Advice » Downsize your car and bills – not your fun
Downsize your car and bills – not your fun
Even families can ‘downsize’ their car – and bills
Are you joining the rush to downsize your life? From environmental to financial, the reasons for reining in the excesses of the ’90s and noughties are clear to see – so let’s take a look at what’s sitting on your drive and the options to downsize your car…
Meet the downsizers
Downsizing your car sounds brutally simple and equally depressing – right? You sell your comfortable, fast car for a poorly-specced sardine can with an electric motor that’s powered by two rechargeable AA batteries – right? Wrong! While there are plenty of sardine cans on the market, there’s also a great downsizing option that’s perfect for your life – you just need to work out what it is.
Remember, downsizing is more about efficiency than purely having fewer seats and spending less cash at the dealership. Follow the Crawley Down Group’s guide to choosing the option that’s right for you. Find yourself on the list below…
Family car drivers
Is this me: You have kids and a busy life that means you’re constantly jumping in and out of your car for trips to school, work, days out and weekly shops at the ‘local’ out-of-town supermarket.
Downsizing: With your kids returning from school stuffed full of facts detailing how pollution is destroying the world and – even worse – causing rainy days in their summer holidays, you might start thinking that dropping off at the school gates in a 3.0-litre Land Rover Discovery is incompatible with your hastily made pledge to help save the planet. However, chopping-in your Chelsea tractor for a Fiat Panda is equally incongruous with your need to safely transport 2.4 children, the weekly shop and a dog named Colin. Don’t worry, though, we’ve a downsizing option that’s right for your lifestyle.
Verdict: Fiat 500L MPW MPV How much: £15,840 – £20,330
A Fiat 500? Are we experiencing a sudden bout of insanity, you may ask? Not at all; with the option of seven seats, this big brother to the standard 500 could be just what you’re looking for. Choose the range-topping 1.6 MultiJet 120 Lounge 7st option (£20,330) and you’ll still have a cheap MPV that offers good room for five and the option to deploy seven seats when required – albeit with the rear-most row reserved strictly for children. You also get great all-round visibility and plenty of kit. More importantly, your downsizing goals of cutting costs and pollution will be satisfied with average economy of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of just 117g/km – resulting in standard-rate annual road tax of a purse-pleasing £30.00.
Is this me: You’ve got a passion for fashion and that includes the car you drive. Settling for a bland, low-powered city car is not an option when it comes to reluctantly downsizing your showy, overpriced, impractical and under-used convertible that’s becoming just a little out of step with a new dawning of fashionable humility and environmental awareness.
Downsizing: In a post-recession world that’s woken up to and rejected the boom and bust culture which went before, preserving your cool on the highway is a tricky balancing act between style and economy. Jumping from an Audi A5 Cabriolet straight into a Toyota Prius might be a leap too far, but there are options that won’t have your fashion-police pals calling for you to be sectioned. Here’s our suggestion to cut costs and emissions – while also preserving your street cred.
Verdict: Mini Cooper Convertible 1.6D How much: £17,850 – £27,930 With a timeless appeal that most other daily convertibles can only dream of, the ‘new’ Mini Cooper has managed to retain the retro-cool of its iconic forefather. The petrol versions are more fun to drive, but if you’re committed to downsizing for both cost and environmental reasons, the £18,910 1.6D offers an en-vogue solution to all your motoring needs. With average economy coming in at a whopping 70.6mpg and miserly emissions of just 105g/km – you’ll find yourself paying road tax of just £20.00 per year. If you’re looking for a used version, expect to pay from £10k for a three-year old example.
Mini Cooper ConvertibleDownsizing for the fashionista
Mini Cooper ConvertibleDownsizing for the fashionista
Is this me: The kids have just turned 40 and finally announced they’ve saved enough of a deposit to buy their own home and fly the nest. Looking to the driveway, your new-found empty-nester status leaves your family-friendly saloon or MPV seeming somewhat redundant and – let’s face it – ever-so-slightly mind-numbingly boring. Time to hit the downsize button, we think…
Downsizing: Now that the kids have gone, it’s time to lose the back seat and ditch the family-friendly banality and get your motoring mojo back by downsizing to a sporty coupe. ‘Downsizing’ and ‘sporty’ might not seem the most obvious bedfellows, but it is possible to up the adrenaline levels while also cutting costs – here’s our suggestion…
Verdict: Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe C220 CDI Executive SE 2dr How much: £29,965 to £68,495 Put the years of bland motoring behind you with this highly desirable and sporty Merc. The diesel engine has a plenty of power and comes with the lowest fuel consumption in the range. It might be the entry-level version, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it from behind the wheel. With average economy of 68.9mpg it’s significantly more efficient than a similarly powered Ford Mondeo or S-Max that your average empty-nester might be downsizing. Its impressive emissions of just 109g/km of CO2 merely compound its downsizing credentials – along with making it liable for annual road tax of just £20.00. Go on, treat yourself.
Is this me: Fed up with conforming to the mindless middle-management clones in their Audis, BMWs and Mercs? Read on…
Downsizing: You need a car that befits your position, so turning up for a high-powered pow wow in a thrifty three-cylinder Ford Fiesta might have the unfortunate side-effect of you losing all credibility, not getting the deal and finding yourself signing on at the local job centre. Don’t fret, we have the answer…
Verdict: Lexus IS Saloon 300h SE 4dr How much: £26,495 – £38,495
Show a softer, more caring side to your executive antics by downsizing to this high-end Lexus and you’ll also save yourself plenty of cash on running costs. It’s three to five company car tax bands below a BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics, while the most economical variants of the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class are even wider of the mark. This hybrid offers average economy of 65.7mpg, along with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km – leaving you with no annual road tax to pay. It comes with plenty of standard equipment too; including automatic transmission, climate and cruise control, Bluetooth and DAB radio. Now that’s a great business case.
Motorists might be downsizing their cars, but manufacturers certainly aren’t. Just take a look at how the resurrected Fiat 500 has grown from its 1950s forefather.
Downsizing gone too far
We’ve already established that downsizing your car is more about improving engine efficiency than simply cutting size, but if you really do want to obliterate your motoring costs – and any notion of fun – then why not consider one of these tiny motors…
Tango: Fancy doing 150mph in this miniscule electric car? George Clooney bought one. New from £66,000
Myers NmG: An electric three-wheeler for the environmentally aware Del Boys out there. From £18,000
Kurrent Neighborhood Electric Vehicle: It's an evolution of the motorcycle and not simply a refurbished golf cart – apparently
G-Wiz: All-electric Noddy car does 50mph and can travel up to 50 miles on a single charge. Used from £3,000
Buddy Cab: A Norwegian city electric car, it can seat three adults and travel up to 90 miles