Buy a Copy - Or Subscribe
Considering the size of "investment", when buying any car, whether new or second-hand, it makes sense for anybody to first invest the price of a decent magazine, which could help them avoid the dogs, and guide them towards a better deal.
What Car also has a good website, although the printed magazine does still offer some features not found on the website, I suppose they still have to try to sell magazines, rather than giving it all away for free on the website. The website is generally well presented, but is a little flaky in parts, often reporting errors, possibly due to demand and bandwidth problems, who knows?
Most of the magazine features are on the website, and its quite easy to compare a number of different makes, and models, including a running costs breakdown.
Make a 5 Star Shopping List
One feature missing on the website and in the magazine is a table of cars ranked by their What Car star ratings.
To my mind it makes good sense, and it's fun, to start out with a fantasy shopping list, it's also quite motivational. Whenever I buy a What Car, which is only about twice a year, one of the things I do is to run through the new car star ratings, and highlight every one with five stars. This is easy to do with the magazine, and nearly impossible via the website. You might expect to produce a list with Rolls Royce, Maybach, Bentley, Aston Martin, Cadillac, Maserati, Lamborghini, Lotus, McLaren, Mercedes and Lexus. None of these currently have any models with 5 stars (at least the last time I looked). What Car give their overall ratings for value, rather than simply quality or performance, and seem to take all aspects of the driving experience into account.
My latest 5 star list derived from What Car was as follows:-
Budget & Affordability Don't necessarily think an expensive vehicle is outside your budget. There are some good cash deals out there in the market, and they may just include a model on your shortlist. Also some of the leasing or contract hire deals work out to be near unbelievable bargains.
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