What car to buy

What car is right for me?

When looking at purchasing a car, it’s important to consider what car is right for you. But to do this, you need to look at a few questions, and ensure that you answer them all sensibly and practically.

What do you need?

Car buying is fun, and many of us will fantasise about our dream car – picturing ourselves in the latest Lamborghini. However, it is best to think practically about what it is that you need from a car.

Keep the future in mind too, as your needs may evolve in a couple of years, for example, if you have kids. The functionality of your car should be more important than how it looks.

There are key questions to consider when thinking about what you require from a car, for example, how many seats do you need? What safety features will you need? But there are also other, less obvious questions to ask.

If you drive in conditions that are often icy or snowy, you will have to consider that when choosing a new car.

Similarly, if you have a long commute, it is important to choose a car that has good fuel economy, to make sure that you are getting the most out of the money you spend on fuel.

If you have hobbies that require a lot of large gear, e.g. surfing or horse riding, it might be wise to consider a car that has a lot of cargo capacity, or something that can use a trailer.

Only by thinking properly about your requirements can you hope to get a good car that will last.

What is your budget?

Unless you’re one of the very rare people that can afford to pay cash for your car, you will probably have to think about financing your purchase. How much can you afford to spend on car repayments each month? A good rule of thumb is it should be twenty percent of your monthly pay – but it’s important to work out what is actually affordable for you. Using our handy car finance calculator is a good way to then work out how much you will be able to afford in total for a car.

Do you want to lease or finance?

Another financing option to consider is whether you want to buy the car, or to lease it. Each has its own pros and cons, but understanding the pros and cons of each is key to making the best decision.

Leasing

If you do decide to go with a lease car, you will be able to afford a better car for less money. Leasing also gives you the ability to trade in your car every few years, with next to no hassle, and upgrading to the newest car with the latest and best technology.

The only downside is that when the lease ends, you have to look for a new car again. You will not own the car once the lease has ended. There is also the chance that, depending on your leasing deal, you may suffer from mileage penalties if you drive a lot.

Finance

The biggest advantage if you choose to finance the car, either with your own money or a car finance plan, is that you own the car once the finance option is complete.You have more flexibility to modify the car during the time you are using it, as well as more freedom to sell it whenever you are done with it.

The initial deposit, as well as the monthly repayments, will be higher if you choose to finance a car. However, in the long run, the car expenses will be lower.

Have you considered any alternatives?

Many of us will have a specific car in mind once we have reached this stage. However, in the current marketplace, it is important to consider any alternatives. There may be other models or manufacturers that you have not considered.

There are many car finder tools out there that can help you find a car similar to the one you want, but at a lower cost.

Once you have considered all of these questions, you are ready to pick the right car for you and move onto the buying stage.

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