With inflation rampant, chip shortages and supply chain issues lingering, and fuel prices rising to top it off, buying a car may not be as hot a prospect as it was a year ago. Even so, you can still find great cars and fantastic deals on finance if you’re in need of a set of wheels – and there are some modestly priced models that will tick almost every box (such as the Kia Sportage 2022, for example!).
The all rounder
The road trip is back on the agenda for families – especially when it’s cheaper to drive from Melbourne to Sydney than it is to fly. A fuel-efficient car that’s equally adept at the school run and venturing off the beaten path should be among the cars (or SUVs) you consider – and hybrid electric vehicles if fuel economy is something you’re trying to preserve.
Getting your budget sorted
Your budget should determine what kind of car you buy – and with record low interest rates, you’ll be surprised what kinds of models you can afford. By using a car loan repayments calculator, you can see how much a loan will cost over the (usual) five years in monthly repayments. You’ll need the loan term, the interest rate, and your loan amount – which doesn’t include any deposit you may have. This will give you a good approximate of what you’ll be spending each month on repayments. Just remember to add fuel, rego, and insurance on top.
Factor in stamp duty  
If you are buying new or used, you will have to remember to pay stamp duty on your vehicle. At a dealer, this is handled in-house. If you are buying second-hand, you will have to submit the stamp duty when you transfer registration. Rates can vary, so you should consult your state’s revenue office (or equivalent – this is Victoria’s revenue office.)
Beware of scams
A lot more people are comfortable buying cars sight unseen – but there are a lot of scams out there too. Some of the more common scams are sellers offering a “too good to be true” price because they’re about to move overseas for work or military deployment. All they ask is for a small “deposit” for transportation – and by the time you’ve realised the entire thing was a fake, they’ve taken your money and run. You need to get the VIN of the vehicle upfront – if they are cagey about giving it to you, don’t follow through – and run it through the Personal Property Securities Register to ensure the car:
  • Actually exists,
  • Isn’t stolen or written-off
  • And has no finance owing on it.
Don’t go for dealer finance
Using a car loan broker can help you find a more competitive car loan than simply going to your bank and seeing what boilerplate personal loan they throw at you – and it’s also much better than dealer finance more often than not. Doing a bit of legwork to get your finance sorted can save you more in interest than going for what’s convenient – because you pay for the convenience!