It’s optional extras that car buyers need to think about carefully”


Opinion new carsToo often new car buyers don’t think about optional extras – and that’s a big mistake, says Mike Rutherford

I honestly can’t remember the last time I drove a mainstream all-new model that was badly designed, unsafe, poor performing or unreliable.

The hundreds I’ve driven over the last couple of years have started and stopped impressively. Each one has eagerly negotiated every bend, hill or tricky surface I’ve subjected it to. None has left me feeling unsafe.

In terms of comfort, flexibility and cost-effectiveness, all have been admirable. Pure electric cars aside, I haven’t been left stranded and, overall, I’d rate state-of-the-art petrol or diesel vehicles good to great.

• Full guide to buying a new car

Put another way, although there is such a thing as a bad car, there’s no such a thing as a bad new (ie latest generation) internal combustion-engined car in showrooms today.

The prospective buyer now knows (thanks to NCAP and the like) how safe the vehicle he or she is considering will be. It’ll look the part – to his or her eyes, at least. And in terms of its driving prowess, it’ll sit somewhere between A and B – acceptable and brilliant.

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A combination of Auto Express tests and brief test drives via franchised dealerships is the essential icing on the cake. Whether paying a basic price of sub-£10k or £100k-plus, that new car will be right.