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Three benefits to downsizing your car


There is a big difference between a need and a want. A need would be defined as goods or services that are required. This would include the need for food, clothing, shelter and health care. Wants are goods or services that are not necessary but that we desire or wish for. For example, a cell phone is a need in my mind however an iPhone 6S Plus is a want. This brings me onto the topic of cars, we need to start recognizing the difference between need and want, it can potentially save you thousands of Rands.

Smaller cars:

When my granddad was my age, big cars where all the rage, the bigger the better. I remember him telling me stories of how just about every car had a 5.0-litre 8-cylinder engine. He had kept a few of these cars. He had an imported 1972 Pontiac GranPrix which had a 6.8-litre big block motor. It was as long as three Polo’s and it was made of the same stuff that causes Superman to bleed. Today though we find that small cars are king. The popularity of the small car and the introduction of compact SUVs is testament to this. For anyone thinking about their next vehicle, downsizing to a smaller car is a great way to save a lot of money.


The most persuasive point for swapping to a smaller vehicle is the amount of money you will save.  Whether this is your first car or a replacement, the initial purchase cost is always a lot less than for mid-size and larger models.  They use less materials to create, making them cheaper to manufacture and sell. They also cost less to insure.

There is a need for transportation, safe and reliable transportation at that. However, there is a want for a big, fancy, state of the art mode of transportation. As a consumer you need to work out what your need is and is it more important than your want. So many of us have satisfied our want at a great cost.

For example, you need an off-road capable vehicle for your yearly trek to the bushveld. However you go out and buy an expensive vehicle with all the bells and whistles which make off-roading easier, however it came at such a cost that you end up having to cut down on your vacations due to funds.

Environmentally Friendly

Fuel costs also decrease for owners of smaller cars, which has a more positive impact upon the environment and your wallet.  More economical vehicles also produce less carbon emissions and the lighter vehicle requiring less energy to power it.  Many automakers are now trying to make all their vehicles as eco-friendly as possible.  Be careful when purchasing older models as they may not be as fuel-efficient as some slightly larger, more modern ones.

Once again, look at your need and not your want. If you need a vehicle to get around the city, then you should maybe avoid a vehicle such as an SUV or bakkie.

Easier to Drive

Depending on where you live, work and regularly drive to, owning a smaller car can be a lot better for driving.  For those based in cities it makes it far easier to park in tight spots and navigate narrow streets crammed with thousands of other vehicles.

Turning tight corners, adjusting to speedbumps and avoiding accidents are all benefits of driving a compact car.  Their more lightweight capabilities still make them fun to drive and pick up speed on the motorway, so a sense of power is not lost. 

Now I’m not saying that we should all run out and buy a bunch of little cars. I’m trying to point out the benefits of recognising your need over your want. Knowing the difference and being able to satisfy your need rather than your want can save you money.

I’m currently road testing the new BMW 3 Series. Sure the 318i is not as fast or as loud as the top of the range 340i, instead the 318i is the entry level model which features a 3-cylinder 100kW, 220Nm motor. Do I want it to be faster? Yes. Do I want it to sound better? Yes. Do I need it to be faster? No. Do I need it to sound better? No. I really want the 340i model but the 318i satisfies my need for a comfortable, economical, premium product just fine. Recognising your need and want can save you a lot of money.

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Article written by Justin Jacobs
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Submitted: 14-12-2018