Buying a car is everyone’s dream and if you are looking to buy your car this festive season. Don’t. Read this before deciding on the car. Buying your first car is not only a financial commitment but also an emotional act. What car you buy in a way decides your social and family life too. Much like marriage, getting a car that is not suitable to your lifestyle can be a pain.
So, it is always better to wait, do the necessary research, ensure that the car is compatible and then finally make that commitment. Here we have pointed out the 10 important things to consider before buying your first car.
Decide on the Car Type
Imagine. It is Monday morning, the roads are crowded and you are taking your car to your office. The large Mahindra XUV 700 finds it hard to navigate in the crowded city traffic and the bike riders are no kinder to the sides and OVRMs of your car. By the time you reach you’re your office, the SUIV has got 2 dents on the back and 3 scratches on the sides. Well, it could be worse. You have knocked over two bikers on the road. Well, it is not certainty but a sure possibility.
Anyway, what car you have to drive is dependent on your daily needs. If you prefer using the car for your daily city commute then choose a small hatchback or a mini / micro SUV that can fit the road. If you prefer comfort and elegance, then choose compact sedan. However, if you are seasoned driver and you want comfort and class more than anything, then you should choose a premium sedan.
Get an SUV or an off-roader only if you are a free bird who travels to hilly region where you can’t expect smooth roads. We are not saying you shouldn’t buy anything that is not required for your daily life. However, buying a car that doesn’t suit your lifestyle is not a good financial decision.
Find the Right Sized Car For Your Needs
Most Indians don’t buy cars for personal use. We buy cars for the family and use it for our daily office use or city commute. So, find the ideal size to fit your family. If you are a small family, then a 4 seater or 5 seater would be ideal for you. However, if your family consists of kids and elders, then choose a 6 or 7 seater that could accommodate the whole family.
Moreover, most Indians don’t travel light. So, always look for extra room in your luggage carrier.
Choose the Right Fuel Type
Well, choosing the right power train or drive train becomes very important in the present scenario. With both petrol and diesel prices going above ₹100, it is very important to calculate the effective price of the car by calculating the running cost and the approximate distance you will travel in a few years.
Diesel cars could come with a higher price tag but on a longer usage, the effective price of the diesel cars are cheaper than the petrol engine. However, if you don’t expect to travel thousands of kilometres each year, then even petrol cars might work out cheaper for you.
It is to be noted that even the CNG prices are increasing and it now stands around ₹65 per kg. Make a thorough calculation before deciding on the fuel type of the cars. Most cars come in a couple of engine options and choosing the right option can help you to save money in the long run.
Electric vehicles are fast becoming an important segment in the Indian automobile market. The initial cost of the electric cars could be higher than internal combustion engine cars but they are effectively cheaper. At the same time, since the charging infrastructure in the country is still in the nascent state, you have to think twice before taking that long trip on your electric car.
Whatever fuel option you decide, ensure that it is rightly suited for your main needs.
Decide on the Budget
Budget is an important thing, if not the most important one to consider. Find a car that will fit inside your budget and needs. In the Indian market, cars as low as ₹ 3 Lakhs are available and it goes all the way up to and beyond 3 Crores.
Don’t be stingy on the budget and you could lose out many important features on your car. Similarly, don’t over-burden yourself with a payment schedule that is hard to adhere to. Find the right balance of the budget and the features that you need in your car.
Always Keep Safety as an Important Factor
Safety is the most important thing when you choose a car. Most people only consider the budget as the main constraint and buy tin cans that has tragedy written all over them. Roads are filled with cars and other vehicles and accidents are bound to happen. We can minimise the risks of accidents but we can’t completely do away with them. So, be prepared. Get a safe car that has good ratings on the NCAP tests.
Look for the safety features including driving and braking assistance that goes a long way in ensuring the safety of your family on the highway. Better be prepared than be sorry.
Research Extensively About the Features of the Cars
Find out about the important features of the car before buying it. For example, MG Astor comes with an AI that can guide you during your drives. Similarly, there are other features like climate control, automatic wipers, automatic headlights, pedestrian safety, large sunroof called as the skyroof, in the XUV 700.
Infotainment systems, keyless entry, central locking, GPS tracking, geo-fencing and many other features to consider before buying your first car. Choose the important options that you want to have in your car and then arrive a few choices before finalising.
Select a Few Based on Your Liking
Based on the above steps, choose a few cars to finalise from. For the sake of easier finalisation, choose a maximum of 3 models to choose from. Once you have arrived at this magical number of 3, book a test drive for all of the cars.
Booking a test drive and trying out 3 models can also become handy at a later stage in your purchase.
Don’t Shy Away – Take a Test Drive
Once you have narrowed down your choices to 3 or 4, book a test drive for all of them. Take the car and don’t shy away. Drive it in congested roads, race it on the roads and find out the performance of the car. Always take your family for test drives. Get the feedback from all members of the family but take their opinions with a pinch of salt. At the end of the day, you have decided these cars after a lot of research.
Ask Real World Reviews
After the test drive, you will have a fair idea about the power, performance and handling of the cars. Now you will be better prepared to make that final decision. However, it is important to know the reviews and feedback from people who have driven the vehicle for at least 6 months to 1 year.
At the same time, don’t be swayed by the reviews alone. For a person, an underpowered car like Renault Triber could be the ideal solution to take the whole family in a small budget. However, if you prefer better driving experience and power, then maybe a 1.5 litre engine like Maruti XL6 could suit your needs. Similarly, when you are going to buy electric vehicles or CNG vehicles speaking with an owner of the car could give you an idea of the troubles and problems faced by the owners in detail.
For example, how to ensure better mileage, find the right place to recharge or refuel your car on the highway, etc. Such real world information could even be a deal breaker. After all, what is the use of getting an electric car if you can’t find reliable charging stations on your way?
Bargain & Make the Best Deal with the Dealers
So, you have done all the comparative analysis and research on the cars of your interest. You have also taken all the inputs from owners and drivers. Now, is the time to finalise the deal. Even if you are not looking to buy a car, make an appointment with the dealer and get an offer price for the cars. Since you have 3 different offers on your hand, it is easier to find the best one for you. Or even negotiate better with the dealer by using the other offer.
Now, ask for better discounts or offers. Most dealers would be happy to close a sale and provide you with additional offers to celebrate.
Other Miscellaneous Things to Consider
In India, sub 4 metre cars attract lower registration fees and better insurance policies. So, if you are undecided about a 4.2 metre car and a 3.99 metre one, choose the smaller one. The space difference is not huge but the registration fee and taxes are much cheaper.
Always find the best insurance for your car. Most cars come with 3 or 5 years of insurance but think wisely and choose the most comprehensive insurance.
Think about the resale value. Selling your car is as important as buying them. Certain brands with a very low number of sales or the manufacturers that have closed shop in India like the Chevrolet or Ford are not going to have a huge resale value. So, think about the resale value before finalising the buy.
Finally, choose the car that makes the most ticks in the right columns. If you have any other questions, do leave a comment, we will make sure that your questions are answered. Now, go get that car of your choice.