Top tips for car shopping Kiwis

Top tips for car shopping Kiwis

In search of the perfect set of wheels? Car shopping can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience, with a myriad of options to choose from and factors to consider.

Whether you're a seasoned car buyer or a first-timer, these top tips will help you navigate the car shopping process and find the vehicle that suits your needs and preferences. We'll cover everything from setting your budget and understanding safety features to embracing the second-hand market and test-driving your options. So, whether you're after a compact city car or a big family wagon, we've got the insights to help ensure your car shopping journey is as exciting as the roads you'll travel.

Define Your Needs and Budget

Before you embark on your car shopping journey, take some time to reflect on your needs and budget. Consider factors like the number of passengers, your daily commute, the type of roads you'll be driving on, and any specific features you require. Also, set a realistic budget that includes not just the purchase price, but also ongoing costs like insurance, fuel, and maintenance.

Research Thoroughly

Knowledge is your best friend when car shopping. Research various car models, their features, safety ratings, fuel efficiency, and resale values; 

  • Safety First

In New Zealand, safety is a top priority, especially considering the varied road conditions and scenic routes. Look for vehicles equipped with modern safety features like anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, airbags, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Top safety ratings from institutions like ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Programme) should also be on your radar. 

  • Consider Fuel Efficiency

Given New Zealand's unique geography and the prevalence of long road trips, fuel efficiency is a significant consideration. Opting for a fuel-efficient vehicle can save you money in the long run and contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle.

  • Consider Resale Value

At some point, you might decide to upgrade your vehicle or change your driving needs. Keeping an eye on a car's potential resale value can help you make a more financially savvy decision.

Embrace the Second-Hand Market

New cars can come with a hefty price tag due to import costs and taxes. Kiwis often turn to the second-hand market, which offers a variety of options at more affordable prices. However, make sure to have any used vehicle you're interested in thoroughly inspected by a trusted mechanic to avoid any hidden surprises.

Acquire a vehicle's historical report in order to delve into its previous history. This comprehensive report can unveil vital details such as whether the vehicle has been reported stolen, declared a write off, or carries any money owing. Services like CarJam and AA offer these reports for a nominal fee, but possessing such information can help give you assurance in your choice when making your purchase. Our friends at better™ also have a handy app you can download for free to check some of these. 

Don't Rush the Decision

Car shopping can be exciting, but avoid making hasty decisions. Take your time to weigh your options, compare different models, and consider their long-term implications. Rushing into a purchase can lead to buyer's remorse.

It’s also a good idea to always take the test drive. It's your chance to get a feel for how a car handles, its comfort level, and its overall performance. Pay attention to aspects like steering responsiveness, braking, and visibility. Does the car fit your driving style and comfort preferences?

Check Ownership Costs

Once you've found the car you like, don't hesitate to negotiate the price. Research the market value for the specific make and model and be prepared to walk away if the deal doesn't align with your budget.

Before finalising your decision, factor in the costs of ownership beyond the initial purchase. This includes insurance premiums, ongoing maintenance, and potential repairs. Different car brands and models might have varying maintenance requirements and costs.

Remember, car shopping is a personal experience, and what suits one person might not be ideal for another. Take these tips as a starting point, customise them to your specific needs, and enjoy the journey of finding the car for you. Happy hunting!


Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion, and seek independent guidance.