How to research your next car purchase and save yourself money

Although buying a new car is one of the biggest expenses one can have, it’s far too often people are leaping into this big decision without adequate time spent...

Although buying a new car is one of the biggest expenses one can have, it’s far too often people are leaping into this big decision without adequate time spent researching options. In 2017, your search for a new vehicle needs to be far more educated than simply test driving a car and opening your wallet.

It’s important to remember that the Australian car market features the most nameplates of any country in the world. We also have the 7th highest car ownership per capita.

The first place you should start your vehicle purchase experience is online, and sites like allow you to not just read about vehicle specs and figures from the manufacturer, but actually hear from people who’ve driven and reviewed a vast array of cars. This gives the review authors a diverse background to base comparisons on, delivering you a carefully considered recommendation on the pros and cons and if you fit in the target demographic.

The Reviews section is great for browsing through reviews of the latest vehicles, particularly useful to those who crave the latest in technology from your vehicle, and why wouldn’t you? With Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto, you can easily draw a clean line in the sand for good and bad infotainment experiences that leverage the data and connect your driving experience to your smartphone.


My hot tip is that you look further than the review section. Take a visit to the end of the navigation and click on ‘more’. Here’s where you’ll be able to narrow your search based on Lifestyle, Body Types and Popular Manufacturers if you want to stick with the cool crowd. A very select list of top models are also cherry picked for the title of ‘Motoring best cars’ which are also available from this menu.

When you refine your search to a particular vehicle, the review provides the detail up front. They understand that we’re visual creatures short on time, so the site also provides a video up front. Just a quick click away is a photo gallery which shows off the car in the real world, leaving behind the staged press shots in favour of what you can expect to see as an owner.

The final tab is specs and this delivers the details we’re often after in a vehicle search. As much as manufacturers try to obviscate these at times, numbers matter, especially when you’ve refined your search to the latest 2 or 3 choices. then follow up with a 100 point scale, broken down into 5 key categories—Engine, Drivetrain & Chassis, Safety and Technology (my favourite area), Behind the Wheel and finally, the all-important X-factor.

The sheer amount of detail available in the review page means you can start and stop your vehicle purchase research in a single place.

If you do get stuck, make sure you take a trip to the Comparison Nav link, it’ll get you in front of some of the most interesting A/B comparisons in Australia. One of my favourites is the answer to the question, should I buy a Focus RS, or a Mustang? They also compare a range of cars in the same category. So, if you’re on the fence about which hot hatch or family SUV to buy, then check out the comparison section for a great run down and ultimate pick of which is best.

Once you’re armed with the information from the team at, then you’ll be making an educated decision based on data, fact and education opinion, rather than making a mistake with an impulse buy.

This post was in collaboration with


Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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