Choosing the right type of car for you can sometimes involve a bit of soul searching. Unless you’re someone who regularly reads motoring magazines and keeps up to date on what’s out there, it can seem like there’s a baffling array of choices.
This guide will help you make a start on narrowing down which car to lease, when you’re looking into car leasing.
The style of car — part 1: practical
There are two distinct categories of thought here. The first is about the practicalities of what you need the car for.
Often, this comes down to family. If you need to fit in two or three children, a larger hatchback is going to be better than a supermini — especially if they’re older. Even if you have very young children, it can be surprising how much space modern child seats can take up in the back.
If you regularly carry a lot of people or cargo, you have a choice. Around 20 years ago, the estate car was the king of this market — in fact, the British used to buy more of them than any other nation. Now, however, you’ll have more options in SUVs. Many manufacturers offer several of various sizes, with five or seven seats.
If you do a lot of miles, a small city car probably isn’t going to be the strongest performer. Instead, look at larger hatchbacks and small saloons — particularly if you travel a lot on the motorway. Here, a slightly larger engine will be safer for overtaking and may give similar or even slightly better fuel economy, as it won’t have to work as hard.
The style of car — part 2: emotional
The second category of this consideration is more subjective: what do you actually want?
Should your car say something about you? Should it be luxurious and smooth? Or should it be fun and sporty?
This, of course, is completely down to your personal preference. You might not especially need a powerful car but, if you just want one, there is more choice than ever before, thanks to the big-engined brutes from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Jaguar.
If, on the other hand, you want something sporty that doesn’t cost a fortune to run, then small two-seater sports cars continue to be popular. Hot hatchbacks offer a blend of both worlds, with peppy performance and handling, together with rear seats and a boot.
Automatic or manual gearbox?
In the UK and mainland Europe, shifting gears yourself is still the default option for many motorists. By and large, a car with a manual gearbox will accelerate and respond faster, and will use less fuel than one equipped with a traditional automatic. You’ll also have more control, which is important if you live in an area with lots of hills.
If you do a lot of city driving, though, an automatic transmission can be something of a blessing. Manuals may be good on the open road, but the constant workout of your left leg on the clutch in traffic jams can be irritating. Automatics are also easier to park, as they slowly ‘creep’ when you let your foot off the brakes without touching the throttle.
The rise of electric cars will, eventually, be the death knell for the manual gearbox. This is because they use either a very simple automatic gearbox or no gearbox at all.
Whichever you prefer for now, though, we offer plenty of options for both manual and automatic car leasing.
Petrol, diesel or electric?
In terms of the more traditional fuel options, diesel still offers superior fuel economy on motorways. However, thanks to more recent pressure to restrict diesel engines for the sake of emissions, car makers’ development of petrol engines means that these are now almost as economical.
Petrol cars are much more responsive, particularly for smaller capacity engines, while diesels are better at pulling weight — for example with a heavy car like a big SUV, or pulling a caravan.
Of course, electric cars are now very much with us, and increasingly common. Even as electricity costs soar, and are expected to do so more as 2022 progresses, they still represent a huge cost saving over fuel.
Although internal combustion engined cars are still cheaper to buy outright, electric car leasing avoids this because you only effectively pay for the depreciation over the time of the lease, rather than the full price. Leasing also means you avoid paying the £320 annual road tax bill for electric cars with a list price over £40,000.
With that said, there are some important considerations that might mean an EV isn’t right for you. For one thing, electric cars are usually more expensive to insure than their fossil fuel-powered cousins. This is because any shunt that even slightly damages one of the batteries will mean the whole set needs to be replaced, at a cost of several thousand pounds to the insurer.
Another is that you’ll need a dedicated charging point installed at your home. Although there are grants available for this, it means you’ll need your own parking space. If you park on the street — or, worse, you live in a block of flats — that isn’t going to work.
There are, of course, an increasing number of public fast charging points around the UK. Be aware, though, that they aren’t evenly distributed, and different chargers are compatible with different cars. If you regularly drive long distances, it might be better to wait until the technology develops further before you swap the pump for the plug.
Length of the lease
Most of the leasing deals we offer have a choice of lasting 24, 36 or 48 months.
The period that’s right for you depends on how regularly you want to upgrade the car. A two-year lease will keep you more up to date with technology, as well as meaning you’ll always have a car that’s reliable and under warranty.
Going for a longer lease, up to four years, will sacrifice some of that and mean you aren’t at the cutting edge all the time. However, it will mean that your monthly payments are significantly cheaper, as they’re spread over a longer timeframe.
Take a look through our range of car leasing deals to find out what might be best for you. Choose from leading manufacturers including Ford, Audi, Tesla, Land Rover, BMW, Kia and many more.