The mustard.co.uk guide to buying a new car

Buying a car is exciting and if you’re buying a new one then it’s that little bit more exciting again, because you get to pick the exact car you want.

If you’re in a dealership then you can pick one off the forecourt or flick wide-eyed through a brochure, while shopping online means you can look at lots of different options in the comfort of your own home.

What that does mean though is there’s lots of choice, not just between manufacturers and models, but in terms of engine size, colour and specification too.

That can make things a little complicated, which is why we’ve compiled this guide on buying a new car.

Deciding on budget for your new car

One of the first things you should ask yourself if you’re looking to upgrade or change your vehicle is whether or not you should buy new or used.

It would be great if we could forget about money and buy the car we want, regardless of price. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Buying a new car isn’t cheap.

In fact, buying a brand-new car straight off the forecourt is not just expensive but it’ll lose its value quickly too. On average, over the first three years of its lifespan, a new car will lose around half of its value.

So, if money saving is high on your list of priorities, buying a new car probably isn’t right for you and it’s probably wise to look at used or ex-demo cars instead.

If not, you should set your budget and stick to it, but that goes beyond the upfront price of the car, you should also consider running costs and know how much you want to spend on fuel, insurance and road tax.

Compare car insurance quotes for your new car here.

Deciding on the body style of your new car

Everyone has their own criteria when it comes to buying a new car. For some, space and practicality are important, while for others fuel economy and safety features may be high on the agenda.

Deciding on the body style of your new car is a good place to start. If you have a family of four and a child seat, a coupe may not be right for you, so picking the body style to suit your needs is vital.

It’s important that you’re clear about what you need in your new car and then look at what your budget affords you, including ongoing running costs – which often means choosing between petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric.

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Deciding on the engine size of your new car

When it comes to engine size, things are a little more complicated than they used to be.

As little as 10 years ago, if your new car was going to do a lot of motorway miles then you’d ignore small engines however that’s not the case anymore thanks to improvements in engine technology.

As such, it’s vital again to look at your requirements and do your research to decide what size engine is right for your new car.

Once you’ve decided on that, take your car for a test drive to make sure you’re happy with the performance it provides.

Think about the type of driving you do and whether the car is suitable for it, as well as fuel economy.

If you do a lot of miles on the motorway, does the engine allow your car to accelerate as you need it to?

Does the size of the engine mean you’re getting lots of miles to the gallon or will you forever be at petrol pumps filling up and spending money?

Ultimately you need to be happy with what you buy, so make sure you take it for a test drive to get a feel for it and, if you’re unsure, ask questions and check the facts and figures online.

Deciding on the specification and extras of your new car

It’s easy to get carried away when it comes to specification and trim levels but again, it’s important to decide what’s a must have and what you’d like to have before letting your budget determine what you can or can’t afford.

For example, DVD players in the headrests might be a nice to have for those long trips with the kids but is it something you need and is it something you can afford? If the answer to both of these questions is no, it’s probably not the right decision to take the plunge.

Deciding how to pay for your new car

Once you’ve decided on your car you need to decide how to pay. Ideally, you’d be in a position to pay for your car in one lump sum.

Paying upfront in cash means you don’t take on any debt, you own the vehicle straight away and you won’t pay more for the car than it’s worth, as you would if you bought on finance or with a credit card that charges interest.

For most UK drivers, however, cash isn’t an option but there are other ways you can pay for your new car.

Popular ways to pay for your new car:

    Personal Contact Purchase (PCP)
    Pay a deposit and fixed monthly payments. At the end of the contract you have the option to hand the vehicle back, pay a final sum to own the vehicle outright or use the equity of the car as part-exchange for a new model.
    Hire Purchase (HP)
    Pay a deposit and fixed monthly payments. At the end of the contract the vehicle is yours to keep.
    Personal Loan
    A personal loan means you can pay for your car upfront. You then pay off your loan.
    Credit Card
    Depending on the cost of your car and the size of your credit limit, a credit card is another option to use to pay for your new car, just make sure you’re aware of the interest rate and how much it will cost you in the long run.

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When is the best time to buy a new car?

It’s well known in the UK that buying a new car when vehicle registration plates are released doesn’t make financial sense but there are a plenty of other tips to help you save money on your new car purchase.

For example, buying at the end of a quarter from a dealership can save you money, as dealers look to hit their quarterly sales targets.

Likewise, buying an old model when the new one is released or updated could save you money, too.

There are a couple of other tips too, which Parkers.co.uk have summed up here.

Should I buy a new car?

As we’ve mentioned, buying a new car isn’t the cheapest way to upgrade or change your car but it all depends on you, your budget and your needs.

If you can, it’s a tempting option because who doesn’t like that new car smell?

Get new car insurance with mustard.co.uk

Once you’ve picked your new car you’ll need to get it insured, and the cost of insurance should also come into your thinking when deciding which new car you want to buy.

After all, there’s no point spending weeks picking out your perfect car if you then can’t afford the insurance.

Fortunately, mustard.co.uk can help you find cheap car insurance quotes because we compare car insurance prices from some of the UK’s leading insurance brokers and, if you find a cheaper quote online, we’ll beat it.

Compare car insurance quotes with mustard.co.uk