If you’ve ever read a car’s specification and felt more confused afterwards you’re not alone. For those who don’t know their torque from their horsepower and their OTR from their MMRP researching new cars online can be a bit of a challenge. But before you think about heading to those car dealers in Southampton it’s worth understanding the basics.
The price is probably one of the most important considerations when you are buying a new car. Online, and offline, cars are sometimes advertised with two prices but the one you need to pay attention to is the OTR, or on the road price. This includes everything to ensure your car can be driven legally, it includes the showroom price and everything else from registration fee, number plates, delivery charges, road tax (for at least 6 months), insurance, VAT and sometimes even an extended warranty and fuel. Generally the OTR price is non-negotiable but it doesn’t hurt to haggle! MMRP or Manufacturers Recommended Retail Price and list price are the same as on the road price.
Car specifications are often broken down by technical data, including information on engines and dimensions, and a breakdown of equipment, interior and safety features for example, all of which vary depending on the ‘trim line’. What is a trim line? A trim line is a model variant, and is often defined by engine size and the number of standard features that are included. Not to be confused with estate and hatchback versions of the same model. For example Studio, Edge and Zetec are trim lines of the Ford Fiesta. The least expensive trim line will have fewer standard features and is sometimes referred to as an entry level. If a feature, such as air conditioning is said to be included as ‘standard’, this means that its included in the price of the car. If the feature is ‘optional’ on that trim line a price will often be included.
You don’t need to be a car expert to understand the technical information (although it does help!) First thing to know is the 1.2 or 2.0 refers to the engine size in litres, which is directly related to how much power the engine is capable of producing (you might also hear them referred to as a 1200cc or 2000cc, this is the measurement in cubic centimetres.) Put as simply as possible- in order for an engine to work ‘pistons’ within an engine’s cylinders have to move back and forth to move air and fuel around in a cycle. How much is moved around, or how much work the engine does, combined with the number of cylinders gives the engine size. Generally speaking the bigger the engine size the more power that can be produced, and the quicker the car is able to accelerate. Although this is not always the case as a ‘turbo’ engine may be 1.6 litres but produce more power than a normal 2.0 litre engine.
The best way to determine how powerful an engine is is to have a look at the torque and max power,or BHP (Brake Horsepower). Brake Horsepower refers to the maximum amount of power the engine is capable of producing, for example a 210 bhp engine is more powerful than a 170bhp engine. Torque is a bit more complicated to explain. It refers to the turning force or power that is transferred to the cars wheels, which directly affects how fast an engine works. Torque is often confused with horsepower, but a good way to explain the difference is that torque gets you going and horsepower keeps you going. Torque is normally measured in foot pounds (ft-lbs) or Newton meters (Nm) and is often seen alongside @ rpm (revolution per minute).
Of course, how economical an engine is also a key consideration. On the specification a cars fuel economy will be expressed as MPG, or miles per gallon. This gives an indication of how many miles per gallon of fuel (petrol or diesel) a car will do, but manufacturers will often stress this is not a concrete figure. Generally a diesel engine will do more miles per gallon than a petrol engine, which is why they are popular with people who often have to travel long distances.
Now you have got to grips with the basics you should be able to make an informed decision when buying your next car from any car dealers in Southampton.