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Over 1 million Brits will choose a 4x4 over more fuel efficient cars

29th February 2008 Print
Despite growing awareness over global warming and the effect we are having in the environment, research from Direct Line Car Insurance reveals that 1.2 million (16 per cent) motorists who intend to buy a car over the course of the next year will purchase either a people carrier or 4X4 ‘Chelsea tractor’. In fact, motorists are four times more likely to buy a less fuel efficient vehicle than the more environmentally friendly hybrid or ‘eco’ cars this year.

With new car registration plates out on 1st March 2008, many motor enthusiasts have already set their sights on securing one of their favourite brand new vehicles with over a fifth (22 per cent) planning on purchasing a brand new car within the next 12 months.

When it comes to car brands the most popular brands are still Ford, Toyota and Vauxhall. Despite the recent trends for more retro style cars, the Mini comes at the bottom of the wish list. Conservative choices lead the way on colour with silver/grey topping the list, followed by blue and red.

Tony Chilcott, Head of Car Insurance at Direct Line, said, “As a nation, we take pride in our cars and with new car registration plates available in the Spring, March is a popular time of year for people to purchase a new one. Choosing a more fuel efficient car can limit further damage to the environment, as well as provide financial benefits. And with ever increasing petrol prices, drivers are always looking for ways to cut the costs of motoring. If you are buying a new vehicle, it is quick and easy to amend your existing insurance policy. Direct Line is offering very competitive quotes on brand new vehicles currently.”

The research also reveals that despite the London congestion charge, 27 per cent of Londoners are planning on buying a car in the next year, compared to just 20 per cent of those living in the Midlands and 21 per cent of Northerners.

Direct Line’s Car Insurance top tips on saving money when buying a new car:

Buy a suitable car for your needs and the type of journey you make most often

Cast aside your anti-diesel prejudice – modern engines are smooth, quiet and fast

Look for a used car that is already converted to LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas)

Buy a car with a 1.4 litre engine or smaller, to take advantage of cheaper road tax

Buy an ‘approved used’ model from a main dealer. Ex-demo cars often have tiny mileages and are as good as new, but can be up to 30 per cent cheaper

Tyre pressures must be right – an under-inflated tyre causes resistance, which causes unnecessary wear and tear and increases fuel consumption, as does driving with your windows open. Find an experienced private specialist to do your servicing rather than paying more at an individual dealer, but make sure they are manufacturer accredited, otherwise you may invalidate your warranty

Motorists planning on purchasing a new car in the next few months should take time to check their insurance policy to ensure they have the best deal for their new vehicle.

For further details on Direct Line Car Insurance, visit

Top 5 most popular colours

1. Silver/grey (26 per cent)
2. Blue (24 per cent)
3. Red (13 per cent)
4. Black (13 per cent)
5. Green (9 per cent)

Top 5 most popular brands

1. Ford (12 per cent)
2. Toyota (9 per cent)
3. Vauxhall (7 per cent)
4. Renault (6 per cent)
5. BMW (6 per cent)