Be a smart shopper

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SummaryIf you’re in the market for a new car and you have no clue where to start, here are some essential bits of car-buying advice.

It’s festive season and carmakers are launching a barrage of new cars. Naturally, it’s hard to decide what car to buy and there are a lot of deals and discounts being flung around. But the problem is, there are so many choices out there, and deciding what you need and what you don’t can be tricky.

How much should I spend?

The most important step is deciding what your budget is. You’ll be surprised to know what a difference R20,000-50,000 makes when you’re deciding what variant to choose. Fix your budget first, stick by it and be willing to go up by a few thousand. It’s easy to get swayed by a smooth-talking sales representative. The trick is to refuse to budge and to be adamant about what you actually require, and not what the salesperson makes you think you need. There’s a lot to pick from, and there’s also a lot for the salesperson to throw at you.

What type of car should I buy?

Choosing the right body style is the next step. There are two sides to reconcile, your heart and your head. Decide on the number of people that will be using the car on a regular basis—if you’re buying a car just for the commute to work and the occasional weekend outing, a hatchback is all you need. If you live in a crowded city, driving a hatch makes more sense, both in terms of fuel efficiency and driving ease. But if you require additional cabin space and the practicality of a larger boot, then a saloon makes more sense. If you have a large family that travels together a lot, then MPVs offer the convenience of seven seats. SUVs are huge, and come with an imposing presence, but more often than not are difficult to pilot in urban conditions.

Target price

Don’t reveal your budget to the dealer; that’s a big mistake. The dealer may be trying to sell you a car that’s not been selling very well, just to get it out of the showroom, and it may not be the right car for you. Also, find out what the going discount on a particular model is. You can also get a big discount if you pick a car that’s already in stock.

Get competitive quotes

When you’re buying from an authorised dealer, it pays to hunt around and check out prices of the car of your choice at other dealers.

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