Research Before Buying a New Car

What to Research Before Buying a New Car

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Car Research in 2018

Whether you are buying new or used, it pays to do your car research before you go, and make sure you are getting value for your money. Let's get started.

What car do you need in 2018?

This is a super important question. Buying a new car can be an emotion-charged decision, but by taking these steps you can choose a car that's both highly satisfying to own and also practical for your lifestyle.

Start by listing out the things you'll use the car for. If you never leave the CBD, you don't need a 4WD, for example.

Once you know how you are going to use the car, think about what else is important to you. Are looks important? Do you love driving, or just want to get from A to B as economically as possible?

Read car reviews to find out more about different cars. If you are looking for a second-hand car, online owner reviews can help you to get an idea of what it will be like to own the car too.

Soon you'll have a shortlist of cars that suit you, and you can move to the next stage in the process.

Running costs

Buying a new car is an ongoing liability - it keeps costing you money in fuel, servicing and insurance long after you've paid the initial purchase price.

Do a little internet car research to identify which of your vehicle options provides the best value for money. Remember to consider fuel economy, cost of servicing, and insurance.

Vehicle history

If you are purchasing a second-hand or demo model, it's important to do your car research and find out what the history of the vehicle is.

For a dealer or private sale car, look for a servicing history and previous registered owners. A vehicle history check will give you peace of mind regarding the odometer reading, any accidents, write-offs, theft and so on.

A vehicle history check on a used car will give you confidence that your vehicle is a good deal.

If a demo has more than 1,000 km on the odometer, do some car research and find out exactly how it has been used. If you are buying a second-hand car, consider getting a mechanic inspection with your regular mechanic, or through your local accredited mechanic.


Whether you buy a new car or a second hand car, you want to protect your family and yourself in case of an accident. If you are buying new, ANCAP provides safety ratings on new cars, and you can find safety ratings on cars dating back to 1993.

The Used Car Safety Ratings can give you an idea of real-world performance of the model you are interested in, based on statistics of actual car crashes in Australia and New Zealand.

Car insurance and car finance

Insurance and car finance are the two significant costs that come with buying a new car.

In 2018 there's more competition than ever between insurers and lenders, so using a car loan broker and comparing insurance options online can mean that you'll end up with a policy and finance option that can save you quite a lot.

Resale value and depreciation

Buying a new car with less depreciation means you'll recover more of your original purchase price when it's time to upgrade.

Choosing neutral colours, recording your service history and taking good care of the car's interior and paintwork will also help to retain your car's value.

Reliability and brand reputation

Buying a new car with a well-known brand makes it easier to resell.

Plus, when you buy a new car that has a strong Australian dealer network you can get servicing and parts easily, and maintenance will usually be less expensive.

For an SUV, a brand like Toyota has a strong reputation for reliability. For a family sedan, you might consider a Mitsubishi for great customer service and satisfaction.

Test drive car research

Before you make a final decision, drive a few different cars to get a feel for how each car handles. This is especially important if you are moving from an automatic to a manual, or from a small car to a large car.

You'll quickly get an idea of what you are comfortable with. You may prefer a slightly newer car with reversing camera or plan to have an aftermarket reversing camera fitted to the car.

Buying a car in 2018

Now that you know exactly how to find the right car to buy with a small car loan, you'll need to get car loan pre-approval in place so your car research leads to a car that fits perfectly into your budget.

As part of your car research, get in touch with a car loan broker. This way you can find out about competitive car loan options from lenders that aren't a big bank, and find the best car loan for your needs.

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