The Road Ahead : April 2013
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB APR/MAY 2013 THE ROAD AHEAD 47 USED CAR BUYING | MOTORING DOLLAR-FOR-DOLLAR, BUYING A new car has probably never been cheaper. There are currently a host of drive away deals for less than $20,000, though these are invariably for light or small cars. The reality is, if you want something bigger -- and that includes the increasingly-popular Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) -- for around the same money, then a used vehicle is your only option. Here is where Australia's Best Cars can assist. For more than 10 years, these annual awards have provided a comprehensive consumer guide to new car buying. But, more than that, some of the previous winners shape attractively as a used vehicle buy for much less than their original price. For example, a perusal online or through newspaper classifieds shows examples of a 2006 Honda Civic VTi (judged 2006 Best Mid-Size Car over $25,000) available for as little as $10,990 and a 2007 Nissan X-Trail ST (Best Recreational 4WD the same yea $16,990. Same-year examples of 2008 Best Mid-Size Car Over $28,000, the Mazda6 Classic, were on sale from as low as $15,990, while there was a vast choice of 2008 Ford Falcon FG XTs (Best Large Car that year) starting at $9999. For the big picture, reviews of Australia's Best Cars award winners, year by year, are available at racq.com/ motoring/cars. The website is your complete car buying toolbox, containing not just reviews, but price guides, buying checklists, safety rating listings and fuel economy reports. There is information and advice on buying a new or used car, costs of ownership, why you need a vehicle inspection, car history checks (what to know about the Personal Property Security Register), safety certificates, where to buy and financing a loan. THE LOAN ARRANGER Manager RACQ Loans Debbie Pahlke said there were many things to pping for finance. "The interest rates available for new and used cars will often differ, as loan providers take into account the risk of the vehicle retaining its value by the end of the contract you are committing to," Ms Pahlke said. "If the vehicle is relatively new and in good condition, this should not deter you from financing a used car. If you want to take a loan for a car, you should consider how much you want to borrow and whether you can comfortably afford the repayments each month. "Look for a loan that you can pay more on if you want to, without penalising you for the privilege, that way, you may be able to pay your loan out sooner." The RACQ online Loan Calculator can not only help you decide what amount you want to borrow, but will provide an estimate of the repayments you will likely need to budget for each month, or fortnight, depending on your preference. racq.com/carloans best car buying at the right price STORY BARRY GREEN* * AN AUSTRALIA'S BEST CARS AWARDS JUDGE. MAIN IMAGE: 2008 FORD FALCON FG XT. 2006 HONDA CIVIC VTI. 2008 MAZDA6 CLASSIC (WAGON PICTURED). 2007 NISSAN X-TRAIL.