How to choose your next car

  • What do I need to buy a car?
  • What is the most important thing when considering how to choose your next car?
  • When should you not buy a car?
  • What car should a first-time driver buy?
  • Can you customise your own car?
  • Is it worth customising a car?
  • How much should I spend on a car?
  • How to choose your next car

Stuck on how to choose your next car? Perhaps you are a first-time driver thinking about getting your first vehicle.

Whatever your situation, the first thing you will need to consider is what your priorities are, what you need from your next car and your existing driving habits. There is no one size fits all for these requirements. What one person considers a luxury may be essential for others.

So it is vital you really sit down and think about what you really need from your next vehicle, which will help you know how to choose your next car.

What do I need to buy a car? 

So, now you are ready to go out and buy, lease or finance your car. But, are you really ready? What do you need, to be able to get a car? 

Here are a few pointers below on the absolute basics 

  • Valid driving licence 
  • Establish your budget including vehicle, insurance and running costs 
  • The idea of which vehicle you would like, watching car reviews is a good place to start  
  • Calculate your estimated annual mileage  
  • Decide which transmission or engine type would be best if this is important to you 
  • Get an insurance quote for your preferred vehicle 

Once you have done these you will then be ready to decide the best financial route you should take to get your ideal car, exciting! There are many finance options to suit each and every person’s needs, we won’t go into too much depth now, but essentially, you can either purchase, finance or lease your new car. For more information on what each finance option offers, visit OSV’s new car finance options page

Green background with white text that reads Want an in-depth checklist of what you need when buying a car? Below is a hand pointing to an orange button with white text that reads Vehicle buyer's checklist this link will take you to a page with a checklist helping you understand everything you need before buying a vehicle

What is the most important thing when considering how to choose your next car? 

You may ask “what is the most important thing when considering how to choose your next car?”. This is such a personal question for each and every one of us. If we were to really give a one-size-fits-all type of answer, we suggest asking yourself this: 

“Will I be happy driving this car in a year’s time?” 

Other than that, considering the reliability, size and cost of the vehicle will also help when finalising your decision for your next car of choice. 

When should you not buy a car?  

When should you not buy a car? These may be logical to some, but just in case, here are a few reasons why and when you should not buy a car: 

  • If you cannot afford to buy the car 
  • If you cannot afford to maintain, insure, run and service the car 
  • If you have no driving licence  

What car should a first-time driver buy? 

So, you’ve just passed your driving test, or perhaps you did some years ago, and now it finally makes sense to purchase, lease or finance your first car. Which begs the question: what should a first-time driver buy, lease or finance?  

One thing to keep in mind is not to get overly techno heavy.  

What do we mean by this?  

Often when you are configuring your shiny new potential car on the manufacturer’s website, it’s easy to get carried away with the numbers, specifications and add-ons available to you.  

What you should really prioritise is this: 

  • Getting a car that’s covered by a low insurance group 
  • Choosing a smaller sized vehicle for easier parking 
  • Ensure the car is practical and comfortable to drive 

Can you customise your own car? 

So, can you customise your own car? Now, of course, you want to be driving a car that feels like you, and there is a lot to think about when considering how to choose your next car. But how many add-on features are really necessary? Where do you draw the line?  

A man smiling in a car shaking hands with a dealer

When it comes to customising your car, it’s very tempting to get carried away. It’s understandable, you are spending thousands upon thousands of pounds on this vehicle that must take you from a to b, and you will be driving for years of your life. You want nothing less than the best driving experience you can get. And that’s what we want for you!  


When you are in the excitement about ordering your new car, you may go to a showroom to get a good idea. Remember this: the salesperson’s job is to sell you as many features and add-ons as possible. It is very easy to get carried away when the professional makes each feature sound so exciting and like something you simply cannot live without. 

If you know yourself well, and you know that you are likely to get carried away, we suggest making a list of: 

  • Must haves 
  • Nice to haves 
  • Luxuries 

You should question each feature you are considering adding. Think, is this something I really need? Or is it something that would be nice or a luxury? From there you should have a clear vision of the kind of vehicle that will be most suited to you and your needs, which should help you understand how to choose your next car. 

Now, these will differ between each person. What is considered a luxury for some could be an absolute necessity for others.  

Let’s take the example of lumbar support. It makes driving a hell of a lot more comfortable, and we could compare this to the VIP section at the back of an Odeon Cinema, where you have all the leg space in the world and all the cushioning for your back.  

For some, this is a treat.  

But for someone with severe back pain who need regular physical support, this lumbar feature will be essential, not only to improve their comfort but to make their driving experience bearable.  

How much should I spend on a car?  

Again, this one varies personally to each individual. But there are a few tips we can give on how to get the best deal on the market: 

  • Only spend as much as you can sensibly afford 
  • Prioritise your needs from your wants 

But, again, how much someone should spend is a personal preference and really does vary. 

How to choose your next car 

Whether you are deciding to buy, lease or finance your first or next vehicle, remember not to go overboard with customising your vehicle. Of course, you want your vehicle to be personalised to what you want to be driving.  

However, it’s important you remember to differentiate between your needs, wants and nice to haves. Is the panoramic glass roof really a priority for you? Or would it just be nice to look up and see on the odd occasion?  

Have you considered what the most important thing is for you when choosing your car? It’s these types of questions that will help you get down to the nitty-gritty of choosing your next vehicle. 

You should ensure you have absolutely everything prepared so you are well-equipped to begin searching for your ideal vehicle. Remember you can download our free Vehicle buyer’s checklist to get you started. You can also sign up for our mailing list for the latest vehicle deals, for you to browse and choose from week by week. Or simply send us your preferred vehicle model and we can contact you when an outstanding special offer comes through. 

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