Top tips for buying a new car

Buying a car is a big financial commitment, no matter whether you're purchasing it outright or with the help of a car loan. With so many makes and models out there, knowing which one to choose isn't always easy.

Here are some top tips for narrowing down your options and hopefully coming away with a vehicle that ticks all the right boxes.

Get the right finance in place

Before you even start browsing new cars, you'll need to make sure you have the necessary funds in place. New car finance can help spread the cost of your vehicle, so you can enjoy it as soon as possible.

Safety first

A major consideration when buying a car should be how safe it is. The good news is that ANCAP safety ratings have been devised to make it easier to separate the best from the rest.

The ANCAP system works using a rating system of one to five stars. The more stars a car has been awarded, the safer it will be. Figures show that you're twice as likely to be seriously injured in a collision while travelling in a three-star rated car as one with five stars.

Fuel efficiency

Another factor you'll need to think carefully about is how much it costs to run your car. While you might not be paying a high price at the forecourt, you could soon make up for it at the petrol pump.

The Australian Institute of Petroleum reveals that motorists in this country enjoy relatively low fuel prices by international standards, but there's still every need to be savvy when buying a new car.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012 Survey of Motor Vehicle Use shows the average rate of fuel consumption for motor vehicles in this year stood at 13.7 litres per 1,000 kilometres. This is a benchmark you might want to bear in mind when purchasing a new car.

Weigh up the cost of insurance

Car insurance is something you will also need to factor into your calculations, especially as costs have generally been rising over recent years.

The Insurance Council of Australia reveals that the average premium has steadily increased since the start of the new millennium - and it's a trend that is unlikely to be reversed any time soon. If you buy a particularly large car, or one with a less-than-impressive safety record, you could find yourself paying more than other motorists.

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