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A Quick Guide To Help You Decide On A New Ride

Next to our homes, it’s likely that our cars will be our most expensive purchases. It’s no wonder considering there are so many advantages to owning one. You have a sense of independence and autonomy and can experience a touch of luxury too.

If you’re in the market for a new car, it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many different models, makes and manufacturers that it can feel overwhelming. To help make your decision easier, we’ve put together this quick guide on how to decide on the best new ride for you.

Search The Internet

Each time the latest model is released, go online for new reviews and read what the specialists are saying about it. For general car purchases, have a look at Consumer Reports, Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds. Read articles that might feature some of your favorite cars and look at car forums to see if anyone is talking about particular models you’re interested in.

If you’re looking for detailed technical information, go to specialist car sites. Should you be interested in the Model: GLC 300 for example, you can learn about the engine performance, brakes, suspension and measurements. Many websites encourage you to subscribe to newsletters so you can receive updates that include promotions and giveaways.

Visit Car Showrooms

Whilst you can learn about cars and compare the different models and prices online, there’s no substitute for seeing them ‘in the flesh.’ The benefit of visiting a dealer is that you can actually sit in the car, open its doors and take a look around. You’ll also be able to identify any smells or sounds that might put you off buying it such as ‘new car smell.’

Showrooms are designed specifically so that they’re easy to get around – there’s usually an area where customers can try out different models with various features and find something specific like a car seat for their child.

Test Drive Several Cars

Test drives are beneficial because you can see how a car handles different types of terrain and you can also test its acceleration. You can also assess what you think of the braking, handling etc. Take note of how comfortable/uncomfortable the seats are. Ask yourself some questions: Is there enough leg room? Does everything work properly? Do all the buttons seem intuitively placed? Is there enough luggage space and room for passengers?

Ask your dealer if they have a test drive program that will allow you to take cars home for the day or weekend so you can test them in varying conditions. This will ensure nothing catches you by surprise should you buy one.

Should You Buy Or Lease?

If you can afford to buy a car outright, buy one. You’ll have the car for a long time, and you won’t have to worry about it depreciating or having problems with the upkeep. If you use a credit card or seek other finance options it will cost you more long term.

If you can’t afford to buy outright – even by trading in your old vehicle – leasing may be your best option. It suits people who want a new car and less chance of repairs and breakdowns. Keep in mind that there are different types of leases:

  • A short-term lease has smaller interest rates, but less flexibility than other options.
  • An open-ended lease is more expensive over six years but it could include maintenance services.

 

How Much Money Are You Looking To Spend?

This needs to be your driving force (pardon the pun). If you buy a cheaper car (including secondhand options) you will have to budget more for repairs and upkeep, whereas if you buy a more expensive and newer car your ongoing costs are likely to be less. Your budget also needs to consider other costs such as insurance, fuel and your expected annual mileage.

The key is to buy something that is comfortably within your price range, yet that provides all the functionality you need for your lifestyle. This brings us to…

What Do You Need It For?

It may be there’s just you – and you want to drive fast in a sports car. If you have a family, however, you may need something more practical in terms of capacity and usage. Family cars are safer and have more room. Smaller cars are cheaper and easier to park. They are often more energy-efficient, which can be important if you are on a tight budget.

Larger cars cost more to buy and run which means the initial investment will be higher, but in terms of safety, they can offer a better all-round package. If you plan on owning the car for several years, think ahead and make sure it will still suit your purpose further down the line. If you are planning to use your car for camping and outdoor pursuits, a four-wheel drive would be a good option. It would cope better with rough terrain and also grip the road better.

What features Are Important To You?

Cars can vary widely from one model to another. They can feature anything from high fuel efficiency to air conditioning, and from ruggedness and protection to comfort and luxury.

Ask yourself whether you need power steering or assisted parking. Do you want automatic or manual gears, a CD player or a sunroof? How about heated seating, airbags and head restraints? How important is performance (for instance, the acceleration time)? Above all, look for the elements that will make the car a practical and safe purchase. If you can afford extra bells and whistles, great.

You need to do the math and decide how much money is on the table. Check out the dealerships and websites, being sure of your specific requirements. Test drive several cars before you finally decide, and make sure you understand the finance deals and warranties. The end result should be that you are delighted with your new purchase and enjoy the vehicle for many years to come.

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