Buying the right car- Where do I begin?

Have you had those moments? Those micro moments when you are packing the family car or small SUV for a trip away and realise you just can’t fit everything in anymore.

Something in your life has changed, a new child perhaps or maybe one or two have left home and the car’s now too big?

So many of these moments can trigger a thought like ”wouldn’t it be nice if”…

  • We had a bigger space to pack everything
  • To finally go off road and take the kids on a real adventure
  • Downsize to that  more comfortable compact and fuel efficient car
  • Finally get the performance vehicle I’ve always dreamed of
  • Realise safety is a big priority now and my family deserves the latest technology
  • Or you just feel like a change to make you feel good.

In reality these moments usually pass quickly, we do it often like dream of winning the lottery or an overseas trip. It’s seems too hard to take the next step to make that micro moment into a reality.

Choosing a car is tough, it can be stressful and takes a long time mainly because a lot of us can’t make up our minds. The journey usually begins with that micro moment which becomes a decision to act. So how do we begin this journey?

The way we buy a car has changed in the last 15-20 years. As a kid I loved the memories of the family driving from dealership to dealership, climbing through the cars in the showroom as dad spoke directly to the sales people then sitting in the back on many test drives. Now all we need to do is pick up our smart phone and perform a search. The dealer maybe the last part of the journey and most people may visit only one or 2 dealerships at the most.

So for those not loyal to one brand there’s a challenging journey ahead of us. Almost 60% of us are unsure about what car to buy.  This “which car is right for me” research on average can span 3 months and be made up of hundreds of  micro-moments  jumping onto our mobile device or sitting at the PC or laptop at home to do some more intense research.

This research needs to ask many questions for our individual needs like which car is the safest, which will fit a family of five with all their gear, do I want to go off road or save on petrol etc. Many of us will leave the money part last by researching if the monthly payments on our narrowed choices of vehicles will fit into our budget.

Recommended Approach


The best way to approach the first part of your car buying journey is to have a clear and precise idea of what you want with regard your budget. If you do it the other way around you can end up committing to a vehicle that may look OK on paper but in reality the monthly payments and costs may end up being a struggle. So do you the sums first. This can cut out a lot of the research time by ruling out many vehicles or brands you would normally look at.

Most important criteria

Next you need to determine what is the most important criteria you want in this new car?

Cargo Space - Does it need to seat 5 or 7 people, or 3 kids and a dog and the seats fold down?

Safety – It’s not just about a 5 star ANCAP rating anymore, there’ the reverse camera, lane warning systems, parking sensors, collision avoidance systems, SATNAV - the list goes on.

Economy – Are you prepared to pay more for a diesel or hybrid or look for a smaller engine?

Power – will you be towing a trailer or boat or traveling over sand dunes or just need a lot of torque or horsepower for great acceleration?

Comfort - Do you need a moon roof, heated or leather seats, a 10 speaker sound system etc.?

So by now you’ve narrowed it down to may be 2 brands or perhaps 3 models.  Still you continue with Google searches to compare models, read reviews, watch YouTube videos and maybe read some blogs. Many of you will ask a friend for advice and if their brand of vehicle has been reliable.

The Best Deal – The Dealership

Finally you’ve found the one right vehicle model but there’s the very important question of where and who to buy it from? This is where you must consider this important decision is not just be a once off ‘buy and goodbye’ but will potentially form a relationship with that company over many years.

You’re in the home straight so your main criteria now is to find the best deal by paying the least or get a great discount and low finance - right? The next part of you journey will be the dealership. But is it all about the price?

How do you compare dealers – what you may look for?

  • Are the finance options flexible and will I retain value when I want to update in future
  • Closest dealer for convenience and ongoing service 
  • In stock – do you need to have it now or wait 2 months until delivery
  • Can they offer a Demonstrator or a run-out model
  • Is there a national offer with perks on this particular model right now
  • Is there a good selection of experienced and perhaps culturally diverse sales consultants
  • Or a dealer that provides the best experience?

In reality, these days most dealer’s new car prices rarely differ from one another because the margins are very small and dealers operate in a highly competitive industry.

More commonly now it’s the structure of the finance and insurance products that is most important to suite individual needs.  Most commonly negotiating great deals on the actual vehicle price is available when dealers need to clear older stock so make sure you always ask a dealer if there’s any models they need to clear – you could save $1,000s!

The Buyers Experience

While all these other factors are important to you the car buyer,  many believe what really matters and what many shoppers place the most importance on is,  " which dealership is going to deliver the best experience.”

When you look at a dealer’s website or make that call to a sales consultant, ask not just about pricing and finance but also other factors like servicing facilities and signs of a great environment that shows you they would to go out of their way to help you.

As soon as you feel there’s some stress or pressure, walk away, find a dealer who from the first moment makes you feel they will do everything to ensure the experience is hassle free and actual fun and enjoyable. Toyota created the slogan “Oh What a Feeling“ for a reason. They believe you should walk away with that feeling from any Toyota dealership.

If a dealer’s website lacks good information about these experiences and their own promises or guarantees it may be worth you moving on. Find a dealership that offers a lot of history and stands out from the rest not just in size and brand marketing but in their reputation. For example see if the website showcases their sales staff with profiles so you can meet them “virtually” even if you’ve only talked on the phone. You should be able to research not only your vehicle but the person who will help you buy it!  It’s very important you research the dealer to ensure transparency with things like testimonials from other customers.

Facebook Review Ratings

Be sure to visit their social media pages and get a gauge on the feedback from other customers, compare their likes to other dealers and look to see if they have their own ratings system, (Facebook’s ratings results are cannot be altered). See how they have dealt with complaints online in the past and there has been a good resolution. Look at Google reviews too.

Northpoint Toyota offer all these features to ensure complete transparency and provide many online resources so our potential customers (our guests) can research our history, our sales team and customer feedback thoroughly.

Unlike many dealer websites Northpoint’s website is a one stop shop for the complete car buying journey. From blogs like this that discuss the challenges of car buying and servicing to the detailed vehicle showrooms and the stock application where you can customise any model & grade and compare the pricing for each variant.

At Northpoint Toyota our core point of difference comes with our guest experience. We have recently developed this into a promise called the Northpoint Way. This is the type of car buying experience that makes the difference right at the end of your journey.

So welcome to the end of your journey – you are here!