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Choosing the right car

The following guide has been developed to help you focus your search for your perfect new car, read it online or download a copy.

1. Calculate – don’t forget fuel efficiency
2. Review – which cars best suit your lifestyle
3. Assess – what is important to you in a car
4. Consider – greener choices
5. Evaluate – test drive, test drive, test drive  
6. In the showroom
7. Helpful hints…
8. Contact details

1. Calculate – don’t forget fuel efficiency

Cars vary significantly in terms of fuel type, engine size, and efficiency, all of which can have a real impact on the cost of running your car.

2. Review – which cars best suit your lifestyle

Think about your lifestyle, what journeys you regularly make and how you currently get around.

What are the ‘top tasks’ for your car?

• visiting family and friends

• your weekly grocery shop

• getting to hospital appointments

• ferrying children and dogs to the park

• commuting to work

• towing a caravan on holiday.

It’s these kind of tasks and journeys you regularly make that you should consider when choosing your car.

It will also help to think about the roads and conditions you regularly experience – for example, do you frequently drive on motorways, or country lanes; or would a compact hatchback for nipping around town be better suited to your needs? Although there‘s no such thing as one perfect car for all occasions – sizes and bodystyles of cars can help to make all of these tasks and journeys easier, so thinking about how you will use your new car will help you narrow down your selection. And finding the right car at the start of your contract is key to making the most of your three years of worry-free motoring.

3. Assess – what is important to you in a car

We are sure to provide the perfect motoring solution for your needs. You can find lots of information on types of cars, body styles (saloon, estate, hatchback and MPV, for example). And why not consider if additional features or adaptations will make driving easier for you?

Working out what you like and dislike about a car you currently drive can help narrow down your choice. Better still, go and sit in it, then take a good look around. Why does this car suit you? What features would you prefer to change?

• I can get in and out quite easily?

• I can transfer to/from a wheelchair easily?

• The seat height is about right?

• The doors open easily and are wide enough?

• The seat fabric makes it easy to slide across?

• I can easily reach the seatbelt?

• I can manage to get things in and out of the boot?

• The boot is big enough for the things I need to put in there regularly?

• There’s enough headroom for me and other passengers?

• It’s big enough for all the family?

• There’s good all round vision?

• It’s fairly easy to reverse or park?

4. Consider – greener choices  

The environmental impact of your motoring depends on the size of your car and its engine, as well as the amount of driving you do and the way you drive.

Top tips to reduce your fuel consumption and your CO2 emissions

• Avoid unnecessary journeys

• Drive smoothly

• Drive at an appropriate speed for the road you are on

• Select the highest appropriate gear for your speed

• Check your tyres and keep them at the recommended pressure

• Keep your windows closed and minimise use of climate control

• Avoid letting your engine idle.

5. Evaluate – test drive, test drive, test drive  

Now you have assessed your driving needs and the available car options, it’s time to visit your local Citygate retailer, take those all important test drives and decide which of the cars meet your criteria.

6. In the showroom

Some of the most important features of a new car can be checked before you even go out on the road.

3 quick questions

If you’re making a list of questions for your Motability Specialist, you might want to start with these:

• Which features are fitted as standard?

• How many ways can I adjust the seats?

• What is the fuel consumption?

The good test drive guide

A thorough test drive is your key to years of comfortable, convenient motoring, so plan to make your test drive as realistic as possible. If you’re going to order an automatic car, it’s very important that the model you test drive is also an automatic. If you use a wheelchair or other mobility aid, always take it with you and try it for size.

A good test drive has three parts:

• ‘Ins and outs’– take time to check that you are happy about getting in and out of the vehicle

• Demonstration – ask your Motability Specialist to show you around the vehicle and explain all the features

• On-the-road test drive – put the car, and us, through its paces.

The ins and outs of your new car

You know that the ease with which you can get in and out of a car is crucial. Yet, in the eagerness to get that brand new car on the road, it’s all too easy to rush this vital stage. There’s no need to book a test drive for this. Try getting in and out several times if you like, using different techniques and various seat adjustments. Trying out various models will help you build up a good comparison, and you might also want to get in and out with the car against a kerb, rather than just on the flat surface of the dealer’s forecourt.

The demonstration

Cars become more sophisticated every year. Our Motability Specialists can give you a ‘bumper-to-bumper’ tour, pointing out key features – especially new ones – and talk you through the controls. If you want to know the difference between an automatic and a semi-automatic gear box, now’s the time to ask.

7. Helpful hints…

Did you know?

Advance payments are a non-refundable payment made to your chosen dealer at the start of your lease. The advance payment is the difference between the amount your allowance covers over the three year agreement period and the overall cost of the car you choose. The amount of the advance payment depends on the car you choose and ranges from ‘nil’ to several thousand pounds.

Some extras are really worth it

Some extras may add a little more to the cost of your car, but could really deliver benefits and enhance your driving experience over the next three years.

Affordable motoring and the cost of fuel

Factors such as vehicle size, fuel consumption and annual mileage will affect your regular running costs. Bear in mind that running features such as air conditioning or carrying heavy loads will increase your fuel consumption. Fuel costs can make headlines – and a real impact on any driver’s pocket. So it’s worth doing some basic calculations on likely fuel costs before making a final decision about your new car.

Petrol or diesel?

Diesel cars do tend to use less fuel than their petrol equivalents; however diesel often costs more per litre to buy. Motability’s online Searchable Price Guide and printed Car Price Guide both include average annual fuel costs to help you compare between models on the approximate cost of fuel. Use these figures to help you see which option might save you money. You could also visit for information about how much fuel certain cars use and the independent tests used to measure this.

Would adaptations help you?

Cars come in many shapes and sizes, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the number of features which come ‘as standard’. Some of these may make the car easier or safer for you to use. Adaptations can also help to make driving easier or more comfortable, for example, if you have difficulty handling a steering wheel, hand controls may help. When you select a Motability car, you can also choose from a large range of popular adaptations – such as push-pull hand controls and steering aids – at no additional cost. Where there is a cost, you’ll find it online at

We can arrange any adaptations at the time you order your car – so when you collect it,it’s perfectly adapted for the life you lead. If you require adaptations, you need to make sure that the car you are considering is suitable for the adaptations you need. If you’ve had adaptations before and know what you require, adaptation manufacturers and installers can help with this. If you’re new to adaptations we would strongly recommend that you talk to Motability first, to discuss how you can get specialist advice. The Forum of Mobility Centres,, offer independent advice and are an excellent place to start if you’ve never used an adaptation before or if your condition has changed.

8. Contact details

The Motability website,, has lots of information on adaptations, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, greener driving, current prices and much more.

For further information on…


Download ‘Make it Yours’ from or call 0845 456 4566.

Contact the Forum of Mobility Centres at or call 0800 559 3636

Automatic, semi-automatic and CVT gearboxes

Download the Automatics Factsheet from

Car measurements

Use the Searchable Price Guide at to select appropriate cars and view measurement information

Disability motoring organisations,,

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs)

Download ‘Your Guide to Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles’ from or call 0845 456 4566.

Online WAV factsheets with measurement information can be found at

Click here to download our checklist to help you choose your new car

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