Car buying tips – what to ask

Just your average 5reasons car dealership

What are the key things you should look for when you buy a new car?

Well long-term readers will notice that I focus on a range of factors, but there are some consistent themes that keep coming up.

Here are 5 + 5 questions you may not have thought of that you should ask before you buy

McLaren dealership london

1. Where is it made: Car companies all over the world try to confuse buyers by putting European badges on cars made elsewhere. Location of manufacture is not always a key determinant of quality, but it is a pretty strong indicator. You should understand where your new car is built and not pay a premium for a product just because of the badge.

2. Safety rating: There are 2 major organisations that run safety tests that I focus on: NCAP and ANCAP (one is European and one is Australian). These organisations rate based on stars and you should not buy a car that is less than 5 out of 5 stars. Nowadays, even the cheapest cars pass this test and you and your family should not have to settle for less

Volkswagen Up! NCAP test

3. Fuel efficiency and performance:   There have been notable improvements in the last five years and many new cars have terrific fuel efficiency (<7.0L/100km or 34mpg for the US).  Gone are the days where you needed to decide between performance or the environment. Diesels in particular have improved and are always worth a look. In terms of performance, different buyers have different requirements, but generally you should look for cars with a 0-100km/h time below ten seconds – anything higher will be painfully slow.

BMW diesel: Class leading fuel efficency and 0 – 100kmh in 5.5 seconds

4. Reversing camera or sensors: Included in so many new cars, these are vital elements to protect both your car and people walking behind. While not an absolute necessity, it can be the difference between whether or not you run over the family pet.

5. Underlying model: Many car makers now use the same underlying base for a range of different cars. For example, Volkswagen will produce a similar car under a Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda badge. Car companies do this so they can price discriminate – that is make you choose the option that is at the top of your price range. Don’t fall for this trick and do your research

And here are the +5 (slightly more obvious) questions for good measure

1. Age: Nothing will ruin your day like seeing your neighbour turn up in a brand new version of your car six months after you bought it. Also, with every new model comes substantial updates in terms of safety and equipment for the same price – don’t short change yourself by rushing in

2. Folding rear seats: You won’t use this feature that often, but it is invaluable when you do.

Folding seats on a Porsche 911. It works better when the engine is not in the boot…

3. Spare tyre: Australians should not have to put up with no spare tyre. Due to the long distances travelled in Australia if you get a flat you will probably be stranded for a long time if your car is not properly equipped.

4. Space: Obvious I know – but check rear headroom and legroom, boot space and driving position to make sure that these all fit your requirements. Important things to check for are a tilt and reach steering wheel as well as a good footrest. You will begin to notice if these things are missing.

5. Sound and ride: Often dealers will try to talk during a test drive to mask any noise or harsh cabin ride. Don’t be fooled – ask them to stop talking and make sure you are ok with the level of cabin noise and that the ride is comfortable enough for you. Nothing ruins a good car like a noisy cabin and a harsh ride.

Let me know what else you look for when you buy a car in the comment box below.

Photo credits to Racefans

One comment

  1. Pingback: Car Buying Tips Used Cars

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