Buying a new family car…

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We recently bought a new car… and it was a huge decision as both hubby and I have paid off our cars. Plus we had to decide which of us would give up their car…

The big sedan with the 160 000km that is great for his meetings or my very economical Chevrolet Spark that only has 30 000km on the clock. Car 1 costs a lot to service and if anything breaks… $$$. Car 2 General Motors abandoned South Africa, but services and parts are cheap – but it is compact.

We found a company that wanted replace some of their car fleet and… I sold my beloved candy apple Spark. Yay for us that we got a good price 🙂

In our household we share all costs 50/50 so whatever I got for my car hubby matched – giving us a nice deposit and a wider choice of vehicle.

Hubby researched all the cars in the price bracket we were comfortable with and we both agreed on the ones we would test drive.

Our family car had to:

  • Have a higher ground clearance for getting up the mountain when we visit my parents
  • High enough so we can see more in the Kruger National Park
  • Can fit 5 people with Lexa strapped into her seat
  • Must be able to fit my 3 black cats + 2 children in the back
  • Have boot space for days
  • Have park assist
  • Must have cruise control for those long drives to Salt Rock
  • Must be a well-supported brand in South Africa (after GM, we didn’t want to go through that again)

Then we test drove cars…

We tested a few SUVs including the Kia Sportage, Hyundai, Toyota’s Rav, Nissan and Renault Duster.

We settled on a car that we both liked but instead of buying 1 model up, we added the one thing we both wanted, a rear-view camera that is connected to the mirror. Next model up was 60k more and had a camera and seat setting thing extra – having the camera installed cost 6k… Quite a saving. Plus we got a 25k discount.

Can you guess which car we chose as our family car? PS the park assist camera helped me to reverse park between a car and a tree and just 5cm from a wall!

So here are my tips before even visiting any showrooms:

  1. Know what you will have as a deposit
  2. If you are trading in your car, get one or 2 evaluations and quotes
  3. Work out how much you actually can afford per month
  4. Find out from the bank how much you would qualify for if you have to finance it
  5. Identify the cars that will suit your family’s lifestyle and requirements
  6. Research them online – read reviews (nobody wants to buy a car that spontaneously combusts… just saying)
  7. Then go for a day of test drives
  8. Ask the sales person if there aren’t any discounts they could organise
  9. …and for $%^$%^% never buy a car with a balloon payment

Rather test drive a car more than once before finalising the transaction. Nothing is worse than regretting buying a car and being stuck with it. After all, cars aren’t investments but rather what will take you on holiday, to work and getting the kids from school.

I am a Johannesburg based freelance writer, social media manager - and of course share bits from my life with you on this blog. We have 2 kids through surrogacy and 3 black cats.

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