Before You Buy

Yuppie Four-wheel Drives

They’re an environmental and safety nightmare and their days are numbered.

Forty years ago, four-wheel drives were for farmers, soldiers, hunters and the odd explorer. They were listed in most car guides as commercial vehicles, along with pickup trucks and goods vans. The sight of a four-wheel drive on Main Street simply meant that Farmer Brown had come to town for the day.

Cabriolets & Convertibles

Convertibles are so beautifully impractical that they often remain the domain of the young and the rich, but that doesn’t stop us wanting one.

Japanese Secondhand Imports

For all our concerns, many people have had a great run from Japanese imports.

Few topics have stirred such controversy as imported secondhand Japanese cars. They wiped out New Zealand’s car manufacturing industry and would do the same in Australia if they were ever allowed in en masse.

Types of Vehicles

What do terms like ‘sedan’, ‘kingcab’ & ‘softroader’ mean? Below is a simple, generalised guide. Please note that the pdf version of this article (which you can download for free, above) contains useful silhouette images of each type of vehicle to accompany the descriptions.

Please note also that there is no universal agreement as to what many common vehicle terms actually describe, so we can’t guarantee that everyone will agree with our descriptions or even the names we give types of vehicles. 

Depreciation in the UK

It’s true: the value of your car plummets the moment you drive it off the forecourt. The average new car in the UK loses about 40% in the first year. Then the depreciation eases off to a more manageable level of about 10% per annum, assuming you drive around 10,000 miles per year.
That’s why the smart new car buyer will choose a car that’s already a year or so old: that way, the depreciation monster will have already taken its biggest bite, but there will still be plenty of new-car guarantee left.