A guide to choosing the right vehicle

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A vehicle is an object of aspiration. In addition to getting passengers from point A to point B, most individuals and families view a vehicle as the reward for sacrifice, hard work and, perhaps, years of service. investment. For those who now have the means to buy their dream car, here are some tips to get the most out of your purchase.

Conduct a needs assessment

Before going to the showroom, the future owner of the car should ask “who will use this vehicle” and “where do I intend to take it?”

On weekdays in Metro Manila, it is common to see only one or two people inside a vehicle. Almost any four-wheeler can occupy five people, so the daily commute shouldn’t be a problem. However, the car owner should also think about the extended family. Most Filipino families have extended members, and as the country shifts to a new normal, country travel is back. If you have nephews, nieces, a nanny, or a dog in the house, it’s best to provide them with an extra seat or two. This is where multi-purpose vehicles or small seven-seat SUVs come in.

Roads can be a challenge in the provinces. While most people now reside in or around urban areas, their work or business may require some to travel to remote locations. Traveling to a construction site can involve crossing highways and traversing often muddy trails. It’s true that a 4WD vehicle costs more, but don’t compromise. There are automakers now offering entry-level 4WD pickups.

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Identify the features you need

The more features a vehicle has, the higher its selling price. As a car buyer, ask yourself if these bells and whistles are worth spending a few thousand pesos more over base or entry-level quality.

Opt for safety in evaluating a vehicle’s exterior features. Backup cameras and parking sensors are good to have. These help the driver avoid hitting an obstacle or another car while parking, eliminating the cost of repairing dents and scratches. Fog lights are both aesthetic and useful. You’ll need extra visibility when traveling on dark, lonely roads, or if it usually rains in your area.

If you want to stick to the basics, forgo features that enhance the look of the vehicle. The more expensive grades offer front, side or rear skirts, a rear spoiler and a sportier wheel design.

Opt for comfort and convenience with interior features. A good sound system, with Apple or Android connectivity, takes the stress out of being stuck in EDSA traffic. Modern vehicles are now equipped with a wireless charger, so you can be sure that your smartphone will not turn off when you leave the car. Expect kids to be less bored if there are USB ports and less tired if there are enough bottle holders for their drinks.

One of the reasons to physically visit several brands is to check the luggage space of the vehicle. There are vehicles in a segment that have relatively smaller cargo space. A small cargo area isn’t ideal if you’re bringing a lot of gear for work, or bags if your family is going on vacation.

Then there are the running costs of the vehicle. First and foremost, energy efficiency. Although driving habits and car maintenance contribute to fuel consumption, a car’s engine must be able to operate with as little stress as possible. A 1.0 liter car is generally considered fuel efficient, but this attribute decreases if it regularly transports 5 adults and equipment to work. The same goes for the 1.3-liter 7-seater multi-purpose vehicles. These are indeed affordable, but the engine might have to put in more effort to transport its bodywork, not to mention its passengers and cargo.

Don’t forget the after-sales service

Walk through the front door and a potential car buyer can see and feel a dealership’s level of customer service. Much like buying a policy from an insurance agent, buying a car is a lifetime relationship with the brand and its pioneers. The sale is only the beginning of this relationship. As you head to the service area, take a look at the staff and see if they are approachable, courteous and professional in their behavior.

When buying a car, the sales and service dealer should be close to your home or office. This should be paramount before you fall in love with a vehicle’s design and value-for-money proposition. It will be a hassle to drive 30 kilometers or an hour to take your car for scheduled maintenance.

When you take a car in for maintenance or repair, certain parts need to be replaced. Brands that do not sell in volume may have difficulty obtaining parts for your vehicle. This will involve waiting and coming back after a few days or weeks.

Remember to take the time and shop around with multiple brands and dealerships to find the right car and the best deal for you. As someone who has invested in this goal for many years, now is the time to buy your dream car.

Marion Evangelista, RFP CTEP CTA is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines. To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 98th RFP program in October 2022. To inquire, email [email protected] or text at 0917-6248110.

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