Buying a Car: What Car is Right for Me?


What car is right for me? Maybe it’s your first car, maybe you want something different, or maybe your needs have changed. Whatever the case, you need a new car, and we’re here to help.

So you know you need a new car but what kind of car? You’ve got your hatchbacks, your Utes, and things called “cross-overs”, how do you know which one is right for you? We’re going to do our best to help you evaluate what car you need and then you can either agree, or be wrong.

I Know I Need a Car, What Kind and Why?

Your car should reflect what you need, by way of transportation, in your life. That question we mentioned earlier, ‘what car is right for me’ that’s what you have to ask. Tradespeople drive Utes and Vans because they’re easy to work out of and they can easily store tools and materials. Single, young people, drive hatchbacks and small sedans because they want something cheap on gas, easy to park and low maintenance. Parents and older people go for SUVs because they need more space, but they like luxury and they believe that an SUV safest for their families.

You need to think of a few factors and make a decision based on that. Don’t worry if you want to look into each type of automobile a little more. We’ve done pro’s and con’s about all the different types of cars to make it easier for you. We’re just good like that.

So, What Are The Different Types of Cars?

Run through these bullet points and if one jumps out at you, you can check out more in our in depth coverage of each style. If you’re still asking the question of what car is right for you, look into our other articles on each one.

  • Hatchbacks: If you want something that’s great for parking, has reasonably good storage for a small car, is nimble and comfortable for driver and front passengers, and something a little more economical and cheap to run, hatchbacks should be right up your alley.
    Where hatchbacks aren’t so great is if you lug a lot of things around you’ll find overall space lacking, when you’re driving if you’re looking for better road visibility these won’t do, they sit low on the road and you won’t see over the top of anyone. Hatchbacks are also perceived as being less safe than a bigger car due to having less mass, but you’ll still get airbags, and if it comes down to mass – you’re already in too much trouble. It’s also worth noting that they often don’t have much in the power department and will also struggle to tow a trailer. If you have rear seat passengers, they won’t love it either.
  • Sedans: These are slightly larger than hatchbacks with less boot space. They are catered more to people who appreciate comfort and internal space. These factors always depend on the make and models, a sedan is a body style preference for buyers. They offer good parking ability, although not that of hatchbacks. Can also offer reasonable boot space and rear passengers will often have more room. They may be more powerful than hatchbacks but not greatly. Their towing capacity is much the same as hatchbacks, and any advantages come in possible engine size and chassis size differences. A lot of manufacturers now share the same platform for both hatchback and sedan, just different body styles.
    If you’re wanting boot space and storage, sedans can’t really compete with hatchbacks. They also don’t offer many material gains over a hatchback. A sedan is chosen because you like the look and the internal comfort. You aren’t really worried about boot space, or optimal parking size, you want comfort, size and possibly a larger engine.
  • SUVs: These would suit you if you like the extra height over other road users. If you also want comfort and space, these offer fantastic storage, without compromising on leg room like sedans and hatchbacks. They are also more sturdy and often come with four-wheel or all-wheel drive. This helps handling in wet or muddy conditions. Most modern SUVs are highly spec’ed and come with stronger motors and towing capacities. Their towing ability is one of their great advantages over hatchbacks and sedans. An SUV really complements parents who need the seating space as well as a good sized boot. They are also preferred if you’re looking for something comfortable that will let you see past traffic and have the occasional demands put on it like towing or off-roading.
    The big drawbacks are the cost to buy, the cost to run the larger car and larger engines, the four-wheel drive systems and other things like larger tyres and brakes. The cornering will not be as nimble as hatchbacks or sedans and you may not like how they ‘roll’ in corners either. The big compromise is what you’d expect from a ‘big’ car.
  • As a side note; we don’t have time to cover every body style, but if you want the maneuverability of a hatchback, but the ride height and space of an SUV, check out some midsize or cross-over SUVs. They might clip your ticket.
  • Utes: A utility vehicle. These usually offer great towing capability, great storage (if you have a cab on the back, otherwise things are exposed to the elements) and great room. They will generally have rear wheel drive or four-wheel drive. This helps you get where you need to go, no matter the terrain. Another big plus is that if you want comfort and all that other stuff, Utes nowadays offer really good trim options. You can get a modern ute with all the luxuries you’d find in the brands other ‘classy’ models. Utes will suit you if you need to work out of them, tow things, see above the traffic, need the engine power when lugging things around and like the abundance of storage space.
    The big disadvantages are that they are really hard to park around town, they can be too tall for underground parking, the storage in the ‘tray’ is exposed to the elements and curious hands and they aren’t the cheapest to run either. Usually with the same or similar motors as SUVs, they drink more fuel than hatchbacks and other smaller cars. Their handling is similar to SUVs but they can get a little tail happy when driving quickly through corners.
  • Station Wagons: Our favourite, saved it till last – like dessert. Station wagons rule. All the comfort, luxuries, trim options, engine and transmission choices of a sedan. Except with a station wagon you get a massive boot and seats that fold down. This gives you fantastic storage as well as catering to carrying passengers when required. They will handle great, offer great visibility out of all the windows. They offer better mileage than larger cars, which is great for your wallet. As well as good replacement parts due to sharing a platform with the sedan range of the same car maker. They’re easier to park than SUVs or Utes, but less maneuverable than hatchbacks.
    They won’t offer the height advantages of SUVs and Utes, but they handle better and have more enclosed storage space. Towing a caravan won’t be as easy as with a Ute. If you fold the seats down you’ve accomplished the same thing as a caravan. They are rarer than other cars and as a result prices are often higher.
    We are a little biased when it comes to station wagons. They are really great though.

If you want to endlessly scroll through heaps of car options then have a look at TradeMe Motors here.

With most modern cars it all really comes down to preference. If you see something you like, research it and see if it fits the bill. Researching is essential to figuring out what car is right for you. If you’re looking for a bit more information and a more analytical approach to the different kinds of cars, then check out our Pro’s and Con’s of each type here.