If you’re an estate agent, you’re busy – and much of your time is spent on the road dashing from appointment to appointment. In many respects, your car becomes your office and you’ll be looking for some mod cons to go in it.
You need to know where you’re going and preferably factor in traffic conditions, so a sat nav is probably essential. You might also want to consider adaptive cruise control to make any long distances more bearable, or even an automatic transmission to make stop-start driving in traffic that little bit more comfortable. There’s a vast range of equipment available from all of the manufacturers, all designed to make your experience of using their cars more comfortable and easier.
Beyond any additional equipment, you’ll find that which car you select is largely dependent on cost, looks and the type of journeys typically undertaken.
After all, you probably don’t want to be squeezing a big 4×4 around inner city streets, yet such a vehicle might be ideal if you’re travelling to more rural locations involving longer distances.
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
If we’re picking out a few recommended cars for estate agents, let’s start with a couple which are on the smaller side, but still capable off road.
At the more premium end of the market, Audi’s desirable Q2 offers an excellent combination of style, practicality and economy, and if specced with four wheel drive it offers great off-road performance too. Other manufacturers offer a Q2-sized vehicle, from Mazda’s excellent CX-3, to Nissan’s quirky yet popular Juke. There’s a choice to suit most tastes and budgets.
Larger SUVs offer more space, better long-distance comfort and often superior off-road ability due to their raised ride height. The Land Rover Discovery, re-launched in 2017, ticks all the boxes for those wanting superior off-road ability and a luxurious interior. But the Discovery has some serious competition from the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Volvo XC90. All offer an outstanding blend of luxury, space and off-road ability. Other good offerings are available in the form of the VW Touareg, Nissan X-Trail and Kia Sorrento.
For estate agents, creating the right impression is a must and their car is a large part of that as it arrives for a viewing, so many opt for a sense of quality that can boost their brand.
As Nathan Khider, Regional Director at estate agent YOPA, says: “The best cars need to give off a good impression as you pull up to a house. Manufacturers like BMW, Audi and Mercedes tend to have a certain prestige I know agents lean towards.”
If it’s this prestige you’re looking for, the BMW 4 Series Coupe is a popular option that ticks a lot of boxes, including handling, luxury and style. The Audi A5, with its sleek looks and superb interior, is also an option and the coupe gives you sat nav as standard on all trims. If you need more practicality then both vehicles are available with 4 doors, labelled as the Gran Coupe and Sportback respectively.
Nowadays, many estate agents prefer smaller cars that offer nippier and more economical ways of navigating around towns and cities. This has come about in part because of changes in the way estate agents have operated.
Mark Noble, Managing Director at Castles Estate Agents in Swindon, explains: “The landscape of estate agency has changed over the years due to the increasing influence of the internet.
“Although good old-fashioned estate agency still wins the day over internet-based agents, we’ve seen a reduction in the number of potential buyers who visit the office with the need to be chauffeur driven round properties.
“As a result, the need for larger vehicles to take families out to their viewings has long since gone and we now use much smaller cars such as MINIs and Ford Fiestas, making getting around town and parking that much more convenient.”
GOOD THINGS, SMALL PACKAGES
If you’re an estate agent needing a smaller car which is also fun to drive, you could opt for a MINI Hatchback. They’ve been labelled the best-handling superminis on the market – and if you’d like extra practicality and even the option of four-wheel-drive, you might like to take a look at the MINI Countryman too.
That’s why estate agent firm Richard James has opted for the famed English marque, according to Grant O’Donoghue, “Generally, most estate agents would require a car that is easy to park in city spaces and something modern/funky. Which I would suggest is why Richard James chose the branded MINIs.”
The Ford Fiesta is also right up there in the handling stakes and remains Britain’s bestselling car. There are a wide range of models available and, with lots of optional extras, there should be something to suit all tastes. Similarly, the SEAT Ibiza, Fiat 500 and Volkswagen Polo all offer great practicality in a smaller package.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something that’s bigger than a supermini but still practical enough to get around town, there are various options available.
As YOPA’s Nathan Kinder says: “Choosing one of these mid-range cars often means that the servicing prices are affordable and the leasing is on the cheaper side.”
Richard James’s Grant O’Donoghue reiterates, “Personally, I prefer a car that has a luxury interior and has some punch, as some days I may have spent 3 hours in the car!”
You might therefore be tempted by the Mercedes A- Class, which has the prestige of a Mercedes badge yet can be affordable to run, or the refinement of the Audi A3 and the ubiquitous and ever-popular Volkswagen Golf.
Or – completing a list of premium German marques – there’s the entry point to the BMW range, the 1 Series. It’s blend of efficient and powerful engines, premium interior, and rear wheel drive characteristics make it a great all-rounder.
One final – and important – consideration is doing your bit to save the planet.
As an estate agent, there are various ways you can enhance your green credentials with your choice of car, and an ULEV (ultra low emissions vehicle) could save you money, as well as improving your image.
Plus, if you’re working in or near Central London, a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle will mean not having to pay the Congestion Charge, meaning you’re saving the pennies too.