newcars: too much money? They could be more affordable than you might think buying new The majority of new drivers don’t have much money to spare when buying their first car but buying second, third or fourth hand is likely to cost more in the long run and an older car will also lack the safety features that new ones have in abundance. The chances are that a new driver’s first purchase will be a small car and until recently these tended to lack even basic safety features such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability function and multiple airbags. Euro NCAP’s (see panel) overall safety ratings have encouraged manufacturers to include a raft of safety factors in their cars to keep in step with competition. New cars may also have other attractive features such as Bluetooth, Auto Emergency Braking and tyre pressure monitoring; these are explained in the accompanying panel. It’s not just the extra safety features that make a new car so appealing though. Older cars tend to attract higher insurance premiums, require annual MOT’s, cost much more to run as they’re less reliable and, because they have less efficient engines, fuel and road tax costs are often higher. At this point you may be thinking that a new car is appealing but financially out of reach, but turn over the page to find out just how affordable a brand new car can be ❍ Some of this technology is already mandatory on new cars and anything that isn’t is still well worth having if at all possible. ELECTRONIC STABILITY PROGRAME (ESP) Sometimes called Electronic Stability Control (ESC), this helps drivers avoid crashs by reducing the danger of skidding or losing control as a result of swerving at speed or cornering too quickly. AUTO EMERGENCY BRAKING (AEB) This is already available on some of the smallest new cars and works by firing a radar beam ahead of the car. If the beam detects a hazard and there’s no sign of the driver reacting, the brakes are automatically applied. TRACTION CONTROL This optimises a car’s grip and stability when accelerating. Wheelspin is reduced (or eliminated) either by reducing power or by temporarily applying the brake to that wheel so the car can accelerate smoothly. TYRE PRESSURE MONITORING Drivers often forget to check their tyre pressures so all new cars must now have a tyre pressure monitoring system fitted which warns the driver if any of the tyres need air. key safety tech 20