Buying a new car is among the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. Although many people look forward to this day, the process can sometimes be quite daunting and challenging for some individuals. The many different brands and models available get many people confused as to which specific vehicle one should take home. Also considering some important factors such as a vehicle’s performance, fuel economy, technology, and price, choosing a car can be a lengthy process than you think. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to help you choose the right vehicle that’s within your budget and that suits your lifestyle every time.
New or Used?
Choosing between new or old is an important step towards purchasing your next vehicle. The budget you’ve set aside is likely to play a big part in your decision also, and each option has its fair share of merits you may want to carefully articulate. Ideally, buying a new car will bring you peace of mind and the vehicle you get will always match your specific description every time.
However, many people who take this route find that they end up losing more money in the end than purchasing an old vehicle due to depreciation. It would be great if you researched on the slowest depreciating cars first before you decide on getting a new vehicle. On the other hand, old or used cars have their own benefits as well.
First of all, these vehicles are more cost-effective than new vehicles and it’s very likely its first owner suffered the initial loss arising from depreciation upon change of ownership. Also, many second-hand cars come with a warranty and some valuable aftermarket policies that give you peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is fully protected. Additionally second-hand vehicles between 1-3 years old can provide massive savings, especially when combined with some added manufacturer’s warranty. Many vehicles sold at an “approved” used forecourt have added backup from manufactures, which means this could be a good start for someone hunting for a used car.
Diesel, Petrol, or Alternative Fuels?
The specific fuel you’d like your new car to run on is another important area you should give some careful consideration before purchasing a vehicle. Some vehicles take petrol, while others take diesel and others may require just electricity in order to function. For people who cover fewer than 12,000 miles annually, a petrol engine is an excellent option. Diesel vehicles cost more than petrol vehicles, and a person has to cover a longer distance than usual in order to notice a striking difference in fuel savings.
However, it’s important to note that most used-car markets give much preference to petrol-engine vehicles than diesel vehicles, as consumers are often frustrated by the exorbitant prices of larger petrol engines. And most plug-in hybrid and petrol-hybrid brands provide lower running costs than petrol-only vehicles, but these types of vehicles are far more expensive than a conventional diesel or petrol model nevertheless.
Also the kind of journeys a person will be taking with their vehicle is another important aspect worth some consideration. If you normally do short trips, a diesel-engine vehicle may not be a wise option as these vehicles need to run at speed in order to effectively cut through the soot that collects in the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter). Otherwise, failure to perform this activity every so often could severely block the DPF over time.
If you’re searching for a machine that provides lower emissions and better economy, a diesel vehicle with mild-hybrid feature could be a good bet. Make sure to have a charging point around to make the most out of the short journeys you take with your plug-in hybrid vehicle. A wide variety of PHEV models, like the Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 and BMW 330e, can be run on electric power for around 20-30 miles depending on how they’re driven. Other group of plug-in hybrid vehicles perfect for short commutes include, among others, the Honda-e, Mazda MX-30, MINI Electric, Vauxhall Corsa-e, Peugeot-2008, and Tesla Model 3.
Decide on a Body Style
Some few years ago, this seemed like a simple choice for car buyers. Motorists who didn’t cover that many miles a great deal of them usually purchased a hatchback. An estate was meant for drivers who needed to carry heavy loads on a regular basis, while everybody else drove a saloon.
Nowadays, many manufacturers seem to offer vehicles designed to fit different lifestyles depending on a person’s specific preference. Initially, 4-wheel-drive cars were specifically tailored for farmers and those based in the Scottish Highlands. But now crossovers like the Ford Puma, Nissan Juke, and Renault Kadjar have greatly redefined both hatchbacks and SUVs, which has made life easier for many people as a consequence. In addition, vehicles like the Mercedes CLS have mimicked coupe looks and saloon practicality in a very dramatic way. Today people can also purchase a soft-top SUV resembling the shape of the Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet.
In other words, every time you’re about to buy a new vehicle, it’s important to consider the shape and size of the car you want. More importantly, it’s also a good idea to examine the body style besides the vehicle’s size and shape. You’ll want to buy a vehicle with a size and body style that serve your purpose, not a car whose big space would eventually go to waste from a lack of use.
Determine What’s Essential
If you find it difficult to pick a particular size and shape of a vehicle, carefully articulate the benefits that one would gain. If you have small kids, a crossover SUV could be a great choice. At least the car’s raised ride height ensures both the children and their seats fit seamlessly into the vehicle. The carrying capacity is also another important factor you should carefully determine, especially if you’re keen on DIY. Such motorists should find a vehicle with easy-to-fold rear seats that stretch flat when dropped.
Because car features usually vary for different vehicles, it would be great to find a vehicle with all the features you need. If you prefer a car with features such as leather seats, parking sensors, and sat-nav, make sure you purchase a vehicle with all these features because it would have much better value than opting to add the items individually as options.
More than 75% of new vehicles are usually purchased using some form of finance. In fact many dealers are encouraged to sell vehicles this way, which means paying cash is no longer a top priority. There are also many benefits that a buyer enjoys for purchasing a vehicle on finance. If you’re buying a car via finance, make sure to factor-in the total price and the subsequent monthly charges.
The monthly charges may not sound like a big deal to some people, but after losing sight of the true cost of options, the ramifications are usually very severe for one to bear. Many people find it particularly difficult to return their money after selling or trading-in their vehicles because of making this small error.
Also carefully examine the final settlement figure presented to you in your finance deals. This is referred to as the “balloon payment” because these figures are usually much bigger than the monthly charges. Motorists whose package bears a balloon payment don’t usually own the vehicle outright, at least not until it’s fully made. Make sure you can comfortably pay for this particular “balloon payment” package in order to take full ownership of the vehicle.
Seeking a GAP insurance policy can also come in handy when purchasing a vehicle through finance. Because if your car is severely damaged, you could easily find yourself in a financial turmoil and end up a very stressed person because of the hard financial impact. But with a GAP insurance cover in place, all your financial problems would be addressed and thus would also give you peace of mind as a consequence. If you’re exchanging a used vehicle as part of the purchasing process, first figure out how much it’s worth before you go hunting for a new car to ensure the dealer gives you a competitive quote.
Determine the Running Costs
Many people often push themselves beyond their limits when setting a budget for a new vehicle. Although sometimes monthly charges may seem quite low, factors like running costs, insurance premiums, and excessive fuel consumption could leave you resenting your vehicle. Other important aspects worth checking include the list price, CO2 emissions, and fuel type so that you may verify whether you’ve met all the first year’s road tax requirements. Any recent modifications means that unless your vehicle is a zero-emission model (a purely-electric or hydrogen-operated car), you should pay £150 annually from the second year onwards. Plug-in hybrid car owners get a £10 discount upon clearing payments, while both electric and zero-emission hydrogen vehicle cost nothing to tax.
It’s important to note that if you’re searching for a fairly old vehicle registered before 1 April 2017, it would be subject to a new tax system that’s different from the previous one. These changes may cost you much more or less based on the car’s CO2 emissions figure and engine size. From 1 April 2017, the government added another subcharge to every vehicle worth more than £40,000.
Conventional diesel and petrol vehicles valued above £40,000 also bear an additional supplement of £325 per annum for the first 5 times they’re taxed. This means the total annual cost usually staggers around £475 and £465 for an alternative fuel-engine car such as a plug-in hybrid. Bear in mind the annual road tax returns to the initial flat rate of £140 or £150 per annum after the five year period lapses.
In April 2020, all electric vehicles worth more than £40,000 were exempted from this particular supplement. This exemption was also backdated and subjected to every zero-emission model registered from 1 April 2017 onwards. Company-car drivers are also liable for a Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax, depending on their vehicle’s CO2 emissions figure. Such drivers should think carefully about this before purchasing a new vehicle.
Fuel economy is another pivotal area worth some deep thinking also. Before it was difficult to effectively articulate the official figures from manufacturers’, but now things are different. The new World Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) ensures all fuel and emissions testing reports are accurate to the letter and has been this way since 2017. Before WLTP was created, the old NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) testing regime was the one that the government used to determine fuel economy and emissions testing in vehicles around the country.
Although any official fuel economy figures are deemed accurate under the new WLTP test, these figures should be used on the basis of a yardstick when comparing vehicles. This is because fuel economy is usually much dependent on the way a vehicle is driven and the surrounding conditions. Make sure to look out for the trip computer when taking your vehicle for a test drive to ensure you get a more realistic economy figure.
Your dealer can also assist you in obtaining this information, so make sure you ask should you experience any problems. Also comparing insurance quotes for any vehicle you’re thinking of buying could make a striking difference than you think. Some models are more expensive to insure than others, so be sure to check around with different companies to get a sweet deal.
Create a Shortlist of Cars and Test-Drive Each Vehicle
After you’ve narrowed down your search to 2 or 3 models, grab a phone and book some test-drives. If a certain engine and other specifications strongly appeals to you in any vehicle, test a different model with similar attributes. Also bear in mind a different engine and gearbox combinations can heavily change the way a vehicle drives, as can variations like large allow wheels and sports suspension.
If you want a vehicle with bespoke features such as sat-nav, Bluetooth phone connectivity, or any other cutting-edge in-car accessories, check how these options work as some systems are far more powerful than others.
If you’re after a vehicle that’s a good fit for the family, bring your spouse and children along with you to see if they’ll find the car a great value for money. They may also easily identify problems that you didn’t bother to check before, such as uncomfortable rear seats or a poor interior storage space. It would also be great to bring along a few bulky items that you frequently carry to see how they would fit in the boot.
During a test drive, try driving a long a series of roads, from twisty back roads to dual carriageways to check how the vehicle will perform on each road. Some dealers allow buyers to borrow vehicles over the weekend, ask your dealer if they allow it so you may have ample time to test-drive every vehicle on your checklist.
Once you’ve finally made up your mind on which vehicle to buy, it’s the high time you negotiated the price to see if you’d get a much better offer. Although some dealers have no problems haggling, it’s a good idea to phone their competitors to see the kind of deals they provide. More often than not, dealers may not give you a discount for cars that are quite new and in-demand. But you may be issued a tank of fuel and some fresh set of car mats if you’re lucky.
As a rule of thumb, make sure to do some research first on the vehicle you’d like to buy to ensure you make a smart decision every time. This would also help prevent some of the major headaches and frustration that other customers have reported before.
Deciding which vehicle to buy is usually sometimes a daunting and difficult affair. Before you make a purchase, you’ll first want to check the vehicle’s fuel economy, performance, inside technology, and quote among other factors to ensure you buy a vehicle that meet your needs. Also by simply searching the phrase “reddit what car should I buy” online, you would be directed to a forum page where you can view some great examples of vehicles within your budget that others are sharing. Some car specialists also share on the forum some valuable tips and intelligent insights that you could find useful when shopping for a decent car. Hopefully, this handy guide will help you find the right vehicle that’s a great value for money and that suits your lifestyle the next time you go shopping.