Hundreds of cars are introduced to the market every year, and thousands more are for sale as used and certified preowned. For a car buyer, things can quickly get very confusing. Believe it or not, there is a perfect car for you. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, answering these questions can help you choose the right type even before you visit car dealers in Auckland or elsewhere.

How Many Passengers Will Ride?

Group of people in a car

Don’t base your answer on how many “might” be in the car with you at odd times. For example, if you’re single and usually travel alone or with your significant other, it’s probably best to get a smaller car, such as a compact saloon or a hatchback. A bigger vehicle, such as a van, an estate car, or a large SUV, might be impractical if you don’t have a big family.

Where Will You Drive Most of the Time?

Car on the road

You can base your answer on where you live and go to work. Small, compact cars are best for crowded cities and tiny streets with limited parking. If you drive for hours on wide roads all the time, a bigger car should be on your checklist. Bigger cars, such as full-sized sedans and estates, are generally safer for long trips. Consider buying touring models as they are more comfortable on long rides. SUVs and pickup trucks are great for going off-road all the time. Driving off-road might also necessitate buying a 4×4 or an all-wheel-drive variant of your vehicle.

How Much Are You Willing to Spend?

This is not just about the cost of buying the car but the cost of owning it. That means you should be able to cover not only the price tag but the insurance, fuel, and maintenance expenses. This is why you should have a reasonable budget and stay close to it when buying your car.

Are You Buying Brand-new or Used?

Used or certified preowned vehicles are generally cheaper to buy and insure. You can go up a notch in terms of the model (such as a luxury saloon) if you’re buying it after its most significant depreciation, which is usually within three years of being brand new. However, a used car – particularly one that’s more than five years old – might not have the technology or safety features that are present in newly released models. There’s also the risk of buying someone else’s problems if you’re not careful.

Brand-new cars also have advantages. They are the latest models, so the looks, tech, and safety features are up to date. They come with a warranty, which can be three, five, seven, or more years. For the first three years, at least, you won’t have to deal with any problem. They do cost more to insure, and you’ll have to brace yourself for the depreciation hit. Your brand-new car starts losing value the moment you drive it off the dealership lot.

Both brand-new and used cars offer great advantages, but they also come with certain drawbacks. Choose one with the right benefits and the limitations you can live with.

What Kind of Fuel Do You Prefer?

Putting gasoline in a car

Petrol cars are great for city streets and for traveling short distances. Depending on the make, model, and size of your car, a petrol engine offers just the right economy. For driving on long roads and off-roading, diesel variants might be the better choice. You can also go hybrid, which uses both fuel and electricity.

Some vehicles use only electricity. Note that such cars need to be plugged in to charge their batteries, so you have two more considerations: the cost of installing a charging apparatus in your garage and the number of charging ports around the areas you drive in often, including your parking slot at work.

Buying a car should be a fun experience, but it can be less than that if you’re a first-timer and you haven’t got a clue. Ask yourself these questions and visit your dealer as soon as you are comfortable with your answers.