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Things to Think About if You're Downsizing Your Car

Whether your kids have flown the nest, you’re moving to a new home with a smaller garage or driveway, or you want to get behind the wheel of something a little sportier, there are plenty of reasons why you might be considering downsizing your car. But before you swap your SUV for a Coupé, or ditch the Estate for a Hatchback half the size, there are some questions you should ask yourself before you go ahead. 

Are you leaving yourself enough space? 

There was probably a good reason why you decided to go for a big car in the first place. It might’ve been to fit all of your little ones and their prams, pushchairs, sports gear and musical instruments – along with their friends. Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt you benefited from the extra space yourself; trips to the garden centre, doing a big shop at the supermarket, going away on holiday. Ask yourself whether you need a big boot and plenty of luggage space, and don’t choose a car that’s going to be too small if so. 

What different body shapes are there? 

From hatchbacks to saloons, SUVs, MPVs, Coupés, Coupé Convertibles, Compacts, Subcompacts and all manner of Crossovers, there’s never been more choice when it comes to car body types. If you’re used to a big vehicle, make sure you get to grips with any smaller ones you’re looking at. What kind of boot it has is likely to be crucial, as some Coupés or Saloons might not have a hatch boot, which restricts what you can fit in there. You might also want to think about whether you can put the rear seats down to get some extra space. 

To find out more about car body shapes, and discover some models for each that might be suited to you, read our dedicated guide

And is there enough space for you? 

You don’t have to be a giant for some cars to feel like they’re very small. But if you are well over six foot, there are plenty of models out there that might be a tight squeeze. Even if height isn’t an issue, it’s worth spending time sitting in a smaller car before you commit, so you can figure out if you’re going to be comfortable in it. Remember to consider your hobbies and interests – are your golf clubs or hiking gear going to fit in that Coupé?

Are two seats enough? 

The idea of getting a convertible sports car like a drop-top Audi TT or the impossibly beautiful Jaguar F-Type Convertible is a dream for lots of people. If this sounds like something you’re aiming to tick off your bucket list, make sure you know whether the model you’re interested in has two or four seats. And if the answer is two, carefully consider whether that’s going to be practical. There are plenty of options when it comes to 4-seater convertibles, such as the BMW 4 Series, but you’ve got nothing to worry about if you decide two seats won’t be too restrictive. 

Can you have a proper road test? 

You’ll obviously want to test-drive any new car you’re thinking of buying, but did you know that sometimes you’re able to keep a car for a weekend or even longer? This is a brilliant way to find out whether a smaller car’s going to be suitable for your needs, as you can test out the car in everyday situations like going to the shops. Or even better, you could hire the kind of car you’re looking at for a month or so, which should give you a great idea about how it’s going to fit with your lifestyle. 

Are the benefits worth it? 

Unless you’ve really not enjoyed having a big car, you may feel there’s an element of sacrifice when it comes to downsizing. One of the major draws might be that smaller cars can be cheaper to run in terms of fuel economy and maintenance. Getting a new car can also help to keep servicing and MOT costs down. But are those benefits worth giving up all of that extra space for? Big cars often have serious creature comforts like the electrically powered split tailgate you get with a Ranger Rover, so can you manage without? 

If you’re looking for more advice on what kind of car’s going to be a good match for you, or you want to test-drive something you’ve got your eye on, head to your nearest Inchcape Dealership and we’ll be happy to help.