For most people, buying a car is the second biggest purchase you’ll make, after buying a house. So it’s not one to take lightly. We’ve put together 6 steps for helping you make the right choice when it comes to getting yourself a new set of wheels.
Decision number one when looking at buying yourself a new car is if it’ll be a brand new car? Or used and new to you. There’s lots of reasons for each choice. Used cars cheaper, still often come with a shorter warranty and won’t depreciate as much in the first few years as new, straight off the lot, cars.
New cars on the other hand are more expensive, a new car might loose up to half its value in the first 2 or 3 years. That can be a lot of money down the drain. However with new cars you decide what features you want, what colour, engine and everything. There’s no compromises since you spec the cars you want.
With those extra specs on new cars come the latest technology, most efficient emissions and fuel economy too.
These days the choice of engine in your car is more overwhelming than ever. Petrol Diesel Hybrid or electric, before getting into the different types of hybrid cars.
Most of us are familiar with petrol and diesel cars, with hybrid and especially fully electric cars being the new unknown kid on the block.
The usual applies to diesel, more efficient and cheaper over long distances than any of the others, but with larger emissions. They’re also slightly more expensive than petrol as the engine costs more to make. This is worth it if you drive large distances yearly, think over 30,000km.
Petrol is more efficient with less NOX emissions over shorter distances. The cars cost less but the fuel costs more. New petrol cars these days are very efficient run around cars.
Both petrol and diesel cars are set to be phased out by 2030 and no more NCT certificates will be given to ones already on the road by 2045. If you plan on keeping your car close to a decade it may reduce in value significantly closer to these dates.
Hybrid and electric cars are a great choice for specific needs. Toyota stopped producing diesel cars a number of years ago and most of their fleet is now hybrid. The likes of Tesla has become the most valuable car company in the world selling just electric cars.
Electric cars are of course great for emissions, they don’t have any. But even taking into account where the electricity comes from, in Ireland and most of europe they still come out ahead of petrol or diesel significantly enough. They have their downside though, range. If you regularly travel less than 200km a day and can charge your car at home then it’s a solid option. New electric cars these days can get you back from 0% to 80% battery in less than the time to drink a coffee. If you live in an apartment though and still want to go the electric route, then a hybrid may be for you.
Hybrids combine petrol and electric. A highly efficient slightly smaller petrol engine is joined by a small electric motor and battery. Some can also be plugged in and run on just electric for 30 to 60km. All of them give your car a little boost when you accelerate so your petrol engine doesn’t have to work as hard, saving you fuel.
Have a look back on your normal journey’s for the past year. How far do you drive to and from work. How often did you do a cross country journey or a multi day road trip away from home. How many people do you regularly carry or do you often need to stack a canoe on the roof and a few sleeping bags in the back? These kinds of questions will help you decide not just on electric vs petrol or diesel but on a hatchback, MPV or estate.
Be sure to set a realistic budget and stick to it. You’re budget will be a big part in deciding what kind of car you go for. Or what brand and what extras you can add on. Sticking to a budget can be hard if you’re looking at an upgrade or extra that’s “just” 100 euro or 200 euro. But this can lead to budget creep, each extra being just a few hundred euro until suddenly you’re thousands over your budget. Doing your research plays a big part in telling you if you really need that extra feature or just fancy it.
While you’re researching and checking out new cars remember to check the rough insurance on them too. Call your insurer for a quote. New cars cost a lot so the insurance can be high on them. As with any car expect the insurance for a new land rover to be quite a bit higher than for a small toyota yaris. Still the insurance for different engines or trim levels of the same car can be different too. We’ve done a run down of insurance for cars in this post.
The final step on the way to buying a new car is to take a test drive. Even if you’re speccing out a new car online to be made just the way you want it, you can still drive the dealerships test car. It’ll likely be a different colour, may not have all the gadgets you want inside but it’ll give you a real feel for the car. You’ll likely be driving this car for half a decade or more, so you have to know you feel right driving it.
Test drives can be difficult in covid times but many dealerships are doing no contact drop offs for a week long test drives.
It’s exciting to buy a car. Think it through and follow the points above. When you’ve narrowed the choices considerably it’s a good idea to let the salesperson know you’re serious. They may give a discount for a quick sale. If you’re stuck between choices this might end up being the deciding factor. Whatever car you pick enjoy it, and safe driving.