The boot is too small to fit the family shopping, you've recently had kids (or they're growing fast!), or perhaps you're just wanting to upgrade — whatever the reason, it's time to go car shopping. Deciding on a new vehicle can be quite a stressful process — with seemingly countless options, add-ons and smart technology to choose from, where does one even begin? To wade through the jargon and help you find the car that's right for you, motoring expert Elise Elliott weighs in.
It seems obvious, but the easiest way to rule out a vast number of options on the market straight up is by deciding which style of car you like the look of. Not only that, but you need to consider which type of car will suit not only your current lifestyle — but near-future lifestyle too. "Have an idea before you start your research," says Elise. This will ensure you don't become overwhelmed or end up with a car that doesn't actually suit your needs. For example, if you live in the city and want a zippy small car, but prefer the higher driving position and visibility of an SUV, a small SUV — like the Holden Trax — would be your best bet.
The Holden Trax also has high ride height, which means that while it's city-friendly in size, there's plenty of comfortable seating room — it's a small yet tall SUV. Plus, thanks to its compact size, it's fuel-efficient and easy to park. Win, win.
A car is often your second biggest asset – after your property – so there are a number of factors to consider before signing on the dotted line. Thanks to the convenience of car websites, you can start the process from your lounge room," explains Elise. "For example, if you want to buy a small SUV, it provides you with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of which SUVs are best suited to you, because they're not all the same."
Hot tip: book test drives back to back because, like going wine tasting or choosing a new perfume, the memory of the last is fresh in your mind so it's easier to know which you preferred most. "It's really easy to forget the feel of a car," says Elise "But if you can book in three test-drives with manufacturers on the same day, you can really feel the difference. It's quite extraordinary as cars are very different in their feel."
Haggling on price isn't for everyone, but you should visit a number of different manufacturers and ask each for their best deal – it could save you thousands! And if you're taking out a loan, it doesn't end there.
"The best price is only part of the deal, you also need to understand how financing works," says Elise. "Some manufacturers might give you a low interest rate when it comes to financing, but they won't budge on the price of the car."
This is obviously going to seem attractive, but will cost you more in the long run so do you sums to work out your total cost.
It's easy to get swept up in the excitement of a new car, but any smart shopper knows you have to take back-up — someone who will keep your emotions in check. "People tend to fall in love with new cars, because they're always going to be better than your existing car so it's good to have a second person who's on your side."
1. The ANCAP safety rating: This is scored out of five based on crash test results."You want to go for a four or five," says Elise "Or as high as you can afford."
2. Fuel efficiency: "Manufacturers will always have an official fuel consumption, but the manner and usage in which you drive your car could make that quite different. For example, if you do lots of stop-start city driving."
3. Extended factory warranty "This is really important: you want five years."
4. The year of manufacture "Just because you buy a new car in 2019, it might not be the 2019 model – it might be the manufacturer getting rid of a car that's 18 months old. It will still be new, but will be the 2018 model."
5. The fuel type: "Petrol, hybrid, electric – they're all a bit different in terms of fuel consumption so just make sure you get the one that best suits you."
6. Smart car tech: It's worth investing in a car that includes drive-enhancing extras. The Holden Trax features innovations such as Apple CarPlay & Android Auto; 7" colour touchscreen; reversing camera; blind-spot alert; rain-sensing wipers; and rear cross traffic alert.
Brought to you by Holden Trax