Buying a new car

Buying a brand new car is exciting but daunting, and you may be baffled by the amount of choices on offer. You’ll get a real buzz if you’re lucky enough to drive it out of the showroom, but first you’ll have to wade through sales pitches, reviews and test drives to make sure you get the right car for you.

Here are ten tips to make sure you get the right new car at the right price:

1. New or used?

Firstly, decide whether to buy a new or used car. Although a shiny new model, straight from the showroom is a tempting prospect, new cars can quickly depreciate in value. The biggest drop comes in the first year. If a warranty is important to you, many garages will offer 12 months of cover on their used cars, too.

2. Do your research

Ask family and friends about their cars and read lots of reviews in magazines and online. Try www.whatcar.com, which splits its reviews into easy-to-follow types such as “superminis” or “family cars”.

3. What can you afford?

The first thing you’ll look at is the price of the car, but take into consideration running costs such as fuel, tax and insurance. Models with smaller engines may be cheaper to tax and insure and there might be other benefits if you choose an eco-friendly electric or hybrid model.

4. How much is it to insure?

Different types of cars will cost different amounts to insure. John Lewis Car Insurance can give you advice and a quote so you can get an idea of how much you’ll spend each year before you buy. Getting a quote via the website is easy; or if you’d rather speak to someone, call 0800 916 6815.

5. What are you using the car for?

Ask yourself how you’ll be using the car before you fall in love with one that looks good. Can you fit the whole family in it? Are you using it for long journeys or just a few trips around town? Is your annual mileage going to be high enough to warrant paying out for something more economical, eg a diesel engine? Is it easy to park and does it fit in your garage or drive? Is it comfortable for everyone who’ll be driving it?

6. Ask about part exchange

See if there are any good deals on your old car, as it may be easier to part exchange it than go through the hassle of trying to sell it. First impressions count, so clean it up and get your paperwork in order first!

7. Test drive

This is your chance to get a feel for the car, so make the most of it. Start with basic things like how easy it is to get in and out of, and how much space there is in the boot. Once you start the engine, see if it suits the way you drive – do you want something smooth, sporty or quiet? Try and test drive it around town and on a faster road, and check how easy it is to park.

8. Haggle hard!

Don’t be afraid to haggle – garages selling new cars know they’re working in a competitive market and they want to sell to you. Look at the original asking price, then check online to see whether their competitors are doing better deals. Be clear about your budget, and underestimate when you’re talking to a salesperson as it’s their job to get you to spend more. See if you can get something free thrown in for the price, perhaps a full tank of petrol, extra warranty or some accessories.

9. Shop around for finance

The seller will usually offer a finance option, but it’s also worth investigating your own – shop around online to see if there’s anything better. An interest-free period is often offered with a new car, so ask if there are any special offers on.

10. Know when to walk away

If you ever feel bullied, intimidated or pressured into making a quick decision by a salesperson, walk away. Garages are competitive, and if you don’t like the service you’re getting, just move on to the next one.

How John Lewis Car Insurance can help

Need tips, help, advice or a quote? John Lewis Car Insurance can point you in the right direction.

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If you’re thinking about buying a new car, take a look at these websites which have reviews and tips: