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Car feature face off: How to choose between two options


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When you’re choosing a car, it seems like there are endless possibilities and decisions you have to make in terms of features, add-ons, models, makes, transmission types… the list goes on. Here are some of the main either/or decisions many people have to make. You’d be surprised how divided opinions are on these.

• Two door vs. four door

It may seem like a fairly insignificant thing at first, but you’ll definitely notice if you make the wrong decision. If you’re after a sportier driving experience, go for a two-door. Most models are much smaller than four-doors, so they’re also good for inner-city driving (and parking!) However, things to be wary of is that two-door cars have longer doors, making things tricky a crowded parking lot. Also, most two door cars are more expensive to insure, since they are viewed as being typically driven by more sporty and high risk drivers.

If you have a family, don’t even think twice about getting a four-door. You’re going to quickly tire of constantly moving the front passenger seat up and down to get the kids in and out of the back of a two-door! A four-door is also better if you often find yourself being the designated driver on frequent dinners with friends.

• Manual vs. automatic transmission

Another fiercely debated topic which divides car drivers all over the world is the old manual vs. automatic transmission debate. ‘Serious’ drivers and car enthusiasts prefer manual, and while they can talk your ear off for hours about why, they actually have a number of very good reasons. Manual transmission cars cost less to buy than automatics. In the long run, manuals also generally require less service, making maintenance cheaper, and manual cars are also said to be more fuel efficient, lowering petrol costs. Then of course there’s the “joy” of driving a manual car, but this is very much an individualistic thing.

However, if you live in a busy city and commute in bad traffic, forget about manual – fuel efficiency will be bad in either an auto or manual, and it can be highly stressful and annoying driving a manual car in traffic jams. If you’re a new driver, you may also want to go for an automatic, as you’re just learning the road rules and aren’t feeling confident yet. Your parents will tell you stories of how “back in the day” they had to learn on their dad’s rusty old manual transmission car with no power steering, and how it taught them such good driving skills – but learning to shift gears AND remember who has right of way can be overwhelming.

• Soft top vs. hard top convertible

For fans of convertibles, opinions are as divided on this one as they are on the manual/auto debate, and there are good arguments for and against each type.

The hard top version of a car will cost more than the soft top version of the same model, but many believe that they provide better insulation and more safety if you were to be involved in a serious accident. However, opening and closing hard tops involve complicated electronic sequences, and if just one mechanism used to open to roof breaks, it would cost a lot in repairs. Also, all the extra weight in the boot when the top is down can affect handling and manoeuvring. Plus you can’t really tell that the car’s even a convertible when the roof is up!

Soft tops, on the other hand, are cheaper, have more room in the boot, and have the classic convertible look which so many people love. Also, modern soft tops are made out of high quality materials, offering superior heat insulation and noise protection than older models. However, soft tops are still easily damaged, and the material is subject to wear and tear, vandalism, and can be less safe in an accident.

Of course, aesthetics are also important when you’re looking at new or used cars.Perth , Sydney, Melbourne and other major cities around Australia have plenty of car dealerships where you can browse through a range of models, and chat to showroom experts about what’s best for your needs.


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