Buying guide

What features should I look for when buying a car?

If you’re in the market for a car, make sure it’ll fulfil your needs and wants or it may not be a good long-term match.

If you’re in the market to buy your next car, make sure it’ll fulfil your needs and wants or it may not be a good long-term match. When it comes to car searching by features instead of make or model, it’s usually helpful to create a ‘must-have’ and ‘nice to have’ list.

Consider these features whilst researching and check out some used car reviews once you have a make and model in mind.

Body style

Think of what the car’s daily use will consist of. Would a small hatchback be enough or will you need a more roomy sedan, practical station wagon, a people moving van or SUV?

Age and reliability

In most cases, the older the car the more miles on the clock. Used cars will always have a history, we highly suggest getting a vehicle information report (VIR) from MotorWeb to make sure your potential new car hasn’t had too hard of a life.

Comfort features

If you’re in a showroom looking for a flash car then try searching by extra features like heated seats, interior leather finishes, Apple Play, reversing camera, parking sensors, GPS navigation system or keyless push-button start engine. There are a ton of extra features to pick from so research what you want before buying.

Car safety features

Always buy the safest car your budget will allow. Even though some cars have a decent safety rating, it doesn’t mean they’re fully safe. For peace of mind, it's a good idea to check safety ratings on the RightCar website. If possible, look to buy a car with safety features like side airbags, electronic stability control, anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), pre-collision technology and more. Check out our Used Car Safety Rating article to see what’s most important.

Engine type

Would you prefer a manual or automatic? The majority of cars in New Zealand are automatic, which is also essential if you spend a lot of time in traffic jams. If you like to have a bit more control of your vehicle and enjoy a solid gear change, then go for manual.

Fuel type

There are a few types of fuel you can choose from – you can stick with classic petrol or diesel, but if you want to keep it green then try your luck with a hybrid, or cut out fuel altogether by going fully electric. This consideration also plays into the engine size you want and how fuel efficient you wish to be.

Whatever you want and whatever your budget, we’ve got a car for you. If you find yourself needing some more inspiration, read our advice article on finding the right car based on your needs. You can also check out our new and used car reviews.