Buying a new car is great fun; nothing beats the factory-fresh smell or the satisfaction of knowing you are the first person to drive it! However, it can be a minefield to navigate.
Here are the seven things you need to know before you buy your next new car.
1. Decide what sort of car you really need
Be honest about what sort of car you actually need. It’s always useful to benchmark what you need in a car first, adding in the features that you’d like later.
Modern ‘crossovers’, for example, with their raised ride height and faux off-road looks, might tick a lot of boxes for you but they do cost more to buy and run than the hatchback they’re based on. Is fashion important enough for you to pay more? Or does the raised seating position and easier access make it worth the extra to you?
2. Petrol or diesel
Modern engines are so fuel-efficient that a petrol engine might make more financial sense than a diesel. As a rough-and-ready guide, if you do fewer than 10,000 miles a year, you’ll generally be better off with petrol thanks to its lower purchase price.
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3. Don’t always believe the car manufacturers’ claims
A car’s fuel consumption is calculated during a complex test laid down by Europe to try and ensure a level playing field.
The trouble is some manufacturers play the game better than others. Websites, such as What Car’s True MPG, show you what you can actually expect – the difference between theory and practice could save you hundreds of pounds in fuel costs every year.
4. Always haggle
Some brand new models are in such short supply they sell for the listed price. That’s rare though, so it’s always worth haggling.
But many people find this hard, which is where websites like carwow come into their own. All you do is register the car you’re interested in and dealers around the country then bid for your business. Carwow claims it saves customers an average of £3,000.
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5. Sort the finance out first
A personal loan is the most popular way to finance your new car but other methods might suit you better. Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) and Personal Contract Hire (PCH) are two ways that might suit you - and using one could get you behind the wheel of a car you couldn’t otherwise afford.
6. Beware of ‘extras’
The dealer will try and sell you extras. You should do your research before buying them. Do you really need them? Most can be bought more cheaply elsewhere while some, such as ‘paint protection’, are almost worthless.
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7. Compare car insurance
You should gather a variety of car insurance quotes to make sure you’re getting the very best deal.
Remember that cheap deals are not always as good as they initially seem. Check that the policy covers all your needs and be aware of hidden extra costs, like high excesses, courtesy cars and the need for additional cover when driving abroad.