Welcome to How to Car by Motors.co.uk, the new video series designed to help guide you through your next car purchase. We’ve teamed up with comedian, writer and presenter Ellie Taylor to create a series of episodes jam-packed with tips, hints and tricks to help make sure you get the keys to a car that’s right for you and turn your car buying experience from daunting into d’awesome.

We’re also kick-starting a handy range of videos to illustrate the whole car buying process, which you’ll be able to watch as part of this feature. Today, we’re starting the journey by setting a budget and understanding what matters to you most in your next car.

Step 1: Pick a budget

At the very core of the car buying process is the budget you have available. After all, there’s no point in investing time and effort in looking for a set of cars in a certain price bracket only to realise later that you’re short on what you can afford. So think about your finances closely.

And don’t just consider the outright cost of the car – or the monthly repayments, if you’re looking to finance – think about the wider cost implications too. How far do you drive each month, and how much do you usually spend on fuel?

It’s worth factoring in any extra costs that could crop up, such as gap insurance and additional protection plans, too.

How much are you prepared to pay for tax, servicing and insurance? Bundle all of these costs into an overall figure and you’ll find things much easier. There’s less chance for surprises further down the road, too.

Step 2: What are your needs?

The motoring world is rich and varied, with a type of vehicle designed to suit nearly every capacity. So think about what you actually need a car for. Do you have children? If so, you might need a car which is slightly larger than average or features the very best in safety equipment.

Do you want something a little more exciting? A convertible could be a great choice or a higher-powered sports car perhaps. If transporting several people around is what you’re doing regularly, then a seven-seater or MPV might be the best choice.

Maybe you’re into sports? Then boot space is likely to be a priority, as is the need to be able to fit roof racks quickly and easily.

Zero in on what your needs are and it’ll make picking from one of the thousands of cars available far easier and a lot less overwhelming. But Motors.co.uk gives you options, too. You’ve got the ability to do a general search of the entire range of cars via Motors.co.uk’s standard search here.

There’s also the ability to search by bodystyle which again narrows down your search to a car style which is right for you.

Finally, there’s Smart Search, which gives you a multitude of different options, but takes the legwork out of looking for a new car. You can even specify how much you want to pay for insurance and fuel, for instance.

Step 3: Any extras?

So we’ve covered the basics of budget and needs, but are there any extras you’d like to find on your next car? Perhaps parking sensors are a must-have on your next motor, or even an upgraded stereo?

In-car technology has seriously ramped up in recent years, with reversing cameras and heads-up display now a common sight on many models. Do you think these could be options worth having on your next car?

If you draw up a list of key options that you’d like to find on your next car then it’ll be easier when it comes to the area of making a final decision.

Step 4: The killer questions

Think we’d give you all of these parameters without any way of implementing them? Of course not. Thankfully, Motors.co.uk has devised Smart Search. It’s a nifty tool which allows you to quickly and easily search for your ideal next car using a variety of different options.

What’s your budget?

So let’s go through what we’ve looked at. Budget? Simply set the amount you’re willing to spend and that’s one part the process set.

What are your lifestyle needs?

Then there’s the question of the type of car you need. Smart Search has that covered too, with a multitude of different body styles there to pick from. Fancy tackling off-road routes or need extra space for a pushchair? Choose the one you want – and you’re off.

What luxuries do you need?

Fancy heated seats to take the sting out of a cold winter’s day? You can put that into Smart Search and it’ll automatically find cars with heated seats meeting your pre-determined needs. Clever, hey?

How far do you need to drive?

If you’re after a car which will never break a sweat over longer journeys, or need a vehicle which is better suited at shorter trips around town, then Motors.co.uk has you covered. A fuel tank range calculator is included as part of Smart Search, allowing you to check that any car you look at has the right range for you.

Does it come in black?

If black is your colour, then Smart Search has you covered. You can pick from a variety of different exterior colours and find the shade that feels right to you. Then, only cars in your desired colour will be brought together into a list of considerations.

What are the monthly costs?

Motors.co.uk even has finance and fuel calculators so you can be fully aware of the total cost of ownership before you decide to take the plunge. Plus, if you’ve got a set figure for insurance payments in mind, you can enter that in the calculator and it’ll automatically bring up the best options.

In the next step of the journey, we’ll be looking at how budgeting is sexy. We’ll be taking a closer look at all of car buying options available today, be that cash or personal loans and everything in between. Stay tuned.