- By AA Editor
When it comes to buying a car (whether new or used), it can be tricky to decide which vehicle would be best for your needs. We’ve put together a checklist of important considerations, to help you narrow down your choice.
New or used?
Should you buy a brand-new car fresh off the production line, or opt for a pre-loved vehicle?
If you’re pondering this question, working out your budget is a good way to start – but it’s also important not to let price alone dictate your choice. In fact, ‘cheaper’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘best value’, as there could be more than meets the eye.
The answer? Value for money. Both new and used cars come with pros and cons, so make sure you consider them all before making a move. The right car is the one that supports your lifestyle, is reliable and fits comfortably into your budget – both in terms of how much it costs to buy and on a day-to-day basis.
Understand the running costs
The cost of your next car doesn’t end the moment you drive off the lot. Some cars (for example, European cars) often cost more to service, or to repair, than other makes and models.
Besides the costs of one-off repairs, regular servicing and replacement tyres, think about how much the car will cost you in fuel. Fuel efficiency varies a lot depending on the vehicle as well as the type of fuel they use. If your post-purchase budget is limited, a car that’s cheaper to run and maintain may be best for you.
Take a test drive
Once you have narrowed down your choice of make and model, taking it for a test drive is a good way to help you decide if it’s the right set of wheels for you.
It may well tick all the boxes, on paper. But if the car doesn’t drive well, the position of the windows doesn’t allow you to see clearly when turning corners, or you decide that driving a manual is too much work in peak hours – then it’s probably better to keep searching.
What’s your style?
Do you prefer a sleek sedan, or an easier-to-park hatchback? Perhaps you’d like the feel of the wind in your hair in a convertible, or need the convenience a station wagon can offer.
When deciding on a style, think about what you do with your car. If you are a surfer or skier, for example, a convertible is probably not going to be much help to you. The style of your car needs to also suit your lifestyle and how you use your vehicle.
What do you use your vehicle for?
We have looked at how it’s important to match the style of your vehicle to your lifestyle. But what about the other ways you use your car?
For example, do you drive long distances frequently, or is your car more for short daily errands and weekend trips at the local beach? If you use your car a lot, a bigger vehicle with some added extras for an enjoyable driving experience may be ideal for you. Otherwise, you might be better off with a smaller, basic car that takes you comfortably from A to B.
If you have driven a range of cars and already have a favourite make and model, you can’t go too far wrong sticking to what you like. But, when buying a ‘new for you’ vehicle, take the time to make sure that it fits your needs and budget. And if you need to finance your new purchase, AA Money can help you sort your money needs. You can contact us on 0800 600 777, Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 5pm or via email.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure the content is correct, the information provided is subject to continuous change. Please use your discretion and seek independent guidance before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article.