Shopping for a new car is exciting. But without a well-thought-out strategy it can also feel overwhelming. With so many manufacturers and models to choose from, it’s easy to get lost in the process and end up with a vehicle that’s not perfectly suited to your unique needs.
The good news is, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a guide to some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a new car. As well as budget, we cover big variables like size, environmental footprint, safety and fuel efficiency.
Budget will be one of the biggest factors you consider when browsing new cars. Ultimately, this will determine what make and model you can afford, as well as variables such as mileage, servicing history and overall condition. It’s important to crunch the numbers before you commit to a purchase, factoring in extras like insurance, servicing, petrol expenses and any upgrades you may want to make. We make it easy with our car loan affordability calculator. This simple tool is designed to give you a good estimate of what you can get for your budget.
While some motorists have the funds to purchase a new car outright, most take advantage of finance. Designed to boost purchasing power, car finance allows you to spread out the cost of purchasing a new vehicle by establishing monthly payments that align with your budget. Brits are no strangers to car finance, with the latest data from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) revealing a huge 92.8% of private new car sales were financed between February 2020 and February 2021.
Size and environmental footprint
There are certainly benefits to owning a larger car, however Steve Gooding from the RAC Foundation encourages motorists to consider their needs carefully before investing in an SUV. “We should all choose the right vehicle for the right trip to cut the size of our carbon footprint,” says Gooding. “It is right to question if suburban drivers need a car capable of ploughing over rivers, across fields and up steep hills just to pop to the shops.” With research confirming most SUVs are purchased by urban drivers, Gooding’s comments highlight the importance of considering not only budget when purchasing a new car, but also your environmental footprint.
“It turns out that the home of the ‘Chelsea tractor’ really is Chelsea. One of advertising’s biggest manipulations has persuaded urban families that it’s perfectly ‘normal’ to go shopping in a two-tonne truck,” adds Andrew Simms, co-founder of British think-tank organisation, New Weather Institute.
As well as environmental concerns, size can also impact your driving experience. For example, if you live in Central London and parking is a headache, smaller cars can be a clever choice. Similarly, if you live in the country and you’re regularly dealing with muddy lanes and icy roads, cars with a little more grunt are a safer choice.
While all cars must comply with national safety regulations, credentials can vary significantly between models. Many drivers choose to invest in cars that not only meet but exceed safety standards. This can be for a variety of reasons, though families with young children are one of the biggest demographics.
The Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Program) is a great resource that offers in-depth information on the crash-test credentials of new cars. A star rating is used to evaluate the overall safety of models, as well as assess separate credentials such as child protection, adult protection, safety assist systems and more. Depending on your personal preferences you can use the Euro NCAP to select a car that fits your needs. The testing is rigorous and only a handful of models have been awarded a five-star safety rating by the Euro NCAP in 2021. These include the Polestar 2, Volkswagen ID4, Skoda Enyaq and Cupra Formentor.
Investing in electric
Electric cars are the vehicles of the future, with the RAC estimating there are currently around 150,000 zero-emission Battery Electric Vehicles on British roads. More than 100,000 of these were registered in 2020, suggesting uptake is on the rise. Plug-in Hybrid and Range-Extended Electric Vehicles are also popular, with around 185,000 currently registered in the UK.
For eco-conscious motorists, investing in EVs can be a powerful way to reduce your carbon footprint. There’s plenty to choose from in 2021, with manufacturers continually launching game-changing new models.
Compact and affordable, the Volkswagen ID.3 is packed with tech-savvy features like intelligent interior lighting and voice activated controls. The Volvo XC40 Recharge boasts acceleration performance of zero to 62mph in 4.9 seconds, while the long-awaited Tesla Model 3 is a great entry-level option for fans of the American-owned EV pioneer. When choosing an electric car our key advice is to do your research, read reviews and pick a model that fits your unique needs.
The fuel efficiency of a vehicle can have a big impact on your overall running costs. For this reason, it’s not always advisable to choose a car based exclusively on price. In many cases, spending a little more upfront will unlock big savings at the petrol station. Similarly, cheaper and older models can do an alarmingly good job of guzzling petrol.
While EVs are the ultimate fuel savers, there are many models that offer great on-road efficiency. Smaller is usually better, with models like the Toyota Prius, Ford Fiesta and Skoda Octavia offering great mileage. Fuel efficiency can also vary significantly in larger vehicles such as SUVs. If this is a priority for you it’s always best to research different models before making a purchase.
Buying the best car for you
Ready to get behind the wheel of your new car? We’re here to help. At My Car Credit we specialise in offering great deals on car finance, at rates tailored to fit your individual needs. We work with lenders across the UK and are backed by Evolution Funding, one of the largest and most trusted car finance brokers in the country. Whether your priorities are budget, safety, size, fuel efficiency or environmental impact, we can help get you into the driver’s seat of your dream car.
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