Buying a new car is one of the biggest investments any of us is likely to make, and few things are quite so emotive when it comes to making the right choice. Anyone who says a car is just a means of getting from A to B is missing the point. Your choice of wheels speaks volumes about your personality, style and aspirations.
There are also factors such as performance, fuel economy, and practicality and, of course, price to throw into the mix. Here, we look at five of the most important considerations you need to think about when choosing the perfect car.
You might say it is the least interesting factor, but let’s be pragmatic; you cannot really start shopping around until you have a budget in mind. If you have plenty of cash in the bank, then congratulations, you can probably get a great deal, but the majority of us need to take advantage of some avenue of credit.
Most main dealerships offer some finance plan of their own, and while this might represent a good choice, it might not. Find out what sort of car loans are available from specialist providers, to make sure you get the best possible deal.
Don’t misunderstand the word, considering practicality does not mean you have to buy something boring. The point is to think about what you need the car for, and when and how you will use it. If you use public transport for your daily commute, and only want a car for weekend use with your partner, then a 1950s convertible could be a perfectly practical choice.
If you are going to be using the car every day, will be doing long journeys with three kids in the back, or have to get around in harsh winter conditions, then these will all factor into your “practicality” thinking.
The price of gas and diesel is certainly a consideration in today’s economic times, but there is more to the subject of running costs than how much it costs to fill the tank. Consider hidden expenses that could come back to haunt you later such as the price of a routine service and consumables. That SUV might look like a great deal, but what will it cost to replace those monstrous tires?
Also make sure you are clear about insurance costs, particularly if you are likely to have a young or learner driver behind the wheel.
There is no doubt that new cars are safer than ever, although whether this actually contributes to accident reduction is another matter. Nevertheless, you can learn a great deal about both the safety features and the overall build quality of the cars you are looking at, by reviewing the latest independent safety ratings.
Heart and habit
As we said at the beginning, a car is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. Brand loyalty is strong, so if you are a dedicated BMW, Ford or Toyota enthusiast, then it could be that nothing else will do.
There is still room for sentiment and emotion in the car buying process, so do not be afraid to listen to your heart as well as your head, but do not allow the former to recklessly overrule the latter.