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What do I need to know when buying a new car?

Asked by Danai

I found a 2020 Mini 5D Hatch Cooper F55 Update for sale. What does “F55 Update” mean? And “New available to order”? Are there any other costs I should be aware of when buying a new car?

Answered by CarsGuide

17 Feb 2021 David Morley

The R55 Mini five-door hatch was given a facelift in July 2020, so `F55 Update’ should indicate the fact that the car in question is a post-update model. The facelift wasn’t a huge one and didn’t affect the basic vehicle, but depending on what version of the car was involved, there were a few minor changes to help keep the car current and competitive with its peers. ‘New available to order,’ meanwhile, suggests that a car is a brand-new one and not a second-hand car or – and it’s quite common – a demonstrator model.

As far as extra costs go when buying a new car, it’s all a bit of a minefield. Dealers love charging delivery fees (often simply a wash and vacuum) and you should make sure that any extras – like floor mats or slimline number-plates – are either requested specifically by you or are thrown in by the dealer to sweeten the deal. And don’t be sucked into the other extras like paint protection, upholstery protection and rust-proofing. If a car maker can’t sell you a car in 2021 that won’t fade, rot or rust, then they don’t deserve your money.

Then there are the inevitable government charges. These vary from state to state but can include stamp duty, registration and more. Make sure the dealer spells out all these extras and budget for them. The best advice is to insist that the car dealer is absolutely upfront with the final figure you’ll be asked to hand over before driving off in the car. Regardless of what 'discounts’ and deals the dealer offers, the only number you need to worry about is the drive-away, no more to pay figure.

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