Buying a new car can be a daunting experience for even the most seasoned motorists. Whether you’re a cash buyer or using finance to purchase new wheels, it’s important to work out exactly what you need and want from a car along with what you can realistically afford.
Firstly, it’s essential to consider what you will use your car for, how much space you’ll need, the annual mileage covered and any essentials that you’d like included. Once you have your search narrowed down to a few models, look at the overall cost of each option at the specification level required including any optional extras and finance charges.
The whole life cost of a car includes not only the full purchase price, or monthly repayments, but also the various running costs you will encounter. To calculate this, you’ll need to work out motor tax, insurance costs, extended warranty, breakdown cover, servicing plans, tyres and average fuel consumption. Don’t forget to consider the estimated resale value for when the time comes to move on to your next motoring adventure – the brand you choose will have a significant impact on the resale price.
While cash buyers may have a little more bargaining power, there is always room to manoeuvre so don’t be afraid to haggle before signing on the dotted line. It may be advantageous to visit numerous dealerships, even for the same make and model, as some may be more flexible on price than others or may throw in a few extras to seal the deal.
When it comes to finance, the headline APR may be attractive but don’t forget to look at any hidden charges in the contract and be aware that there may be penalties for clearing the balance early. In the majority of cases, financing directly from the dealership with a hire purchase agreement or a PCP deal will be the best value but you won’t own the car until you make the final payment.
With a PCP you will have a choice of keeping the car at the end of the term (either by paying a lump sum or taking out additional finance), handing the car back or trading it in against another new car. However, depending on the value of the car when your term ends, you may not have sufficient equity to use it as a deposit for the next car. Also, with a PCP be very cautious of mileage limitations as this may reduce the value of the car when it’s time to move on.
If you’re buying for business, motorists with an electric company car will benefit from 0% BIK for 2018. This is an incentive which the government intend to keep in place for at least 3-5 years. Combined with a potential €5,000 saving in VRT, SEAI grant, and the ever-increasing distance that can be covered in a single charge, this will make owning and driving an electric car much more appealing, especially for companies.
Knowledge is power so weigh up your options in advance to ensure you get the best deal on your ideal wheels!
By Suzanne Keane
OUR HOT PICKS FOR 2018
Skoda’s new baby SUV, the Karoq, should be a very popular choice in the ever-growing crossover market in 2018, the new electric Nissan Leaf would boost anyone’s eco credentials and for that little bit of extra oomph, the Renault Megane RS (with almost 280bhp) will be arriving later in the year.