Finding the right car for you Finding the right car for you

Finding the right car for you

Knowing what you need before you buy speeds up the process, and ensures you don’t buy a car that’s not right for you. All that glitters is not gold.
There’s a bit to think about when deciding on the car for you.

What’s important to you?


The NZ Transport Agency have reviewed all the different car sizes, from small to large cars, SUVs and people movers. Find out which cars have been given a 5-star Driver Protection Rating and are deemed ‘safe picks’ at

Fuel efficiency?

Look for the fuel economy label on cars, most cars will have one. The star rating allows you to compare one car against another, so you can pick a car that is more fuel efficient. A 6-star rating is given to the most fuel efficient cars. Find out more.


The most reliable cars are said to be small and mid-size cars of Japanese origin. Find out more.

The age of the car?

The age of the car affects how often you’ll need to renew your WoF. Cars first registered before the year 2000 need their WoF renewed 6-monthly and those first registered after 2000 only need to be renewed annually. The age of the car may also affect the condition of the car and the number of kilometres it has done. A car that’s done more than 100,000 kms has a higher risk of something being wrong with it.

The size of the engine?

A car with a large engine is likely to accelerate faster than a car with a small engine. You should be fine with a small engine if you just use your car to get around town. A larger engine may suit you better if you’re often driving in high speed areas like motorways.

The size of the car?

In your search you’ll want to consider whether you need plenty of boot space for your golf clubs or a buggy, or whether you need 7 seats to fit all your family in. This will help you narrow down the possible cars on your list.

What’s your budget?

Do you have a set budget that you’re willing to spend? Do you need finance to purchase the vehicle?

Also, if you are replacing an existing car, you should look into what you could sell it for privately compared to trading it in with a car dealer when you buy your new car. This may affect how much you can afford on your next car.

Getting finance

If you’re a home owner, the cheapest finance you’re likely to get is by extending the mortgage on your house. However, when looking at other options for a loan it’s important to check the following:

  • Time to repay
  • Whether monthly payments are available
  • Total cost of credit over the term of the loan
  • If there is an interest free period
  • Terms and conditions for any hidden costs

All lenders should provide the information so you can compare the deals that they offer you.


Where to look for a car?


Key sites for buying a car online are Trade Me, Driven, Turners and Autotrader.

Car dealer

There’ll be quite a few local car dealerships in your area – so have a look around and see who’s nearby. This is a great opportunity to test drive a couple that you are keen on as well.

Side of the road or private sale

There’s also usually a local area in your town or city where ‘for sale’ cars are parked up on the side of the road for people to come and have a look.


Buying a Car checklist – 5 easy steps

  1. Decide on the make and model you want – and your budget
  2. Take it for a test drive
  3. Bring it in to VTNZ so an expert can do an assessment – book online now
  4. Sort out your finance and insurance
  5. See and sign all the documentation to purchase the car – you can sort the change of ownership at VTNZ (we have the Transport Agency form you’ll need, a MR13C)

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