What to Look for When Buying a Smart Car

Smart car driving in the city

We’ve all seen Smart Cars nipping around city streets – especially if you’ve ever visited continental Europe. They make great urban vehicles, as they’re as long as standard cars are wide. Therefore, they can park nose-first in parking spaces.

They’re nippy and – despite their size – do actually offer fairly decent boot space. In addition, they’re comfortable, with enough legroom for the average passenger. Plus, because they’re a German brand – Smart Cars are actually a division of Mercedes Benz – they’re made with care and quality.

Fans of Smart Cars are real advocates, listing the vehicle’s park-ability, nippiness, comfort, and compact size as amongst its benefits. However, as with any used or nearly-new vehicle, there are certain things to look out for when buying a Smart Car.

Buying a Smart Car: what to look for

 

Brakes

The brakes of a Smart Car are expensive. So, when you’re test driving or inspecting a model, be sure to check on the front springs, as these can break. Furthermore, ensure that you can’t hear any rattling when you go over speed bumps which might indicate wear.

Tyres

Only two companies in the world make tyres suitable for Smart Cars – and they’re not cheap. Typically, the Smart Car has rear wheel drive. The tyre on the rear passenger side will tend to wear the quickest as that’s the driving wheel. Smart Cars are one wheel drive, so check its treads when inspecting the model.

Exhaust

Find the exhaust of the model you’re looking at and gently press on it. It should feel solid, and shouldn’t rattle. In addition, when you’re driving, it shouldn’t be noisy. Replacing the exhaust flexi pipe requires taking apart a significant amount of the car’s main body, which can be an expensive and time-consuming task. As such, ensuring the exhaust is robust and working properly from the off will avoid this faff.

The ECU

The electrical components of a Smart Car are under the passenger foot bed. This means that if the passenger gets in the car with wet boots, some water can trickle down into the ECU, which will damage the car. If you find damp around that area, you can use this as a leverage to negotiate for a better price.

Miscellaneous

The older intercoolers of this car do tend to leak. Therefore, look out for newer ones, as this means the previous owner has been diligent with upkeep.

You also want to ensure that the car has previously had regular oil and filter changes. Of course, it’s also worth checking standard fare. For example, ensure the horn works, the gearbox is responsive, the engine is robust, and body parts are as they should be.

Buying a Smart Car with finance

The final thing to look for when buying a Smart Car is a finance deal that’s fair and affordable. This means you can spread the cost of your new ride. When you get a car finance quote from My Car Credit, we compare deals from a vast panel of lenders so you don’t need to shop around to get a great price.

Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!

What Are the Best Small Automatic Cars?

Sat in a cafe researching the best small automatic cars

From excellent fuel efficiency to breezy parking and low maintenance costs, there’s plenty to love about small automatic cars. They’re the vehicles of choice for millions of Brits, with most manufacturers offering their own versions of this popular vehicle class.

Thinking of getting behind the wheel of a small automatic car? This article is for you. Read on as we investigate what are the best small automatic cars in the UK, focusing on factors like fuel economy, family-friendly features, eco credentials and more.

Vauxhall Corsa – Best for 2021

When it comes to sales, the Vauxhall Corsa has made quite the impression in 2021. The new look supermini was relaunched by the British-owned brand in 2020 and captivated motorists with its stylish aesthetic, up-to-the-minute tech, and zippy engine. Sales have skyrocketed in 2021, with the Corsa stepping up as a serious contender to the Ford Fiesta, which has been consistently crowned the best-selling car in the UK for the past few years. Want to go electric? Vauxhall has also launched a pure-electric version of the Corsa with an impressive range of 208 miles.

Nissan Leaf – Best electric small automatic car

A sporty profile, impressive driving range and affordable price tag make the Nissan Leaf our top pick in the best electric small automatic car category. The latest models are equipped with advanced Intelligent Driving technologies developed by Nissan, including the highly anticipated ProPILOT² semi-automated driving system and smart e-Pedal mode.

With EV charging infrastructure continually expanding across the UK, driving a Nissan Leaf is more practical than ever. The only downside is you’ll need a garage or secure parking spot to own a Nissan Leaf or similar, as EVs can be difficult to charge when you rely on street parking.

Toyota Yaris – Best hybrid

If you want to dip your toes into the EV scene but aren’t ready to make a full commitment, the Toyota Yaris is a great compromise. Fast and compact, this model is one of the smallest hybrids on the market and offers an impressive 68mpg running on battery alone. This makes it great for zipping around the city and keeping your eco footprint to an absolute minimum. When you need the reliability of fuel, simply fill up the tank and switch to petrol mode. A CVT gearbox ensures smooth gear transitions around town, though things can get a little noisy at higher speeds. This makes the Yaris a great option for urban driving as opposed to longer road trips.  

Audi A1 Sportback – Best for luxury

Sleek and stylish, the Audi A1 Sportback is one of the most luxurious superminis on the market. It promises all the bells and whistles you’d expect from the high-end manufacturer, including luxe interiors and lots of upgrades to choose from. It may be small, but the Audi A1 Sportback doesn’t compromise on space or comfort, making it ideal for both urban runs and long road trips.

Peugeot 208 – Best for fuel-efficiency

If saving money at the forecourt is your top priority, you’ll love the Peugeot 208. Marketed as a “city car with a sporty design” this model offers impressive fuel economy of around 44.3 – 56.7 mpg for the auto petrol version. With the RAC warning that British petrol prices are creeping towards all time highs, there’s no better time to upgrade to a fuel-efficient vehicle. When researching what are the best small automatic cars in the UK for fuel economy, the Peugeot 208 will definitely win a place at the top of your list.

Volkswagen Golf – Best family-friendly small automatic car

It’s difficult to outperform the Volkswagen Golf when it comes to family-friendly features. Brits have loved this model for around 50 years and for good reason. The hatchback is practical, spacious, and comfortable, meaning it can transition from school runs to weekend camping trips with ease.

The 380-litre boot offers lots of space for all your luggage, with the option of folding the rear seats down to create a huge 1270-litre boot. Great if you’re taking the dog to the vet or purchasing a new bike. As well as being packed with family-friendly features, the Volkswagen Golf offers great value for money. Once again, this wins it big points with budget-conscious families in search of a small automatic car.

Ford Fiesta – Best all-rounder

What are the best small automatic cars? The universally loved Ford Fiesta has been winning over Brits for decades. It’s reigned as one of the best-selling cars in the country for years, with motorists falling hard for the fun design, smooth handling, and plucky engine.

While we love Ford Fiestas from the 2010s, the latest models will blow you away with high-tech features and systems. Slide into small spaces with Active Park Assist, sit back and relax with Adaptive Cruise Control and enjoy a smoother and safer ride with Lane Keeping Aid. Once you experience these clever new features, you’ll never want to go back.  

Buy the best small automatic cars with ease

Thinking about purchasing a new car but not sure how your credit rating looks? We have you covered. Our car finance checker is built to help you check your suitability as a loan applicant, without leaving a permanent mark on your credit score. Known as a “soft search”, it gives us an overview of your financial history without exposing this information to lenders. This allows us to tailor your car finance options and connect you with the best lenders for your unique circumstances.

With rates starting from 6.9% APR, we make owning your dream small automatic car faster and more affordable than ever.

Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!

How to Downsize Your Car

fiat 500 purchased after downsizing a car

Whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, minimise your fuel expenses or simply fit into smaller parking spaces, there are plenty of benefits to downsizing your car. Of course, there’s plenty to choose from which means it’s important to approach the downsizing process logically and systematically.

Ready to get stuck in? If you’re thinking of switching to a smaller vehicle, read on for our guide on how to downsize your car.

1. Analyse your needs

If you’re thinking about downsizing, you’ve probably already realised your vehicle is too big for your needs. The next step is to figure out how much smaller you need to go. Spend a good few hours thinking about the different ways you use your car and what your priorities are.

Do you want a smaller car that is still large enough to carry all your camping gear? Do you really need seven seats or could you get away with a regular five seat vehicle? Maybe you prioritise boot space over legroom? This step is all about developing an idea of what you’re looking for in a car.

2. Consider weight and engine performance

As well as physical characteristics, it’s worth considering your needs in terms of engine size and performance. Sometimes, downsizing can mean switching to a similar car with a less powerful engine. This type of downsizing can still be a great way to minimise your emissions and fuel consumption. Reducing the total weight of your car can also be an efficient way to downsize, without losing too much physical space.

For example, a heavy-duty Range Rover Sport has a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 3100kg while the similarly sized Volvo XC90 hovers more around the 2000kg mark. In terms of space, the Range Rover Sport and Volvo XC90 offer a generous 784 litres and 775 litres respectively.

3. Calculate your budget

When you have a good idea of what you’re looking for in a new car, the next step is to calculate your budget. Factor in variables like your initial deposit and how much you want to spend overall. If you’re buying new, be sure to factor in any extras you may want to add on as these can stack up fast. This includes features like smartphone media systems, roof racks, heated seats and extended warranties. Don’t forget, there are also a few things to avoid like rust proofing, tinted windows and chrome trims. 

When you’re ready to determine your budget, our car finance calculator is a great place to start – simply punch in your preferred loan amount, repayment terms and credit rating. It will then calculate the typical rate you can expect, as well as the total cost of your loan. This way you can advance to step 4 with a good idea of how far your budget will stretch.

4. Browse the market

With the number crunching behind you, now is the time to get stuck into browsing the market for your new car. Google is a goldmine when it comes to reviews, with many websites going into a huge amount of detail. There are also plenty of great websites that allow you to compare the performance, fuel economy and features of several different models simultaneously. Test drives are essential and will give you a good idea of how a car feels behind the wheel.

On the hunt for a used vehicle? Our clever My Car Search feature uses simple criteria to find your ideal used vehicle. All dealers are regularly vetted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), making My Car Credit one of Britain’s safest online platforms for purchasing used vehicles. Buying a used car can unlock enormous savings, especially if you’re looking to purchase a model that’s only a year or two old.

5. Find a good lender

You’ve homed in on the perfect car, now to find the perfect lender. At My Car Credit, we specialise in unlocking the best finance rates for everyone, whether you’re shopping for a nearly new Nissan Qashqai or a used Volkswagen Golf. We partner with an extensive network of partners across the UK to find competitive finance plans that work for you. Using your credit rating, we’ll unlock the best car finance deals in Britain.

Not confident in your credit score? We pride ourselves on finding solutions for every motorist, regardless of how high or low their credit score. Reach out to one of our friendly customer service agents today to find out more and kickstart your downsizing journey. 

Representative APR 8.9%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating

Excellent

  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed

Good

  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs

Fair

  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit

Poor

  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past

Bad

  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan
£

X monthly repayments of
£X

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable

X% APR*

£X

£X

*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 8.9%, annual interest rate (fixed) 8.86%, 47 monthly payments of £184.94 followed by 1 payment of £194.94 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,387.12, total amount payable is £8,887.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!