For many people, there is that one dream car. Some may prefer a Lamborghini Aventador at a ‘reasonable’ price tag of £240,000 minimum. Others may prefer the Bugatti Veyron for its sleek styling at a ‘slightly less reasonable’ £750,000 (or so). It could even be a hardy Dodge Challenger, usually reaching £3000 for a thoroughly used one. No matter your preference for your dream, you need something more immediate (plus a great deal more practical, as well as affordable).

However, you obviously want a good deal. But what does a ‘good deal’ entail? Is it merely the price? Perhaps it has to be vibrant pink with stupid eyelashes on the headlights? The more sensible questions will follow, but first…

Set a clear budget

You’d think that anyone wanting to buy a car would consider this first. Indeed they would, but what they often overlook is also what the budget means. If you are buying second hand, then your budget could range anywhere between £100 and £6,000. This also sadly means that your purchase will already have miles on it. The knock on effect of this is that your insurance premiums (assuming you choose a similar engine size) will remain approximately the same. Not to mention that a cars value will depreciate as it gets older. No matter how good your 2002 Nissan is to you, newer and more efficient models are pushing the value of your nippy little ride down, meaning that a trade in might not be as valuable as you’d like.
Also overlooked is that people lie… a lot. In some cases, cars have been bought without wing mirrors. Just because you know how much you’re going to spend does not mean that it’s the only thing you need to think about.

Consider the manufacturer

You may believe that a Fiat would be a perfect suit for your next car for whatever reason, but a quick look online will show you that Fiat brand cars are amongst the worst rated by consumers.
It’s important to remember that golden rule ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Whilst Volkswagen is commonly believed to make reliable cars, they break just as much as any other car. The strength is that they are easier to find replacement parts for. In reality, no car is truly reliable. Physics has the unfortunate advantage of being unchangeable. With wear and tear from minor bumps and friction, parts will sadly just wear away after time. In this case, it’s worth using a site like You can compare repair or replacement quotes as well as reviews of each mechanic that offers a quote.

Consider your needs

As amazing as a Bugatti Veyron is in style and power, it’s completely over compensatory for a shopping trip. It’s also a bad idea to enter a SMART car into a demolition derby.
A car with a 1.0 litre engine isn’t very powerful but it works just fine. It would also help squash down your insurance a bit if you’re on a tight budget. Similarly, a three door car help improve your premiums too. Five doors are for the convenience of families in most cases. The economy of a car engine is also important. The ‘miles per gallon’ phrase is passed around a lot and thankfully, its one feature that requires little additional thought. A bigger number is better for your wallet, saving money on topping up your petrol constantly.

Considering all of these basic points, you should have a good idea of what steps to take before you consider buying a new car. Indeed, more money can usually mean a higher level of quality but there are always more things to consider.

What will the car be used for the most?
Shopping? School runs? Taxi service?

How will it affect your insurance quote?
Car age? Mileage? Safety rating

Is acceleration more important than functionality?
1.2l engine is the most common and affects insurance the least.

How tough/safe is a particular car?
this website for government safety ratings.

Think about the trade in value of your current car.
Age, mileage and any modifications change the resale value.

Establish your budget and can you get any flexibility with it?
Sadly, more money means you can get a better model.

– Consider servicing costs
Having a Peugot service is actually reasonably cheap and easy compared to an Aston Martin.

Take test drives (you are never obligated to buy immediately).
Reading about a particular model is fine. Actually driving it can be a deal maker or breaker.

Take a LOT of time to do a LOT of your own research.
You have your own desires for a car so take all the time you want to read reviews and the like.