Tips for Buying a New Car in Australia

It’s important to do your homework before signing on the dotted line of your new car purchase. Learn some top tips for buying your car with Savvy!
Published on April 22nd, 2020
  Written by 
Thomas Perrotta
Thomas Perrotta is the managing editor of Savvy. Throughout his time at the company, Thomas has specialised in personal finance, namely car, personal and small loans, although he has also written on topics ranging from mortgages to business loans to banking and more. Thomas graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Media, majoring in journalism, and has previously had his work published in The Advertiser.
Our authors
   Reviewed by 
Bill Tsouvalas


Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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Tips For Getting The Best Car Loan in Australia

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Purchasing a new car is an exciting and significant investment. With so many options available on the market, from different makes and models to various features and pricing packages, it's essential to know how to navigate the process. That’s where Savvy can help you out.

Whether you're a first-time buyer or looking to upgrade your current vehicle, you can learn key tips to cover everything you need to know right here with us. Read more to help you make an informed decision and secure the best deal possible today!

Work out what you need from your car

Before diving into the car-buying process, it's crucial to take some time to consider your specific needs and priorities. Think about how you plan to use the car, whether it's for daily commuting, family outings, off-road adventures or business purposes.

Consider factors such as seating capacity, storage space, performance and power type (petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric). By understanding your requirements, you can narrow down your options and focus on finding a car that meets your specific needs and preferences.

New or used?

One of the key decisions you'll need to make when buying a car is whether to purchase a new or used vehicle. Each option has its own set of advantages and considerations.

New cars offer the latest features, technology and warranties, but they also come with a higher price tag and more rapid depreciation. On the other hand, used cars are typically more affordable and may offer better value for money, but they may come with less peace of mind knowing it’s been driven by others before.

Additionally, if you decide to buy a used car, you’ll have more options to choose from, such as private sales, which aren’t available with new cars. This comes with its own risks, though, so it’s worth doing your due diligence if you go down that road.

When deciding between new and used, consider factors such as your budget, desired features and resale value (if you’re looking to sell eventually). By weighing up the pros and cons of each option, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and financial situation.

Think about your budget and suitable financing options

Before finalising your decision to buy a new car, it's essential to assess your budget and explore suitable financing options. Determine how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a car, taking into account factors such as your income, expenses and any existing financial commitments.

Consider whether you'll be paying for the car outright or opting for financing through a car loan agreement. If you choose to finance your purchase, it’s crucial to research different lenders and compare interest rates, loan terms and repayment options to help you find the best deal (which you can do through Savvy). Bill Tsouvalas, Managing Director of Savvy, stressed the importance of budgeting for your car purchase, saying:

“Establishing a clear budget and knowing how you’re paying for your car before you start the process can help lower the risk of stress on your finances, as you’ll be clearer on what models or finance options are outside your budget.”

Bill Tsouvalas, Managing Director - Savvy

Research manufacturers and models

With a plethora of car manufacturers and models available on the market, conducting thorough research is essential to find the right car for your needs. Explore different brands and their reputations for reliability, quality and customer satisfaction.

There’s a range of ways to go about comparing your available options. Consulting sources such as company sites, car reviews and buyer guides can all help you do this. Additionally, checking used car sales platforms online will give you an idea of what options are available and how much they might cost.

Researching manufacturers and models extensively can help you make an informed decision and choose a car that meets your expectations in terms of performance, reliability and overall value.

Keep an eye on safety features

Safety should be a top priority when buying a new car, so it's essential to pay close attention to the safety features offered by different models. You may wish to look for cars equipped with advanced safety technologies such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), reversing cameras and collision avoidance systems.

Additionally, consider models that have earned high safety ratings from ANCAP. These ratings provide valuable insight into a car's crashworthiness and overall safety performance. Buying a car with safety features you’re satisfied with can bring greater peace of mind.

Look for fuel efficiency

Fuel costs can significantly impact the ongoing expenses of owning a car, so choosing a green model or one with excellent fuel efficiency can save you plenty of money in the long run. Look for cars that offer lower litres per 100km (L/100km) measurements for better fuel economy.

It’s important to note that L/100km is an optimal measurement and various factors can affect this. According to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics:

“Real-world fuel consumption is affected by many factors that have little to do with the vehicle, including weather, driving behaviour (e.g. average speed, speed change), road environment (e.g. quality of road surface, congestion) and driver demographics (e.g. gender, age).”

Fuel economy of Australian passenger vehicles – a regional perspective, August 2017 - Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics

You can also consider factors such as engine size, transmission type, aerodynamics and weight when assessing a car's fuel efficiency. Electric and hybrid vehicles are also worth considering for their superior economy and reduced environmental impact.

Obtain car history checks on used models

If you're considering purchasing a used car, it's essential to obtain a comprehensive car history check to ensure that you're making a sound investment. Car history checks can provide valuable information about the vehicle's past, including its ownership history, distance driven, service records and any reported accidents or damage.

By obtaining these checks from reputable providers, such as the Australian Government's Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR), you can uncover potential issues and make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the purchase. You can also do this by undertaking an independent inspection with a qualified mechanic.

Consider the costs of maintenance and insurance

When budgeting for a new car, it's crucial to factor in not just the purchase price but also the ongoing costs of ownership, including maintenance and insurance. Research the estimated maintenance costs for different car models, including routine servicing, repairs and replacement parts.

Additionally, you can obtain car insurance quotes for the cars you're considering to get an idea of the premiums you'll be paying. In considering these factors alongside the purchase price, you can get a more comprehensive understanding of the total cost of ownership for each car and make a more well-informed decision that fits within your budget.

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This guide provides general information and does not consider your individual needs, finances or objectives. We do not make any recommendation or suggestion about which product is best for you based on your specific situation and we do not compare all companies in the market, or all products offered by all companies. It’s always important to consider whether professional financial, legal or taxation advice is appropriate for you before choosing or purchasing a financial product.

The content on our website is produced by experts in the field of finance and reviewed as part of our editorial guidelines. We endeavour to keep all information across our site updated with accurate information.

Approval for car loans is always subject to our lender’s terms, conditions and qualification criteria. Lenders will undertake a credit check in line with responsible lending obligations to help determine whether you’re in a position to take on the loan you’re applying for.

The interest rate, comparison rate, fees and monthly repayments will depend on factors specific to your profile, such as your financial situation, as well others, such as the loan’s size and your chosen repayment term. Costs such as broker fees, redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, aren’t included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts may result in a different comparison rate.

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