Buying a new car or auto? Keep these 5 simple things in mind.
Just like the first time you kissed someone special or landed that first job you really wanted, there are few things as memorable as buying your first brand new vehicle. Part of that experience used to be walking into a dealership having no idea what to expect, but fortunately with modern technology there more tools than ever to make sure you’re prepared when the time comes. Here are some tips we recommend following before you whip out the chequebook.
1. Do your research
All major manufacturers nowadays have websites detailing all the current models they offer, complete with specifications and regional pricing information. If you haven’t nailed down a brand you want yet, try visiting a dealer group website that represents several different nameplates to see what’s out there.
2. Make a list
Do you want front-wheel drive practicality, rear-wheel drive performance or do-it-all all-wheel drive? Automatic, manual or continuously variable transmission? Think of the must-haves first, then jot down things that would be nice to have, but aren’t deal-breakers without.
3. The 411
Once you have a shortlist of potentials, check out resources like newspapers, magazines and websites for the latest unbiased news and reviews on models that interest you. Depending on the type of vehicle you’re interested in, pay particular attention to discussion around fuel economy, safety features, engine output, ride comfort, and information/entertainment technology.
4. Up close and personal
Go pay that car you’re thinking of a visit. There are a few ways you can go about this: either make a trip to the lot and have a look yourself first before finding a salesman to assist you further. Or, many retail stores now allow you to book a test drive online in advance so you can just pop in during your scheduled slot and evaluate the car. Allow for some wiggle room so you can take your time when you get there. This is one of life’s biggest purchases, so don’t be shy. Ensure that you get an opportunity to drive on both straight and twisty roads, as well as on the highway if possible, and remember to ask plenty of questions.
5. Buy vs. lease
If you like what you see, now’s comes the decision of whether to lease the vehicle (return it after a predetermined period) or finance/purchase outright. Many people wanting to drive something new every few years often opt for leasing, although be wary that there are distance limits. The latter is a good option for those wanting to keep and/or modify the vehicle.