What To Consider When Buying A New Car

Michael James

What To Consider When Buying A New Car

Purchasing a new car is a significant investment and a decision that can impact your daily life for years to come. With a near-overwhelming number of options available in the market, it’s crucial to approach the buying process with careful consideration so as to better ensure you end up with a car that you’re happy with. There are several key factors to keep in mind when purchasing a new car, and it can be a good idea to establish these criteria before even stepping foot onto a car lot or browsing online for options.

Whether you’re a first-time car buyer or an experienced owner looking for an upgrade, here are some essential factors to keep in mind when purchasing a new car.

What To Consider When Buying A New Car


It’s a smart idea to determine your budget before diving into the car-buying process. While working out how much you can afford to outlay for a car (or how much you can afford for monthly repayments for a car loan) is a good start, also consider ongoing expenses such as insurance, maintenance, and petrol. It may be tempting to stretch your budget for a fancier car, but make sure you’re also factoring in these additional costs before making any final decisions. This can help you avoid financial strain in the long run. Additionally, consider the resale value of the car you’re interested in purchasing as this can also affect your budget in the future.

Vehicle type

One of the biggest decisions to make is the type of car you’re after. You’ll of course need to think about whether you want a petrol vehicle, an electric vehicle, or a hybrid. According to Compare the Market, despite the rising popularity of EVs in recent years, many Australians are still choosing combustion engine cars over electric vehicles, with 46.6 percent of those surveyed preferring them. Consider whether you’re looking for a flashy electric vehicle, a compact sedan, a spacious SUV, a versatile crossover, or a fuel-efficient hybrid. Understanding your requirements will narrow down your options and simplify the decision-making process.

Safety features

Many people choose to prioritise safety features when shopping for a new car – and for good reason! While it’s common to do it every day, driving is always dangerous, and safety is crucial for both driver and passengers. Research the safety ratings of different vehicles before making your decision. Look for features such as electronic stability control, anti-lock braking systems, and blind-spot monitoring. Some cars even have additional advanced safety technologies like lane departure warning systems and adaptive cruise control. Check the car’s safety ratings from reputable sources like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Fuel efficiency

Let’s face it, petrol is getting expensive. Consider the fuel efficiency of the car, especially if you have a long daily commute or drive many miles often. Fuel costs can add up over time, so opting for a more fuel-efficient vehicle can save you money and benefit the environment. If you’re interested in electric vehicles, work out charging costs and charge range for the models you’re considering. It’s also worth considering the availability of charging stations in your area and in areas you frequent regularly.

New vs. used

Weighing up whether to buy a new or used car is another important consideration. While a brand new car may be tempting, it’s also worth considering the value drop once you drive it off the lot. According to Edmunds, a new car’s value drops by 11 percent in the first minute you own it. On the other hand, used cars are often more affordable but can come with uncertainties such as hidden damages and the potential for costly repairs. It’s essential to conduct thorough research and consider your budget, as well as the car’s reliability and resale value, before making a decision.

Financing options

Before heading for the dealership or to visit a private seller, it’s essential to have your financing options sorted out. This makes the process a lot smoother and less stressful. Whether you’re considering taking out a loan from a bank, getting financing through the dealership, or paying in cash, ensure you have a clear understanding of your budget and what you can afford. Securing pre-approved financing can give you a better understanding of your budget and help you negotiate more effectively. Be sure to shop around for the best interest rates and loan terms that work for you.

Space and storage

Assess the interior space and storage options of different vehicles, especially if you have specific requirements such as a large cargo area, ample legroom, or additional seating capacity. Will you need room for car seats, sports equipment, or other personal items? Make sure to test out the space and storage options in person before making a decision. Additionally, consider the accessibility of storage areas such as the trunk or under-seat compartments if you frequently need to access them.

Test drive

Regardless of the amount of time and effort you put into researching a car, you never fully get a feel for it until you’re sitting in the driver’s seat. Always take the car for a test drive before making a final decision. This allows you to assess the driving experience, comfort, handling, and braking experience. Pay attention to noise levels, visibility, and how the car responds to different road conditions (where possible). If you’re buying a used car, ensure that the test drive includes a variety of speeds and driving situations to fully evaluate its performance. If you’re not very car savvy, you may also like to bring along a friend who is to help you assess the vehicle during the test drive.

Warranty and maintenance

Review the warranty coverage offered by the manufacturer, and think about whether you’d like to take out extended coverage. A comprehensive warranty can provide peace of mind and save you money on potential repairs. Additionally, research the maintenance costs associated with the specific make and model you’re considering. You may want to check out the availability and cost of spare parts, as well as the reliability and reputation of the manufacturer. Be sure to factor in these costs when budgeting for your purchase.

What To Consider When Buying A New Car

Ownership experience

Research the ownership experiences shared by current owners of the model you’re interested in. Online forums and customer testimonials can provide valuable insights into common issues, satisfaction levels, and any ongoing concerns that other owners have encountered. This will help give you a realistic expectation of what it’s like to own and maintain the car in the long run. Additionally, consider checking out expert reviews from reputable sources for an unbiased opinion on the vehicle’s overall performance and reliability.

Purchasing a new car involves careful consideration of a number of factors to ensure that the chosen vehicle meets your needs and preferences. Of course, your specific requirements will likely be unique to you, but some of the elements you may like to consider include budget, lifestyle, safety requirements, and technological preferences. By taking the time to thoroughly research and assess all aspects of a potential vehicle, you can make a more informed decision and feel confident in your purchase. Don’t forget to take the car out for a spin to ensure it’s a good fit!

Article Last Updated: February 5, 2024.

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