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Time for an upgrade: what to consider when purchasing a new car

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs 2019

Has your once faithful old car started spluttering and moaning? Do you know it’s time to think about looking for a new vehicle to get you safely from A to B? Buying a car is a big financial commitment, so you want to make sure you get it right. But, it doesn’t have to be a stressful process. We totally understand how confusing it can be, so to make it a little less daunting, we’ve put together this handy list of things to consider to set you on your way.

Calculate your budget

This should naturally always be your first step when you’re thinking of buying a car. Working out what you’re willing to spend will remove vehicles from the equation that don’t fit your budget, and ultimately save you an incredible amount of time.

Arrange your financing plans to pay for the car ahead of time. Will you pay for the full cost up front, or seek out a loan? If the latter, work out exactly what you can afford to pay back each month. Remember to bear in mind the ongoing costs associated with car ownership, too – insurance, tax, fuel and regular maintenance. Be totally honest with yourself about your finances, write everything down and if you’re taking on credit, make the necessary arrangements to take your plans to the next stage.

New or used?

Does the vehicle you’re looking for really HAVE to be new or could you opt for a high-quality second-hand car? A used car, even if it’s only a couple of years old, could provide you with better value than a brand spanking new model.

Resale values

The main thing to bear in mind when considering the previous point is depreciation and resale values. If you’re thinking of only keeping the car for a certain period of time before you sell it on, it really pays to know your stuff. WhatCar? put together this list of the 10 fastest-depreciating cars of 2018 to help you see which models to keep an eye out for.

What do you need the car for?

This is such an important point to highlight – you need the car to fit around your life. Consider what you really need and if the vehicle is suitable for your purpose. Do you have a large family? If you do you’ll need something larger than a single person would require. Are you a sports coach or do you play a lot of sport yourself? If you are, you’ll need ample boot space to carry your kit. Do you drive a lot for work? If this is the case the vehicle will probably need to be fuel efficient and able to handle motorway driving without straining.

Write yourself a list of essential requirements you expect from your car and go from there.

Take someone with you

If you could become overwhelmed by the car buying process, then take someone with you who will know what to look out for. Get your shopping buddy to have a really good look over the car to check for potential damage, ask questions, and also get them to listen out for anything you may miss.

Haggle!

If you’re a beginner then this may be a daunting task but even if you manage to get them to throw in a set of car mats it’s loads better than nothing!

Test drive

Important! You absolutely have to feel comfortable in the car you will be driving. Also, use your test drive to work out where everything is, check all the features you want or expect are there, and double check the vehicle is in full working order – brakes, gears and steering especially.

Before you drive away…

Check and then check again! Look over all of your paperwork, check all the small print and definitely make sure you’re insured!