Buying a car needs careful thinking

The decision-making process when acquiring a second-largest asset after your house - a car - should not be treated lightly.

The decision-making process when acquiring a second-largest asset after your house - a car - should not be treated lightly.

Approach this immensely complex process with caution and plenty of pragmatism.

Buying a car is not only about selecting the right vehicle.

It is also about insurance, running costs, security and financing.

Choices here, too, abound, as there is a support industry to the motor manufacturers that is almost as large, if not bigger than, the suppliers of new cars.

For the first-timer, financing a new vehicle can be one of the most confusing aspects of the purchasing process - there is private leasing, hire purchase, company cars and car allowances.

Buying a car is very much a matter of balancing what you can really afford with what you want. After all, a car is seen by most people as an extension of their personalities.

But when decision time comes, you have to remain sensible.

These days, there are so many new vehicle niches on the market that it may even be difficult to decide which type of car you need.

Take the following things into account:

What are you primarily going to use the car for - commuting to work, long-distance travel or a bit of both?

How many people will be traveling with you?

How old are your children? Younger kids are more likely to dirty a vehicle's interior.

Look for the best overall package for your budget - fuel economy, space, quality, performance, safety, styling and servicing costs should all be considered.

At the end choose not only a car that will suit the lifestyle you lead but one that you like.

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