We take a look at a few of the issues you may want to consider before buying a new or used vehicle.
Whether you want a Ferrari or a Citroen, the island is certainly well served with car dealerships representing all the main motor manufacturers and a few you may never have heard of.
No doubt,each will tell you their product is the best and a spin behind the wheel may be enough to convince you that you’ve found your new automotive soul mate. However, before you take the plunge and hand over your hard-earned cash, there are a few things to take into account.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) produces annual lists of the vehicles it considers the most safe on the roads. Its tests evaluate two aspects of safety: crashworthiness — how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash; and crash avoidance and mitigation — technology that can prevent a crash or lessen its severity.
To determine crashworthiness, IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor, based on performance in five tests: moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. In the area of crash avoidance and mitigation, IIHS assigns vehicles with available front crash prevention systems ratings of basic, advanced or superior, based on the type of system and performance in track tests.
However, this is not a contest in which there is a winner, unless, of course, it’s the motorist. What’s very quickly evident is that there are a lot of very safe cars to choose from, broken down into categories ranging from minicars to minivans via small, mid-size and large cars, luxury cars and SUVs, across three size categories.
In the small car section the Japanese are well represented with Acura, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota and Mazda all making the cut alongside Volkswagen and Kia.
The same names dominate in the mid-size range, joined by Hyundai, Audi, BMW, Volvo and Lexus. And across large cars and SUVs, Infiniti and Buick are added.
To find out if your potential new vehicle is on the list, visit http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/TSP-List.
The Kingdom has recently had its first fuel price rises in many years and, with subsidies being drastically reduced, further increases could be in the pipeline. Expats who have previously taken advantage of cheap fuel to drive large-engined vehicles they could never afford to run at home, are now making fuel efficiency a much greater consideration when choosing a new or used car, whether for family or business use. Most manufacturers’ websites provide information on fuel optimum consumption. However, if you are seeking independent vehicle comparisons, check out the US Department of Energy’s www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml or www.fuel-economy.co.uk/mpg.php both of which give figures for fuel consumption across a range of vehicles as well as top tips on how to get the most from your car.
Vehicle emissions have been much in the news recently with two big auto manufacturers admitting falsifying their testing statistics. And on a small island like Bahrain, the amount of pollution from vehicle exhausts is an issue of prime importance. To assess the greenness, or otherwise, of the vehicle you’ve got your eye on, visit www.gov.uk/co2-and-vehicle-tax-tools or https://e360.yale.edu/digest/vehicle_emissions_database where you’ll find a detailed list of vehicle emissions.