think everyone should see the documentary Who Killed The Electric Car, about General Motors 1997 attempt to take the car market electric. While in Menorca I was lucky enough to test drive one of Nissan’s EV’s – The Leaf – and I really liked it. The fact that it was silent was a little odd but I think it was super easy to drive so I would definitely consider buying one.
7. A car that’s not too big
I don’t need a huge car, and I want something that’s easy to manoeuvre and park no matter where I go. When I went to Cortina I hired a mid-sized vehicle and as is so often the case I was upgraded to an enormous estate car (that’s a station wagon to you US drivers) and this does not please me.
8. A car that’s not too small
Yes ‘Goldicars’ over here needs a car that isn’t too big or small, but juuuuust right. That means one that has some boot space for that huge suitcase with 5 pairs of shoes I’m likely to bring even on a weekend away.
9. MAYBE a convertible
I tried out a nice little Mercedes Kompressor SKL recently (an older model) and I was into it, but I was a bit worried about combining a total lack of back seats with a small boot, especially when the roof is off. Also with long hair, hayfever and living in England I wonder if I’ll really drive with the top down that often.
10. A car that isn’t too Bossy
One more thing, I actually like older cars better – I don’t want my car to be a computer nor do I want it to beep at me all the time telling me that I’m not driving properly.
I hired a car once that beeped every time it felt you weren’t perfectly positioned in between the lines on the road. I don’t want my summer road trips ruined by a bossy car telling me what I’m doing wrong when I’m driving, that’s what boyfriends are for.
So, which car do you prefer for road trips – please let me know if you have any ideas, tips or pointers.
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