So, it’s time to get a new car – but where on earth do you begin? With approximately a gazillion (give or take) model options to choose from, a variety of buying and leasing formats to consider and mountains of features to get your head around, you’d be forgiven for being a little daunted by the prospect of finding your next motor.
Getting a new car is a big a move, so naturally it’s something you want to make sure you get right. To help with that, we’ve broken down the important stuff into five simple categories that should matter to you when finding your next four wheeled friend.
If money were no object, car buying would be a piece of cake. While most of us have got a dream car in mind, very few of us have an ideal car within our budget, so it’s about finding value for money against your priorities.
When we talk about cost, obviously you have a budget to stick to, but it’s more about choosing the right purchasing option that works for you. Some might want to buy a used car outright – then they don’t have to worry about future payments. Others might want to get a lease on a shiny new car for a more manageable monthly payment structure and the ability to afford a better vehicle. With various buying, financing and leasing options available to you as a customer, make sure you’ve identified the best course of action for your financial situation before taking the plunge into the car market.
While we might want to pretend we judge a car by what’s under the bonnet and its performance figures, the reality is many of us find looks come first. After all, it’s not going to work if you’re ashamed of sitting in your own car. If you’re buying, there is some material benefit to judging on looks, though, because conventionally better-looking cars tend to depreciate in value much less quickly than lesser appealing options.
Depreciation comes down to a lot of factors – even the colour of paint you choose – but much of it boils down to simple desirability. Therefore, it sometimes does actually make sense to judge a book, or in this case a car, by its cover.
The running costs
Once you’ve got past the looks it’s time to get into the finer details of the vehicle you’ve got your eye on. One thing that’s easy to forget is that the financial cost of your car doesn’t stop once you’ve bought it. Running costs, such as insurance, fuel, tax and maintenance can vary wildly from car to car, thus need to play a factor in your overall conversation around budget.
Your car’s running costs will become a significant chunk of your weekly, monthly and annual finances, so don’t ignore these when considering options.
If you’re looking for a family car, especially for young kids, then safety should be absolutely at the top of your list. Prioritising safety in your search will typically mould your preferences towards newer, safer models and known safety-conscious brands like Volvo. If you’re not sure what to look for when it comes to safety factors, the Euro NCAP website is a good place to start – it’ll tell you everything you need to know about a car’s safety features and has a handy 5-star rating system.
The impact on the environment
As with many modern consumers, the eco-factor of your vehicle may be important to you, and it’s important to the car industry as well. If you’re thinking long term, you might want to look at hybrid or fully electric models for your new car as the government plans to halt all sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
Or you might not – you might just want to find a cheap and cheerful gas guzzler for the time being. However, sustainability is becoming an ever more important factor in the car industry, plus a more environmentally friendly car will almost certainly save you money on running costs. That means it’s something to think about, even if you’re not too fussed about the eco side of things.
Finding yourself a new car comes with plenty of challenges, the important thing is to find a vehicle to matches your personal requirements. One good thing about the crazy amount of choice there is out there is that there is such a crazy amount of choice. With a little time, research and effort, you should be able to find a great value car that meets all your needs, including the ones I’ve mentioned above.