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.
You have dreamt of owning a car. And have been saving for long and finally saved enough to get your hands on the four wheels of happiness. However, you are a newbie in the car market. Purchasing a vehicle is often the second biggest investment people make after a house and is a tricky one.
Since cars are available in various shapes and sizes with different purposes, you must consider choosing them wisely as per your preference and need. Be it any vehicle, it brings the tag of ‘depreciation’ along with them. Therefore, as a first-time car buyer choose a car that returns you with maximum benefits. And they can be in the form of high resale value, low depreciation, minimal upkeep, and returns an optimum value.
Thinking of new car purchase, the mind of a car-buyer is flooded with questions like:
- Which car is the best I can get in the market?
- What is the mileage of the chosen car?
- What essential safety features are must in a car?
- Which car insurance I should opt for?
- When should I purchase the car to get the best deal?
To make your decision less complicated, we have come up with a list of six-pointers you should keep in mind for a hassle-free buying experience. We have also included a list of cars for first-time buyers, handpicked by our experts.
1. Deciding Your Budget
The cost of owning a vehicle is not only limited to the cost of the vehicle alone, but there are also additional costs associated with it. And these include the purchase cost as well as the cost incurring during its life i.e. the maintenance, repair and running costs. For instance, if a car costs Rs 3.6 lakh (ex-showroom), its on-road price will be no less than Rs 4.2 lakh.
The amount over the ex-showroom price, Rs 60,000, will be spent on registration of the vehicle, road tax, pollution certificate, insurance and others. An inexpensive looking car with hefty maintenance and poor mileage can prove to be a nightmarish decision. However, the right price car with a frugal engine and low maintenance can get you a relaxed and fuss-free ownership experience.
2. Financing Options
One can consider buying a car by paying on a single transaction or even pay with financing options. While choosing the financing options the buyer should consider the extra amount being paid for the same vehicle price. It’s a general trend to lean towards long-term EMI options instead of short term options, as the EMI amount gets reduced. What you don’t count is you will be paying considerably more money within the specific time frame.
For example, if you opt for a loan of Rs 3 lakh at the rate of 10.4% interest for 3 years, you pay the bank somewhere near Rs 3.5 lakh in total. Wherein the same loan amount, if taken for 7 years you will be liable to pay Rs 4.24 lakh approx. Thus, it’s advised to pick the short EMI tenure while choosing any financing scheme, where you are supposed to least additional amount as interest for your car.
3. Choosing the Type of Car Body
The type of the car body defines the look, the seating capacity and the space inside the cabin and also the functionality of the car. In general for passenger cars, there are four types of bodies which are further divided into subcategories:
While hatchbacks are designed to be compact and for small families, sedans are relatively larger than hatchbacks and offer better seating comfort for the occupants. Both offer a seating capacity of up to five persons. The other two types are much larger and offer seating options ranging from 5 to 9 persons including the driver. It is necessary to understand the purpose of the vehicle, and the number of people travelling frequently together.
A family of 3-4 people might not need a 7/8-seater MPV. Similarly, if your playground is restricted to traffic-ridden city roads with no off-roading involved, buying an SUV may not be a sane decision. The SUVs and MPVs perform up to mark and handle well under open stretches. As many find these bulky vehicles hard to manoeuvre in cumbersome urban traffic.
4. The Big Question: Diesel or Petrol?
As automotive technology evolves, we are now free from making the binary choice of whether to go for a punchy diesel or peppy petrol-powered car. Further, with the foray of alternate choices like hybrid and electric vehicles, you have a plethora of choices namely petrol, diesel, CNG, hybrid and electric. Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, however, depending on the availability of the fuel choice you must choose the right engine wisely.
The diesel-driven cars have more components and vibrate more than any other cars, making them more expensive to maintain than petrol, but if your regular runabouts are considerably more, you can pick diesel over petrol. As petrol is still cheaper than diesel. The CNG emerges as the cheapest fuel option, but it’s not popular throughout the country, and most metro cities have a somewhat adequate number of CNG filling stations.
5. Resale Value
Cars are fast-depreciating assets and in the current highly competitive market automakers update them frequently. Considering this, the value of cars in the second-hand market depends on the image and popularity of a brand in people’s mind. For instance, a Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai or Honda car will hold a better value in the second-hand market, than a Ford, Volkswagen or Fiat car of the same segment and range.
According to the experts, it’s wiser to choose a brand that holds a proven record in the second-hand arena. Imagine, who would like to lose a hefty depreciation amount while selling their car, which has been kept in an immaculate condition over the years.
6. Safety and Features
Nowadays, convenience attributes like power steering, air conditioner, power windows, Bluetooth connectivity, etc. are considered basic features in a car. Moreover, to woo customers many carmakers throw in innovative and advanced features like automatic rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, sunroof, connected tech and others. As we get attracted to these tempting features, safety should be ignored.
Keeping in mind road undulations and rapidly increasing accident cases on the highways, your safety, as well as the protection of your loved ones, carries high importance. As a result, the government has made ABS (anti-lock braking system) mandatory for all vehicles from October 2019.
Meanwhile, features like height-adjustable seats and steering adjustability come handy during driving under different conditions. Hence, we suggest, besides looking for comfy features and tech also have a glance at the safety feature column to ensure safer drives every time.
List of 5 Cars You Should Consider as Your First Purchase
1. Tata Tiago
The hatchback from Tata Motors has been churning decent volumes. Its 4-star crash test rating, pleasing design and spacious interiors make the Tiago a perfect option for someone who is just starting out. Whether you opt for an AMT or manual transmission, the Tiago will never disappoint you.
Recommended Variant – Tata Tiago XZ Plus
2. Maruti Suzuki Alto
The Alto has always been a best seller for Maruti for years, recently it has got a few tweaks and new features like a touch screen infotainment system alongside other safety features. The Alto is rated as one of the most affordable and fuel-efficient small cars in the market today. Over the years, its adorable underlining aspect has been low maintenance, inexpensive price tag and wholesome resale value.
Recommended Variant – Maruti Suzuki Alto VXI+
3. Hyundai Grand i10 Nios
The Korean car giant is the second to sit on the fame and reliability cordon (after Maruti). Hence Hyundai has put in genuine efforts to make Grand i10 Nios a success. Stuffed with quality active and passive safety features, in addition to vast infotainment and creature comfort list, Nios is an all-rounder hatchback. It’s the only car to offer six airbags as an option as well as a rear AC vent to channel cool air at the rear seat, making rear occupants feel cozy in the scorching summer days.
Recommended Variant – Hyundai Grand i10 Nios AMT Asta
4. Renault Kwid
The French automaker’s most popular and highly successful nameplate ‘Kwid’ rose to fame with its SUV-ish traits among the masses. One of the key car models in the entry-level segment, Kwid can be a good alternate to Alto, if you go by the looks and tech it offers. The car with a striking presence can seat 4-5 adults easily and delivers high mileage numbers.
With Kwid ownership reports checking all the right boxes, it has all to qualify for a reliable first city car. The value for money car is offered in manual as well as automatic gearbox choice.
Recommended Variant – Renault Kwid RXT (O)
5. Maruti Suzuki Dzire
The most preferred compact sedan of the country is indeed the Maruti Suzuki Dzire. The aspects which make it the natural choice include unmatched reliability, fuel efficient engine, features and low running cost. It gets the first idle start-stop option in the segment which further aids in returning impressive mileage figures.
Recommended Variant – Maruti Suzuki Dzire Zxi
Choosing the Right Car Insurance
Now comes a very important part, insurance. Choosing car insurance can be as confusing as choosing a car itself, if not more. There are numerous options to choose from such as comprehensive, third party, zero-depreciation, etc. But which one to select from these lucrative options. The comprehensive and zero depreciation insurance policies cost considerably high, so are they worth the extra money?
Our experts suggest that one should opt for comprehensive automobile insurance with added benefits of covering the depreciation of the car as well as offers a cover for all the consumable goods (like screws, nuts and bolts, rubber parts, etc.)
There are numerous other add-ons and benefits one could opt-in for. However, zeroing upon any policy, one should read out the terms and conditions which most of us skip due to the fine print. Nevertheless, to have an understanding before the purchase of a policy will help erase uncertainty while processing the claim and understanding the extent of coverage of the policy.