First-time car buyers need to have adequate knowledge not just about the car that they want to purchase but also various other things that are related to it. Check out this complete guide before you buy your first car.
First-time car buyers are usually hesitant and excited at the same time at the prospect of owning their first-ever vehicle. Knowing what model to buy is not nearly enough for any buyer. You need to be aware of various other factors that are related to purchasing a new car. We have a detailed guide here for you to read before your first car.
Choosing the right car for the right reasons is very important as this would be a major investment financially in your life. There are a lot of options for you in the market, starting from the models right down to the after-purchase care and maintenance of your car. Being aware of all these is essential for many reasons. Saving time and money is the most important of them all.
Also, the cost of depreciation is an important term prospective car owners need to be aware of. It is always wise for a first-time car buyer to choose a car that will give you maximum benefits in return. These returns that we are talking about can be in the form of high resale value, low depreciation, minimal upkeep, and returns an optimum value.
To make your decision-making process easier, we have come up with some tips for a hassle-free buying experience. We have also included a list of the best cars that will suit first-time buyers, handpicked by our experts.
The price of the vehicle at the showroom is not the only expense you will face when you buy a new car. For any car, there will at least be Rs 50,000 – Rs 60,000 price over the ex-showroom price that will have to be spent on things like registration of the vehicle, road tax, pollution certificate, insurance, etc.
Apart from that, the car will also cost you further for its maintenance, repair and running costs. All of these should be taken into account when you decide on a budget. Looking at just the price tag in the showroom will not be sufficient. An inexpensive looking car with hefty maintenance and poor mileage can sometimes end up costing you more than a more expensive model. In contrast, a reasonably priced car that comes with a frugal engine and requires less maintenance will save you time and money in the long run.
2. Car Loans
Any financing options other than paying the full amount in a single transaction will lead to extra money spent from the buyer’s pocket. If you do not have the basic knowledge of how certain financing options works, you might choose the wrong option like paying long-term EMIs so you have a cheaper EMI. This will actually cost you more when you calculate the total loan amount. Also, it will increase the total cost of the vehicle, no matter how small the EMI or the rate of interest.
3. Type of Car
Depending on the body type, the cars are generally categorised as hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs and MPVs. While the hatchbacks are compact and suitable for small families, the sedans are relatively larger and offer better comfort for the occupants. SUVs and MPVs are much bigger cars and can seat up to 9 people.
A small family of 4 people will find a 7 or 8-seater MPV excessive for their needs. Similarly, if your regular travel is restricted to traffic-ridden city roads with no off-roading involved, buying an expensive SUV for the first time might not be the wisest choice.
4. Fuel Type
Petrol and diesel are the fuel modes available in almost all vehicles. Other than these, we also have CNG, hybrid and electric fuelled vehicles. Choosing the right fuel will determine your running cost after the purchase of the car. Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
CNG remains the cheapest of all the fuel options and petrol the highest. The problem with CNG and electric vehicles is the availability of fuel stations in areas other than fully developed metropolitan cities. Diesel-powered cars cost more in terms of maintenance than petrol cars. However, if you expect to be covering a lot of distance regularly, then diesel might be a comparatively cheaper option than petrol due to the significant difference in the fuel prices.
Unless your budget allows for it and you live with quick access to electric vehicle charging stations, buying an electric vehicle might not be the wise choice for a new car owner right now.
5. Resale Value
There is something called the cost of depreciation for a car. It is because of this, that any car that is bought newly loses its monetary value by a tangible per cent right after the purchase. The automobile industry has always been extremely competitive with brands trying to outdo other brands. Updated versions for every model are launched frequently. Keeping this in mind, used cars attain their value from the image and popularity of a brand and its products among the masses. Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai or Honda car will always hold a better place in the second-hand market, than a Ford, Volkswagen or Fiat car because of the long-standing reliability of vehicles from these brands in our domestic market.
6. Safety and Features
Going back a few years, safety was not on the mind of any car-buying Indian customer. But now, the scene has definitely changed. The Indian government has declared the anti-lock braking system (ABS) mandatory for all vehicles since October 2019. With the high sales of GNCAP rated models in the last few years, we can safely say that Indians have become more conscious of the vehicle’s safety offerings as much as the impression it makes on their friends.
Features like power steering, air conditioner, power windows, Bluetooth connectivity, etc. are being offered as basic features in almost all models these days. Also, to keep the buyers interested, the brands are now adding more and more innovative and advanced features like automatic rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, sunroof, connected tech, etc. They offer some of them as standard in some models and tempt you with others as optional.
Therefore, we recommend keeping an eye on safety features and not getting blindsided by exciting and attractive tech features.
Insuring your car is one of the important things to be done while you are purchasing a new car. Car insurance gives you peace of mind and security if you are to face any untoward accident. Choosing the right insurance plan that suits you is as important as choosing the right model of car. There are numerous options available in the market to choose from such as comprehensive, third party, zero-depreciation, etc. The comprehensive and zero depreciation insurance policies cost considerably high and it is vital to know if it is worth spending the extra money on them.
Our experts recommend the comprehensive automobile insurance plan with additional benefits to cover the depreciation of the car and all the consumable goods like screws, nuts and bolts, rubber parts, etc.
However, even after deciding on a particular plan, the terms and conditions document should be read by us. Skipping the fine print is what usually gets us cheated out of what we should have got for our money. However, proper knowledge of what the policy covers and what it does not should be understood clearly will help while applying for a claim.
List of 5 Cars You Should Consider for Your First Purchase
After thorough research, we have compiled a list of the best cars for virgin car owners. Let us look at the top 5 that made our list.
- Tata Tiago
- Maruti Suzuki Alto
- Hyundai Grand i10 Nios
- Maruti Suzuki Dzire
- Maruti Wagon R
This hatchback from Tata Motors was recorded with a 4-star crash test rating pushing it to the top of our list. It has a pleasing exterior design and spacious interiors. With both AMT and manual transmissions as options, the Tiago certainly aims to please.
Recommended Variant – Tata Tiago XZ Plus
Ex-showroom Price – Rs 4.99 Lakh – Rs 6.95 Lakh
Maruti Suzuki Alto
The Alto has performed excellently since its launch. Maruti gave Alto some tweaks to freshen it up and added new features like a touch screen infotainment system alongside other safety features. Alto has remained on top as one of the most affordable and fuel-efficient cars in the Indian market. Over the years, its reliability, low maintenance, inexpensive price tag and good resale value have kept the buyers’ interests from fading away.
Recommended Variant – Maruti Suzuki Alto VXI+
Ex-showroom Price – Rs 2.99 Lakh – Rs 4.70 Lakh
Hyundai Grand i10 Nios
Next to the Alto, Hyundai’s i10 Nios stands on top with its unwavering reliability. Hyundai has filled the car with some great safety features, in addition to vast infotainment and other comfort features. The hatch offers six airbags on option and rear AC vents to channel cool air at the rear seat, keeping the rear seat passengers cool on hot Indian summer days.
Recommended Variant – Hyundai Grand i10 Nios AMT Asta
Ex-showroom Price – Rs 5.28 Lakh – Rs 8.50 Lakh
Maruti Suzuki Dzire
Maruti Suzuki Dzire is one of the most popular sedans in the country. It has performed extremely well in sales from its initial launch. It stands apart from other models in its segment with its unmatched reliability, fuel-efficient engine, and low running cost. It also has an impressive mileage of approximately 23 kmpl.
Recommended Variant – Maruti Suzuki Dzire Zxi
Ex-showroom Price – Rs 5.98 Lakh – Rs 9.02 Lakh
Maruti Wagon R
Wagon R can be the best choice for people who prefer tallboy hatchbacks. The current third-generation model is wider than the previous ones and sports a quirky look. It comes with a dual-tone black-beige dashboard layout housing a 7-inch infotainment system with a touchscreen. Plus, you get 341 litres of boot space. Wagon R is offered with both manual and AMT gearboxes. It has decent fuel efficiency in the city of approximately 12.19 kmpl.
Ex-showroom Price – Rs 4.80 Lakh – Rs 6.33 Lakh