There are several important areas that drivers should research. Careful thought should be given to how much money you can afford to spend, whether a new or used car is the best option, what the running costs are likely to be, which body style best meets your needs and how safe and reliable any model is.
Here are the questions every driver should ask themselves when choosing their first car.
What do you want in a car?
Every driver is different. Do you want a car with good gas mileage, an odometer with low miles, a sunroof, or a back up camera? Do you want a compact car, midsize sedan, or pickup truck? Write down the features that are important for you and the ones that you would like.
How much can you afford?
It seems such an obvious question, but too many car buyers don’t do their sums before they set out to choose their first motor. By knowing exactly what you can afford, whether as a lump sum cash payment, monthly loan repayment or finance agreement, you will be able to target your search more accurately.
Will you buy a new car or used car?
The great majority of drivers choose to buy used cars, with 8.2 million sold last year, compared with 2.69m new models. Why? Because typically they are better value for money than new cars.
The reason for this is that new cars depreciate – fall in value - the moment they’re sold. And not just by a few hundred pounds; thousands are lost, as most cars lose between 30 to 40 per cent of their value after a year, and 50 to 60 per cent of their original cost by the time they’re three years old.
Used cars have already depreciated in the hands of someone else, and after three years the fall in value is more gradual. However, consider carefully the duration of the warranty, as a new car could offer up to seven years’ peace of mind, whereas a used car typically comes with one year’s protection, depending on the brand of vehicle and its age.
What body style of car will best suit your needs?
A small hatchback, or supermini, will be affordable to buy and run. But a large, seven-seat 4x4 will be comparatively pricey and the associated big bills – for fuel and maintenance – must be allowed for. Spend time working out which body style of car will best suit your needs and budget.
How affordable is it to run?
Check the car’s fuel economy and compare it with similar models. Call a garage or speak with the dealer to find out the average annual servicing cost. Then, shop around for insurance. Insurance rates can vary greatly between brokers, so be sure to shop around for the best rate.
Need finance? Read up on your options.
Once you have a good idea of the type of car you’d like to buy and your budget, you need to know how you’re going to pay for it.
Whether you’re after a personal loan, a finance agreement, or a lease, it pays to understand your options.
Is this vehicle reliable?
If you are purchasing a used car, ask the dealership if they can provide you with the car history. You need to know the kilometers, how many owners, and if the car has had any accidents, or recalls. If they don't have the history, walk away.
Take the vehicle to a licensed mechanic for an inspection. An inspection may cost you initially, but it could save you a lot of money in repairs.
Should I go for a test drive?
The answer is alway yes. Test drives are important to ensure you are comfortable driving the vehicle.
How do you find the visibility? How are the ergonomics? How long does it take to get up to speed? How long is the clutch? How stiff is the steering? Go for a drive and get a feel for the vehicle before committing to it.
Shopping for a new vehicle can sometimes seem overwhelming. We are committed to providing you with the information you need to make an informed decision. Whether you purchase here, or elsewhere. We want to make the process as painless as possible!
Speak with a specialist today!