Afraid you’ll look like this before you decide which car to buy? 3 questions to...

March 15, 2020
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Feeling paralysed with indecision when it comes to choosing the best car for you? Most people don’t know what car to look for when it comes time to buy. In fact, 6 out of 10 car shoppers have no idea what car they want – so you’re not alone! With the number of cars on the market, it can be hard to answer the question; “which car should I buy?”

We’ve put together this handy guide to help you out, so you can make a decision before you turn to dust! These are the same questions we go through with our Drive & Pay clients when we’re helping them decide on a vehicle.


What’s your budget?

How much are you willing and able to spend on a car, realistically? It’s important to know from the start and work out whether there is flexibility or whether there is an absolute top price. Once you know your own budget, you can work out whether you would be looking at financing or purchasing outright.

For example, if you only have $2,000 available to spend on a car, are you willing to purchase a cheap low-quality car or would you prefer to use the $2,000 for a deposit and finance a larger amount? There is a big difference in quality between a $2,000 car and a $12,000 car!

Your budget also determines to some extent whether you should be looking at used cars or new cars. Generally new cars will cost more (so you need a bigger budget) and they devalue rapidly so even if you finance a new car, you will lose money on the asset in the long run. Used cars usually represent better value for money overall. Of course, if you’re purchasing a used car you have less flexibility in options compared to purchasing a new car. You can’t ask a dealership to install a sunroof in a used car, for example, but you can incorporate a sunroof as an extra in many new cars from factory.

Once you’ve worked out a budget options, you can start thinking about what you need in a new vehicle.


EXAMPLE: Which car should I buy?

Dylan is looking at buying a used car. He has $2,000 to put towards a vehicle, but he wants something nice for his family so he put in an application to our Drive & Pay program and was approved for $12,000. So, in total he had $14,000 for a new car.

What features do you need?

We’ve sold hundreds, if not thousands, of cars through our Drive & Pay program and most people we talk to don’t know what exactly they are looking for in a car. Because our Drive & Pay program focuses on sourcing a car specifically for our clients, we usually start with your budget (what you’re approved for) and then discover your needs and values. We go through this process with almost all our clients.

After all you’ll be keeping your car for many years, so you want to make sure that it does everything you need it to!

We find that if you start by thinking about what you’re going to be using the car for, you can start to develop a list of “must-haves” and “optional extras.”

So, what’s the primary thing that you’re going to be using the vehicle for?
  • Dropping the kids to school every day? Maybe you need something with 7 seats
  • Commuting to work every day? Maybe something small, auto, fuel efficient or even hybrid, and (most importantly!) easy to park
  • Just on weekends for camping? Maybe something with 4X4 and towing capacity
  • Transporting the tools and equipment? Maybe a ute with the right payload and maybe some extra seats to give your mates a lift
  • A special car for weekend cruising? Maybe something with all the luxury extras
  • Destroying eardrums? You need something V8 with impressive horsepower and aftermarket exhaust!

Once you work out your “must-haves” you can start to work out your “optional extras.” We always recommend writing these down and keeping them handy so you don’t get side-tracked when you’re looking at lots of different cars.


EXAMPLE: Which car should I buy?

Dylan knew that he would be primarily using the vehicle for his family and, with four kids, he needed 7 seats to accomodate everyone. This was a “must-have.” However, Dylan was also an amateur musician and plays the drums, so he wanted to be able to transport his drum kit around at times. So another “must-have” was plenty of boot space.

After his “must-haves” he started to think about the “optional extras.” Leather, for example, went on the list because it cleans easily and doesn’t stain as much as cloth. He also wanted bluetooth connectivity so he could easily listen to his favourite tunes while driving.

Who are you really?

An important part of the decision-making process when it comes to choosing the best car for you is not just your budget and lifestyle requirements, but also who you are as a persona and what you value. This goes deeper that just the features that you’re looking for. For a car to be a perfect fit for you, it has to align with who you are and what you value.

For example, you might be using the car to commute into the city everyday so you probably want something comfortable, fuel efficient, easy to park.

So, what if we showed you a Toyota Prius?

At face value a Prius is the perfect choice – but many people wouldn’t buy a Prius if their life depended on it, even if it is incredibly fuel efficient, cheap to maintain, and easy to drive.


A Prius either aligns with your core values – who you are – or it doesn’t. So, it might suit your purpose and your budget, but it doesn’t suit you as a person.

This is why it’s super important to understand who you are and what you value. Otherwise you might spend your whole time looking at a Prius when what you should really be looking at is a BMW 3-Series.

Some examples to get you started:

The budgeter or greenie

You want something that doesn’t cost an arm, a leg, or a soul. You need the convenience of a vehicle but not at the expense of your budget or the planet.

Top priorities:

  • Low cost
  • Fuel efficient and/or environmentally friendly

Vehicles to consider:

  • Toyota Prius
  • Mazda 3
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Volkswagen Golf
The city slicker or futurist

You need something for the daily commute that’s comfortable, but you also value luxury, style, and all the mod-cons. You want something with a little pizzazz and a nod towards practicality.

Top priorities:

  • Style and luxury
  • Accessories and gadgets

Vehicles to consider:

  • BMW 3-Series
  • Audi A4
  • Mercedes C-Class
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Mazda CX-7
The family driver

You want something that keeps your family safe but also preserves your sanity. There’s nothing worse than being crammed in a hatchback with 3 kids on a long trip – are we right?

Top priorities:

  • Space
  • Safety

Vehicles to consider:

  • Holden Captiva or Commodore
  • Ford Territory or Falcon
  • BMW X5
  • Volvo XC90
  • Dodge Journey
  • Kia Carnival
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Subaru Tribeca
  • Audi Q7
The road-trip warrior

Free spirited with an adventurous streak, you’re all about cruising on the open road.

Top priorities:

  • Comfort
  • Fuel efficiency balanced by performance

Vehicles to consider:

  • BMW 5-Series
  • Audi A4
  • Mercedes C-Class
  • Diesel Mercedes ML
  • Holden Calais
  • BMW X3

These are just some different types of vehicle purchasers – there are obviously many more.

It’s important, though, when thinking “which car should I buy” to come from a holistic perspective – your budget, your needs, and who are and what you value in a vehicle.


EXAMPLE: Which car should I buy?

Dylan fit into the “family man” category. He valued a vehicle that offered space and safety for his family over anything else.

Based on the process above we suggested that a good option for Dylan was a Holden Captiva. It’s a safe reliable car with 7 seats for his family. It fits his budget of $14,000 and it has the maximum 5-star ANCAP safety rating (2011 – 2015 year range) with very high safety scores in crash testing. The last row of seats in a 7 seat Captiva fold flat, which offered Dylan the space he needed to transport his drum kit around. It also had leather (good for the kids!) and we installed bluetooth for him as well!

As a bonus, Dylan purchased a diesel Captiva, which offered him cheaper everyday running costs.

Interested in browsing some of our cars available through Drive & Pay? Check them out here.

Want to know more about our unique Drive & Pay program? Read more here.

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