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Car Buying Tips for Uni Students

Need help choosing the perfect car to get you from A to B? Come out on top with these buying tips.

Posted on: October 05, 2016

Need help choosing the perfect car to get you from A to B? Come out on top with these buying tips.

The tradition as old as time is that of sending your child off to university in their very own car packed chock-a-block full of all their worldly belongings. The only problem with this euphoric dream, is that said child must first have a car to drive off into the distance in. In amidst the stacks of textbooks, suitcases of clothes and a handmade quilt from your grandmother thrown in for good measure, you may find university life will only truly be complete with your very own car (whether it has working air conditioning or not is another matter).

The freedom associated with owning your car means that you no longer need to be chauffeured around by your trusty parent, taxi or Uber driver – congratulations, you’ve finally made it!

Now, as a parent the number one concern is safety. So sit back, relax, and let us provide you with a handy check list to find the best car on a university student budget.


In a perfect world, a parent would be able to afford to buy their newly licence-holding child a brand new, 5 star ANCAP safety rated car, but alas it is not and this luxury is not available for every budget.

But safety should always be paramount. Not only do high-tech cars have higher safety ratings, it also pays when the insurance premiums come around. The higher the safety rating of the car, the lower the insurance premium, which is ideal considering the cost of insuring an under-25 is already astronomical. Either way, always be sure to research a car before buying it by checking its ANCAP safety rating and if there have been any recalls on the model. It will definitely save you in the long run and could be a godsend if disaster strikes.

Vehicle size

Whether it be you, or your parents who are purchasing the car, you must always be wary of the size of a vehicle.

A popular misconception nowadays is that the bigger the car, the safer it is in a crash. But the small car has started to rapidly catch up and safety ratings are now on par. Not only will a small car save you in the long run as they are less costly to purchase, but also it is cheaper at the fuel pump and much easier to squeeze into those notoriously tiny university car spaces.

Another perk of the new deceivingly small car is its spaciousness inside. Road trips on the weekend here you come!

Loan options

Cost is an obvious downer and can be a final determination on what car you end up buying, but never fear, the car loan is here!

There are so many options out there for first time car owners, so always do a car loan comparison if the situation presents itself. And remember your new car doesn't have to end at a dodgy third hand ’91 Hyundai Excel that is more than past its used-by-date. A car loan is easy to manage, if you are a responsible budgeter and is more than possible on a university student budget.

Second hand vs brand new

The age old dilemma of second hand or brand new plagues many first-time car owners, but for a university student the obsession with shiny and new isn’t all that significant. Wandering through campus car parks makes it clear that the varying models, ages and number of dints in a car allow for a non-discriminatory environment.

Just beware of the re-sell value, as the end goal is to upgrade once you’re in that full-time job and would most likely prefer a return on a vehicle that served you so well during those trying university years.

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