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Buying a new car is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make in your life - the cost might not be as great as a house or setting up a new business, but thanks to modern standards you can now expect ten years use or more from your car.  The importance of a new auto can't be taken for granted, whether it's just for getting to work every day or for looking stylish while cruising around town, you need to weigh up your options carefully and make the right decision before committing to such a large purchase. Luckily we're here to help, so let's have a look over some great advice and top tips for buying a new car and making that right decision.

 

New Autos: What Kind of Vehicle is Right for You...

First things first, before you even look at brands and specific cars, you need to decide what you're going to use the vehicle for. Do you need something that will fit a family of 6, or just one or two people? Is it something you need for business, personal use or just for the fun of it? Are you looking for something for a city environment with short journeys or long distance across rough terrain? Given that this car could last you 10 years, do you foresee your circumstances changing in the future - perhaps a baby or two joining your family or maybe your kids will be flying the nest. These are the kind of decisions you need to make before picking an auto.

The Details...

Once you've decided the type of car you need, be it a truck, compact or something inbetween, you'll need to start sweating the details. Metrics like miles per gallon will let you know how efficient the vehicle is, which will be a huge consideration and will save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Electric vs Gas is another consideration, with manufacturers like Tesla finally starting to offer affordable electric cars (hopefully) this year.

 

Top Features to Consider...

Another element to think about with your new purchase is which features and extras are available to the models you're intested in. Safety should be a huge priority given the risk of driving these days.

 

Try and aim to get the following:
• Multiple Airbags in key locations
• Anti-lock/skid braking system
• Three-point seatbelts for every seat
• Proximity Sensors with automatic braking (especially useful for highway driving)
• Excellent design for protection during impacts - including well placed crumple zones


The final and most important factor is budget - what can you reasonably afford. If you can afford to make a large upfront payment, this should be the cheapest option in the long run as you won't get caught out by monthly premiums. If you do need to pay monthly, make sure it's something you can comfortably afford - including insurance and gas/electricity costs. Think long-term, maybe you can afford something right now, but are you sure that you can in a years time? If you have doubts, you should probably lower your budget to something where you feel comfortable. When it comes to insurance, this will depend on the type of vehicle that you buy and also your history as a driver, make sure you get a quotation before picking a vehicle if your budget is very tight. It's always a good idea to have a set budget before you walk in to a dealership and let the salesperson smooth-talk you in to a potential financial mistake.

Keep all these factors in mind when shopping for your next car and you can't go wrong. Take your time and don't rush in to a decision - if you have the luxury of time and patience you will make the right decision.

The process of shopping for cars has changed a lot over the years. Gone are the days of going to your local dealerships, taking a salesperson's word as gospel and driving away with a potential rust-bucket. With the power of the internet you can now do your research online, compare prices, read reviews online (from professionals and consumers) and really get the best bang for your buck. That being said, dealerships now need to compete with the online space, and they can be a great place to get a deal fast. Let's break down the differences between buying a car online and at your local dealership...

Buying a Car online, or at a Dealership...

Dealerships:

There's nothing quite like being able to walk in to a dealership, pick a car, take it for test drive and then walk out with the keys. The practicality of being able to see the vehicle in person and test its features cannot be underestimated. However, there are several downsides to dealerships; one is price, you're unlikely to get the cheapest deal on a vehicle because they mostly sell at MSRP with some added premium for the dealership. Another downside is that the selection of vehicles might be quite small - yes they might have the model you wanted, but not in the color you wanted, or perhaps its missing the roof-rack that you were after. To order the specific vehicle that you want can take a long time, so buying from a dealership is not always the quickest option.

Talking to the salesperson can be a mixed bag as well. On the one hand, they will have a lot of information and advice which is definitely valuable, but their job is to sell cars and they will do their best to get you to buy that car, sometimes against your interests. The best thing that you can do to prevent this is to read up on the facts beforehand and do your research - if you know what's a good deal and what isn't, you won't get bamboozled on the showfloor.

Online Sales:

Just like pretty much every other retail market, online sales have come in and taken a huge amount of the market from traditional retail channels like dealerships. In the age of the internet, nothing can compete with the convenience of browsing from home, or even on your phone for your next purchases. The amount of choice online means that no local dealership can even come close at competing for variety.

 

The reduced costs of online retailing as well as the inherant competitive nature of online sales means that the prices will almost always be lower online. If you're looking for ultimate bang for your buck, you can't really beat online shopping. Online retailers can offer large discounts and afford to add in extras like enhanced GPS systems/audio systems and cosmetic options for no extra charge if you shop around.

Now obviously there are big downsides to only ordering online. For starters, you cannot test drive the vehicle, which is often a huge factor in deciding which car you want to buy. The online photos of a compact car may make the leg room look ample, until you actually receive the vehicle and realise that you cannot even sit in the car without your head touching the roof.

Another downside is the inability to negotiate on price online. Generally most online retails will just sell things to you at a fixed price and there is no room for haggling or adding extra features for free. You either take the offer on the page or you don't - which can be frustrating. You will also not get any advice from a salesperson on how to look after your new purchase or even how to set up certain features of the auto.

Another major downside is the potential risk of being mis-sold something online. As you cannot inspect the vehicle before you buy it, and depending on the legitimacy of the online retailer that you're using, you might be at risk of not getting what you paid for. A classic example would be paying for a "new" car and actually receiving a used car.

Ultimately the best thing you can do is combine the approaches of online and physical retail. Shop online, do your research online, take a test drive and dealership and talk to the staff there. Finally make the best financial decision after doing all of this and you will definitely make the right decision, and you will thank yourself for it!