Back To Basics: Is It Time For A New Car?

September 12, 2014

As Google continues to chip away at its visionary driverless car-powered future, the rest of us are still stuck behind the wheel. But while 2015’s fleet of family-friendly cars might not be able to drive themselves (yet), there are a few gems – from game-changing safety features to cost-conscious price tags – that may catch your eye.

Is 2015 the year of the new ride for you and your family?

To help you make a confident buying decision we’ve taken a look at what’s hot in family-friendly vehicles as well as taken a look at the oft forgotten costs of vehicle ownership you won’t want to overlook, like depreciation, maintenance and of course, car insurance.

The shape of safety to come

In keeping with the autonomous vehicle theme, carmakers have started to look into innovative new ways to take a chunk out of the more than 115,000 collisions that happen in Canada a year according to the National Collision Database, that result in almost 2,000 fatalities.

How do you make a ride safer? Cut back on the possibility of human error.

The roomy yet slickly designed SUV crossover 2015 Chevrolet Traverse employs forward collision, blind zone and cross traffic collision alerts as well as lane departure warnings.

If you’re looking for a classier ride to ferry your growing teenagers on an endless loop from school to part-time jobs you might see something in Hyundai’s 2015 Genesis Sedan. The car includes the world’s first CO2 sensor and will provide slight steering nudges when other sensors catch you departing your own lane and it can emergency brake on its own to help avoid collisions.

If 2015 trends are any indicator; autonomous braking is becoming a popular feature, especially in luxury packages.

Going the distance

While safety certainly tops the list, continually rising gas prices means fuel efficiency isn’t far from the new car buyer’s mind.

At 5.4L/100 km in city driving and 5.7/L/100 km on the highway, the 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid is perfect for the gallivanting soul with a lower price point. The hybrid is set up with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gas engine and an eCVT transmission, electric motor and lithium-ion batter that have a combined 188 horsepower.

If you’re looking for something a little roomier, the 2015 GMC Terrain SUV is your ride.

Although the gas mileage is obviously less than a sedan, for a larger vehicle the Terrain pulls its weight without breaking the bank getting 9.2 L/100 km in the city and 6.1 L/100km on the highway.

Juice worth the squeeze

Of course, the allure of the base cost for some of next year’s crop shouldn’t push your attention from the hidden costs of ownership. A vehicle is a long-term expense. On average, a mid-size vehicle driving around 50 km a day, costs $10,456 a year – about $28.65 daily – according to the Canadian Automobile Association (opens into a .pdf). That cost factors in value depreciation (CAA’s example the 2013 Camry loses $0.20 a km), fuel costs of $1,942 for gas priced at $1.24/litre and maintenance upkeep of $1,020 a year. It also includes licensing $146 a year and $1,041 in interest on a 4-year loan at a rate of 7.25 per cent.

The CAA’s report pegged yearly car insurance costs at around $2,619 on average but shopping around and comparing car insurance rates can help save you some serious cash over the course of ownership.

It pays to be forward thinking and if 2015 is your year – you won’t be disappointed.