How to choose the car you really want

How to choose the car you really want

From make and model to cost and condition, finding the perfect set of wheels is time-consuming.

Make a list of important or desired features and then research online to see which boxes are ticked by which model. This will give you an idea of how much you might need to spend, and whether you are best looking at buying new or used to meet your needs.

Consider all the costs

Fuel, MOT, servicing and road tax… running a car doesn’t come cheap.

Consider the ongoing costs associated with a new or used car, as well as the initial purchase price. While a new car will often cost more to buy, it could work out cheaper overall thanks to better fuel efficiency and lower running costs.

Bear in mind that petrol and diesel engines have different implications for fuel-efficiency. And don’t forget the cost of a parking permit if you live in an area which requires one!

Find the best finance option

With so many finance options available for buying a car, you would be forgiven for feeling a little confused.

A personal loan could be a simpler option for both new and used car purchases, as you will have bargaining power as a cash buyer, and the security of knowing that you own the car outright from the start.

In any case, don’t be in a rush to splash your cash – always leave yourself enough time to be able to walk away.

Where to buy?

Once you’ve found the car you want and know how much you’re willing to pay, you’ll need to think about visiting a dealership or private seller.

While a private seller could be slightly cheaper for used cars, dealerships can provide peace of mind as you’ll have more protection under the Sale of Goods Act.

If you opt for a private purchase, a vehicle history check can give you peace of mind as it will show if the car has been stolen, clocked, has any outstanding finance, or even written off.  There are a few sites to check this on, such as the HPI check. Some sites may incur a small charge to undertake a check.

Depreciation and condition

It’s often said that a new car loses value as soon as you drive it off the forecourt – so does it make more sense to buy second hand?

It all depends on what you’re looking for. There are a huge number of things that affect a car’s depreciation. A new car will be in top condition with no need for an MOT for its first three years, which is a definite bonus for your immediate finances. However, a used car won’t suffer from such a serious depreciation if it’s only a few years old.