A Fresh Graduate’s Guide to Buying Their First Car

Published by on . Updated on 2 Jun 2020
Motorist Fresh Graduate Guide To First Car
So, you have left school and started on your first job. Public transport doesn’t seem to be a great choice when commuting to your office. You got your licence two years ago, and you think it’s about time to put it to use.

Let’s face it, you are not going to be able to afford a brand-new car when you just recently joined the workforce. But that doesn’t mean you can’t afford to get a car. The second-hand car market in Singapore is thriving, and you’ll always have the option to shop around and make a sensible choice . Before we start picking a set of wheels, let’s have a look at everything else you’ll need to consider when it comes to car ownership in Singapore.

Motorist Fresh Graduate Guide
(Photo Credit: Business Times)

1. Certificate of Entitlement (COE)

Every driver is familiar with it. That pesky piece of paper that allows you to buy and own a car for 10 years. You may think that only new car owners are concerned about a car’s COE, but you should be too.

When looking around the second-hand market, it’s important to look at the car’s registration date. That tells you how much time it has left on the road before it has to be renewed, scrapped or exported. For the sensible buyer, it’s key to strike a balance between the cost of the car and how much time it has left on the road.

If you don’t want to deal with the car’s COE anytime soon, it’s best to get a car registered in 2013 or earlier. That way, you will be able to drive the car for at least 4 more years before its COE expires.

2. The Car Itself

Before concerning yourself with the type of car to buy and the costs involved, you should consider the condition of the car and what it has been through. Pay attention to its service history and number of owners; that should give you a good sense of what kind of shape the car’s in.

It wouldn't hurt to ask for a car evaluation either, as it would give you a better idea of the road worthiness of the vehicle. If you are looking to get a pre-owned car evaluated, may we recommend VFIT by VICOM? Their evaluation report complies with the Standard and Functional Evaluation Checklist set by the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE). You may book an appointment with them here!

The mileage is important too. The further the car has travelled, the more care it requires to ensure it runs smoothly. It’s worth considering your needs as well. Do you need a big boot to carry supplies or a spacious cabin to ferry around passengers? Most importantly, remember to take the car of your choice for a test drive to see how it fares on the road.

6 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Your First Car

3. Upfront Costs

Blue Debit Mastercard Card (Photo Credit: Pexels)

If we look at cars that are registered in 2013, they would probably cost around S$40,000. Their depreciation would be around eight to nine thousand dollars a year. You also have to remember that a car depreciates yearly, and it won’t fetch more than a few thousand dollars at the end of its 10 year lifespan.

For used cars, the loan you take can’t be more than 70% of the cost. Also, it is up to you and your financial situation to consider how much of a loan you want to take and how long it would take for you to pay it back.

As a first-time driver, car insurance won’t come cheap. It depends on several conditions like your age, gender, occupation, coverage and so on. It’s sounds very complicated, but you will need insurance for your car (and yourself) for those unforeseen circumstances that might occur on the road.

If you are worried about the cost of car insurance, why not come to us? Here at Motorist.sg can assist you in finding the cheapest, most comprehensive car insurance in town from over 10 insurers!

I want to find the most affordable car insurance plan within 24 hours!

4. Day-to-Day Costs

Car Filling Station Fuel Pump 9796 (Photo Credit: Pexels)

Hey, no one ever said owning a car was cheap in Singapore. Depending on how much you drive, petrol can cost you quite a sum. Therefore, it might be smart to get a car with a small engine or even a hybrid system. However, your driving style does play a huge part in fuel consumption, so you may want to lighten your right foot!

Other costs include parking (we also have an article on Free Parking in Singapore ) and Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), which can cost a bomb, depending on where you live and work. On the other hand, the costs to service your car depend on the car model, condition of the car, and how often you drive it, as mileage is usually the indicator between service intervals.

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5. End of COE

Should you choose to drive the car until its COE expires, you will need to think about your options after its 10 years. If you want to keep your car, you can choose to renew the car’s COE for five or 10 years.

Do note, you should only do this if the car is still in good condition. Another thing is, if you choose to renew it for only another five years, you cannot renew it after that. You will need to scrap or export it. Renewing your COE will also cause you to lose your Preferential Additional Registration Fee (PARF) rebate, so do consider that too. To learn more about COE renewal, you might want to check out the following article.

Did you know that regardless of whether you want to renew your COE, scrap or export your car, we can help you with all these options? Simply fill up a form below for our friendly consultants to help you with the process, no obligations!

Schedule a free COE renewal consultation session!

6. Choice of Cars

We hope what we wrote hasn’t scared you away yet. If you’re still with us, you just might be ready to pick and choose your first car! Just remember to select a car that best suits your needs. A car is a long-term commitment and if you take good care of it, it should serve you well over the next few years.

Here are some of our recommendations from the second-hand car market based on the pointers above:

Volkswagen Jetta

Motorist Volkswagen Jetta (Photo Credit: Volkswagen)

Stylish, sturdy and comfy. That’s how we would describe the Volkswagen Jetta. It has a 1.4 litre turbocharged four cylinder engine with about 120 brake horsepowers (bhp). It is made by a German company, so it should be quite reliable. Good build quality is a big plus point, especially for second-hand cars.

Nissan Sylphy

Motorist Nissan Sylphy(Photo Credit: Torque)

Bigger and more spacious than the Jetta, the Sylphy boasts a 1.6 litre engine with 113bhp. Nissan also has a pretty good track record with reliability, and the car would be great as a family runabout with the amount of space in the back.

Hyundai Elantra

Hyunda Hyundai Elantra(Photo Credit: Torque)

Another comfortable and practical sedan, the Elantra boasts good looks and a 1.6 litre engine producing 128bhp. The car has a reputation for having low fuel consumption, so if petrol cost is a big concern for you (which it should be), this car would make a good daily runner.

Honda Insight Hybrid

Honda Insight Hybrid(Photo Credit: Honda)

With the earth in its current state, it makes more sense than ever to drive a Hybrid to save the earth and your wallet at the petrol stations, doesn’t it? The Insight is Honda’s answer to the Toyota Prius. The two cars do look familiar though, especially at the back.

The car has a 1.3 litre engine coupled with a battery to deliver some extra oomph or help save fuel at low speeds. However, it is not as spacious as some of the cars listed above.

Toyota Prius C Hybrid

Toyota Prius C Hybrid (Photo Credit: Toyota)

The smallest car of the lot, the Prius C Hybrid is the smaller hatchback equivalent of the Prius sedan. It has a 1.5 litre hybrid engine producing 101bhp, which should be enough to tackle Singapore’s highways with ease. Besides, who doesn’t want a car they can park easily?

Side note about hybrid cars, while they can help you save at the pumps, their battery packs can cause trouble down the road and need to be replaced. The exact cost of a new battery pack is hard to nail down, but it will cost a few thousand dollars. Do check with the dealer if the car has any kind of guarantee or warranty of the hybrid battery pack.

Alternatively, Motorist has just launched its Used Car Listing page! This bidding platform is the first of its kind as we connect you to direct sellers for all the convenience and affordability perks you won't find anywhere else. Browse for our recommendations there now!

Schedule a phone call or no-obligation test drive to find out more

We hope you found our guide useful. If you have any tips for fresh graduates who are looking to purchase their first car, share them with us in the comments below.

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Read more: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Renewing the COE of Your Car

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Timothy Chua
how do i know what's the best insurance for me?

over 4 years ago

thank you for the recommendations!

over 4 years ago