Buying a new car is equal parts exciting and terrifying – a process that involves the handing-over of quite a bit of money in exchange for something at once beautiful and unknown quantity. The process is made even more nerve-wracking by the present circumstances in the UK, which make big spending that little bit riskier for the average household.
So, how do you remove the risk and worry from buying a new car? The short answer is knowledge. There are lots of variables to consider in buying a car, all of which have differing levels of import depending on your personal circumstances. Here, we’ll look at some of the different ways you might approach buying a car, from tangible differences to extenuating factors.
Size is the most in-your-face factor, and often the very first thing on which prospective buyers settle. Size is typically considered with regard to functionality; what is your new car primarily going to be used for, and what size does it need to be to perform that function well? For example, a family with three school-age children and close family will naturally need a larger car to facilitate school runs and family holidays, while someone living and working in a built-up urban environment might simply need a small, agile hatchback to get from A to B.
Budget and Depreciation
Money is, unfortunately, the biggest factor in many car buyers’ decision-making. Setting a realistic budget in advance of your search can save some heartbreak, while financing a new car can make higher-spec vehicles slightly more affordable to you.
Not only do you need to think about how much you can afford, but also how much of what you can afford is preserved after purchase. Value depreciation is significant with cars, particularly new ones which can lose up to a third of their value within the first year of purchase.
Depreciation is unavoidable, but careful choice of vehicle can somewhat diminish its impact if you have intentions of re-selling your car in the future. However, depreciation has a secondary impact on the value of any payout in the event of an accident. There is an additional kind of insurance available that boosts your car’s insured value to its market price at purchase.
But is gap insurance worth it? The answer to this question is ultimately an individual one, but gap insurance is absolutely worth it if you are driving your car regularly – or if you are considering some kind of financing arrangement in order to afford a better-quality vehicle.
Sustainability and the Future
Lastly, we come to a consideration of increasing import in the automotive world: sustainability. Cars are inherently unsustainable things, reliant as they are on non-renewable fossil fuels. The explosion in availability of electric vehicles, coupled with new UK legislation set to minimise the amount of new combustion engines on UK roads, makes the future look bright for green alternatives – so is now a good time to ditch the petrol?