Cheatsheet: 6 things to think about when buying a new car.

This post is brought to you by Nissan


Recently I was in the market for a new car. I knew this only because my husband told me that my tyres were worn, so were the brake pads, the car didn’t have enough “puff” to get up hills and the lease was up and it would be cheaper to refinance a new car. I think that’s the bit that pushed him over the edge.

The purchasing experience proved that indeed I am not a car person.

When faced with a salesman I spoke only about colours. Oh and the sound system.

Perhaps I was a month too late because these little tips from Nissan sure could have helped me.

They write  “What you need to know when buying a new car is how it will address your own specific needs. You can read brochures, websites, reviews which will tell you all about the car specifications but how does this translate into your lifestyle and what you need from a car?”

Apparently your car buying needs can be broken down into 6 categories – not all of them will be as important or matter as much – so you should o rank them in order of priority and prepare your questions accordingly. (Don’t go in like me and ask about shades of black)

1. Safety:

– how safe is this car vs. the competitors?

– how will it drive in the wet / at night?

– has it been tested and rated by ANCAP?

– how will my family be protected in the event of an impact?

– is there a rear camera or park assist to avoid incidents in driveways or whilst parking?

2. Performance

– can it carry the load that I regularly have?

– will it tow my caravan/boat etc.?

– can I fit my 3 kids, prams and luggage when going away and not feel the load?

– how often do I need to service the car?

– is it good for long-distance travel?

– what sort of gearbox does it have, is it easy to drive?

3. Appearance

– What options does it come with? Colours? Variants?

– How long is it? Will it fit in my garage?

– can I add a sunroof

– is privacy glass standard so my belongings stay out of sight?

– is this the latest design?

– do I have a choice of wheels?

– What sort of headlights are they?

– Do roof rails come standard?

4. Comfort

– How much leg/head room is there inside?

– To what degree can you adjust the seats? Is there lumber support?


– How is the interior temperature managed? Are the seats heated?

– What is the audio system like and can I charge my iPhone?

–  How easy is it to get in and out of?

–  Do I need a key to enter the car and start the engine?

– How many child seats will it fit?

– How much space is there really in the third row?

– Does 24h roadside assistance come standard with the car?

– Are the passengers protected from the sun?

– Can I plug a fridge / a sat nav / a DVD player?

– How quiet is the engine and are there features to reduce engine noise?

5. Economy

– what is the cost of running the car (fuel + service)?

– how many km’s on a tank and what is the tank capacity (how much per tank)

– what is the fuel consumption in the city vs. highways?

– what fuel type does it take? Is standard unleaded OK?

– what is the cost of the standard service? Is there capped price servicing?

– do you have a competitive finance rate I should look at? Will I be better off vs. cash or a bank loan?

6. Durability

– How does it resist wear & tear?

– What is the warranty on this vehicle and what is excluded?

– Where was this car built?

–  How resistant are the bumpers?

– Are the body panels made of strong plastic that hold their shape?

– How easy it is to clean the interior / the boot area?

Additional Tips:

– When a salesperson talks to you about a feature or quotes a number, ask ‘what is the benefit for me as a user?’

– Pick a dealership close to home, so it is convenient when you need to service your car.

– Don’t be afraid to ask how it compares against the other models you are considering. All dealers know their competitors and although they will paint their vehicle in a positive light, you will be able to work out how beneficial it is in your ranking compared to other models.

Wow. Keeping that information for next time. And you can too – just download the list here and save it for the next time you need it.

What are your best car buying tips? Do you shop for a new car online, at a dealer or through a third party?  Where do you get reliable information?

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