Car buying guide: Tips for buying a car the smart way

Published on 27 Jul, 2021, 9:31 AM IST
Updated on 18 Apr, 2023, 12:28 PM IST

Team Ackodrive
11 min read
Interesting Articles
Follow us onfollow-google-news-icon

Share Post

When you finally decide to buy a car, there will be many questions that pop into your head. Which type of car to buy, which brand/model, petrol or diesel, manual or automatic, and so on. As if these confusions were not enough, the number of options available in the market makes it even harder to choose a car. If you find yourself in such a scenario, all you need is a detailed car buying guide to help you make the right choice.

Car buying guide

Car buying guide: How to buy a car?

Purchasing a car may sound like a straightforward task, but an endless list of models available at your disposal makes it a difficult task. The confusion while choosing a car compounds if you are buying a car for the first time. A detailed car buying guide can make your life easier in such situations.

So, how do you buy a new car? The answer to this question depends on various factors such as the purpose and usage, the driving style, the features you are looking for, your budget, etc. Hence, before choosing a car, one should evaluate the requirements and select a vehicle accordingly. Conducting thorough research about the type of car you want to buy can also help you identify viable options.

Tips for buying a new car

Here are some tips if you are wondering how to buy a new car.

1. Purpose and usage

Before initiating the research on the type of car you are looking to buy, two crucial questions are to be answered. What is the purpose of purchasing the car, and what is the usage? 

  • Have clarity on purpose behind the purchase. Is it for daily commuting within the city or long drives? 

  • Determine the number of passengers you're expecting to accompany you so that you can choose the vehicle as per the seating capacity of your preference.

Once the purpose is clear, the next question to be answered is the usage. Where are you going to drive the car? Is it on highways, city roads or off-road? Your choice will vary depending on your use. For instance, if you will be driving on congested city roads, a hatchback car would be a sensible option.

2. Questions to ask yourself before buying a car

Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before buying a car.

  • What is your driving experience? Your driving experience matters a lot while choosing a new car. If you are an experienced driver, you may opt for sedans or SUVs. If you are new to driving, it’s better to stick with a hatchback as it is easy to drive.

  • Where do you drive? A hatchback would be ideal if you are driving in a metro city as you have to deal with traffic congestion. If you are an adventure junky and wish to drive off-road, an SUV would make a lot of sense. So, it’s essential to know your driving environment before you choose a vehicle.

  • What features are you looking for in a new car? Have a clear idea of what features you are expecting in a new car. Is it power windows, automatic gear shift, automatic AC or advanced safety equipment? Filtering the vehicles with the features you need will help you in choosing the right car.

3. Cost

Before you begin researching how to buy a car, it’s better to set a budget for your car purchase. In other words, decide on the price you are willing to pay for your new vehicle. Note that always consider the vehicle's on-road price, as it is the total cost of the car, including RTO-related expenses. Once you have determined the budget, shortlisting the cars becomes easier.

4. Online research

Once you are clear about your requirements and budget, conduct thorough research on the type of car you will buy. With numerous websites related to new cars, you can easily find professional car reviews and ownership reviews online. You can also read informative articles or watch videos related to the vehicle of your preference. Thorough research should help you in zeroing in on a car.

5. Automatic or manual?

Transmission is a crucial deciding factor when you are buying a new car. The gearbox is a component of the car that directly impacts the driving experience. So, it all depends on your driving experience and the kind of terrain you are driving. An automatic gearbox should be an ideal choice if you plan to drive the car in a city or a first-time car buyer. If you have ample driving experience and are looking for an old-school feel of driving a car, a manual gearbox should be good for you.

6. Petrol, diesel or CNG?

The choice of fuel depends on your budget. Typically, diesel cars cost more than cars powered by petrol engines. The same applies to the maintenance cost as well. Also, petrol engines produce less power than diesel engines. Hence, if you are not looking for a powerful car to set the roads on fire, you can opt for a petrol engine-powered car. On the other hand, if you buy an SUV or a full-size sedan, diesel should be the best option.

If you need a hatchback car for your daily city commutes, CNG fuel would be ideal. CNG fuel delivers superior fuel economy, and the cost of running is less compared to a petrol or a diesel car.

7. Test drive

One of the most critical points to be noted while buying a car is not to rely on the specifications mentioned on paper. Instead, get a feel for the vehicle by taking a test drive. If required, test-drive all the cars that you shortlisted. A test drive gives you a clear picture of the handling, the build quality, the engine refinement, and the car's features. So, never finalise a vehicle even before taking a test drive.

8. Look for discount offers

Car manufacturers and dealers come up with discount offers during special occasions such as festivals or national holidays. So, plan your purchase accordingly to make use of the discount offers. Also, look out for dealer-level discounts and choose the right dealer that offers the best price. The money you save through discounts can be invested in helpful car accessories.

9. Sort out the finance

If you do not have adequate funds to purchase a new car, you may have to look out for financing options. One of the most common financing options is to apply for a car loan. But before that, you can check whether you have any pre-approved loans to avoid the hassle of applying for a loan. Also, be cautious while choosing the loan tenure. Opting for 3-5 years of loan tenure is logical to save yourself from paying a substantial amount of money as loan interest.

10. Exchanging or selling your old car?

If you already own a car and want to sell your used car before you buy a new one, the best option would be to exchange it at the dealership. It saves you from the hassle of finding a buyer for your old car. But note that a dealer may offer a lower price for your second-hand car. So, do your research online and offline before deciding to sell or exchange your old car.

11. Check car insurance plans

Car insurance is mandatory for all cars in India. So, when you buy a new car, you have to opt for the compulsory Third-party Car Insurance Plan. But for extensive coverage, you can purchase the optional Comprehensive Insurance Plan. You can buy car insurance online at a low premium from online insurance providers such as ACKO. Purchasing online insurance is fast and hassle-free as there is no paperwork to buy a policy at ACKO.

12. Avail No Claim Bonus

If you exchange or sell your old car, remember to transfer the No Claim Bonus (NCB) benefits to your new vehicle (if available). You may have to go through some additional procedures to transfer the NCB, but you will save on the car insurance premium for your new car.

13. Review and buy

Once you have finalised the car and the dealership and sorted out the finance, the last step is to review the price quoted by the dealer. Research if you can get a lower price from other dealerships. If not, you can go ahead and purchase the car. You can also scout for other car buying options, such as online car buying through ACKO Drive, for attractive discount offers.

Also, make sure that the dealer does not charge you for unnecessary things like service charges, etc. The dealer should also take care of the registration process and deliver the car with a temporary/permanent registration number.

Choosing the type of car

Here are some reasons to buy different types of cars such as hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicle).

I. Reasons to buy a hatchback

  • The compact design of a hatchback is ideal for driving on roads with traffic congestion.

  • A hatchback car is a sensible option if you are a beginner driver, thanks to its simple driving controls.

  • It is an ideal car for a family of four with an ample amount of boot space.

  • Low maintenance cost.

  • You can find several budget-friendly cars in this segment, and even premium hatchbacks cost less than bigger cars.

  • A hatchback delivers superior fuel efficiency due to the low kerb weight and smaller engine capacity.

II. Reasons to buy a sedan

  • It comes with a spacious interior and comfortable seats.

  • Offers excellent driving experience, thanks to bigger engines and better transmission options.

  • The aerodynamic design results in superior handling.

  • Ideal for long drives as it offers more boot space.

  • You can also opt for luxury sedans if you are willing to spend that kind of money.

III. Reasons to buy a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)

  • Spacious cabin for the passengers and can accommodate more passengers than a hatchback or sedan.

  • Ideal for driving on hilly regions or off-roads.

  • The driver’s seat is placed much higher on an SUV, thus offering a perfect view of the road ahead.

  • It comes equipped with bigger engines and delivers ample power and torque.

What to check before buying a new car from a dealer?

There are certain things that you should check well before purchasing the car through a dealership. Below are the pointers you need to remember before closing the deal at a car showroom.

  • Negotiate the price: Do some homework on the market value of the car you want to buy before visiting the dealership. If the dealer quotes a higher price, do feel free to negotiate. Also, visit the dealerships during the month-end, as you may get a better deal as the car showroom will be looking to complete the monthly sales quota. Lastly, visit several dealerships to get the best deal.

  • Check for maintenance offers: Dealerships and OEMs usually provide annual maintenance offers with new cars. Do check with the dealer about such offers before closing the deal. Maintenance offers can significantly lower car maintenance costs. Hence, maintaining the vehicle will be light on your pocket.

  • Check warranty details: Enquire about the warranty details of the car before settling the finances. Also, check if there are any extended warranty packages available for the vehicle. If yes, it’s better to purchase the extended warranty.

  • After-sales and service: One of the crucial things to check before selecting a car dealership is the after-sales and service. Once you purchase the vehicle, you have to visit the same dealership/service centre to rectify any issues with the car. So, it’s crucial to choose a dealership with a vast service network and offers good after-sales service.

  • Free accessories: Generally, car dealerships offer certain accessories with your new car, free of cost. So, always check with the dealer if they are offering any accessories for free. Typically car dealers offer free accessories such as seat covers, floor mats, registration number plates, wheel covers, etc.

Where to buy your new car?

When you think of buying a new car, the first thing that comes to your mind is the traditional offline car dealership. An offline car showroom is a place to go if you need a new car. But for that, you need to visit several dealerships, negotiate car price to get the best deal and then book the vehicle. That’s not the end of it. If it’s a popular model, you need to wait for months to get the delivery of the car.

What if you could purchase your new car from the comfort of your home? Sounds too good to believe, right? Yes, you can now buy a new car online through the ACKO Drive platform. ACKO Drive offers you the best discounts in the market, and you will also get the delivery on a priority basis, which is much faster than industry standards. Lastly, you can find cars from different brands under one roof. All you need to do is visit the website to book your new car online.

How to buy a car with no money?

Can you buy a car without money? Not literally, but you can own a vehicle with limited funds, thanks to flexible financing options at your disposal. A car loan is your go-to option if you are stuck with limited funds while buying a car. You can avail of car loans that provide flexible tenure and low-interest rates. If you are purchasing a car on loan via ACKO Drive, your relationship manager will assist you in applying for a car loan.

Below are some points that you should keep in mind while applying for a car loan.

  • Check if you have any pre-approved loans before applying for a car loan.

  • Opt for a financing institution/bank that allows you to make a low down payment.

  • Check for the processing fee, ensure that the financier is not overcharging you in the name of processing charges.

  • Check the rate of interest and choose the loan tenure accordingly.

  • It’s better to avoid an extended loan tenure of 6-8 years, as you may end up paying a substantial amount of money as loan interest.

  • Keep all car loan-related documents handy for faster loan approval.

Tips to buy car insurance

As mentioned earlier, car insurance is mandatory in India, and when you buy a new car, the dealer may assist you in insuring the vehicle. But relying on the dealer for car insurance is not always the best option as you may be overcharged. So, conduct some research on car insurance and opt for an insurer that offers better coverage at a low premium. Here are some tips for you to choose the best car insurance plan for your new vehicle.

  • Compare car insurance plans offered by different insurers before buying one.

  • Opt for an insurance provider that offers maximum coverage at a low premium.

  • Opt for a Comprehensive Car Insurance Policy for broad coverage.

  • Opt for an insurance provider that offers cashless claims and has a vast network of partner garages.

  • Purchase the necessary add-ons that are required for your vehicle.

  • Purchase car insurance online from digital-first insurers such as ACKO for a hassle-free purchase/renewal and claim experience.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions related to purchasing a new car.

What are the 3 important factors that I should consider while buying a new car?

Here are the three crucial factors that you should consider while purchasing a new car.

  • Purpose and usage

  • Budget

  • Reliability and maintenance cost

Do I need to purchase a car insurance plan when buying a new car?

Yes, as per The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, it is mandatory to buy a car insurance policy when purchasing a new car., All motor vehicles should have a Third-party Motor Insurance Cover to comply with legal requirements. You may be penalised for driving a vehicle without an active insurance plan.

Which is the best time to buy a new car in India?

The best time to buy a new car in India is during the festival season as the car manufacturer’s and dealers offer attractive discounts. Month-end is also a good time for new car purchases as the dealers will be in a hurry to reach the monthly sales quota, and you may strike a good deal.

Is there any way that I can buy a new car online?

Yes, you can buy a car online through the ACKO Drive platform. Visit the ACKO Drive website and select the make/model you are looking for and make the booking online. For more information, you can go through the car buying process at ACKO Drive by clicking here.

Explore More:

car guide