Are you looking to buy a car?
There are lots of options to choose from, but which car best suits your needs? It’s a good idea to consider these four factors.
Your budget is obviously a key factor when it comes to buying a new car. If you only have a limited budget, you can choose to increase it by taking out a car loan.
Even if you do have enough money to buy a new car, you may still want to consider this option so that you can use your savings for something else.
The amount of interest you have to pay will depend somewhat on the type of car you choose, as cheaper loans are available to encourage the sale of new, more energy-efficient cars which pollute less.
- Assembled to your specifications
- Fewer maintenance costs
- More environmentally friendly
- More expensive to buy*
- Higher insurance costs*
- Is worth 40% less after two years*
*Compared to the same model when bought second-hand
Three tips when buying a new car
- Take your time to compare and take a test drive. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into making a quick (and potentially ill-considered) decision.
- Make comparisons based on the net price (after taking into account discounts and premiums) and not based on the list and option prices.
- Negotiate the price and/or additional options. Get multiple offers from different dealers and play them off against each other.
- Cheaper to buy
- Lower insurance costs (because only third-party liability or semi-comprehensive insurance is required)
- Fast delivery
- Can only choose from what’s available
- Potential hidden defects
- More maintenance costs
Buying a second-hand car? Check the Car-Pass.
If you’re looking to buy a used car, check the Car-Pass so that you can make sure that the odometer hasn’t been tampered with. This document shows the correct mileage for the car based on data from garage owners, body shops, tyre centres and vehicle inspections.
If someone is selling you a used car, whether privately or professionally, they are legally obliged to give you a Car-Pass. What’s more, this document may not be more than two months old.
Go to car-pass.be to check that the vehicle's Car-Pass is legitimate.
Apart from the type of car you want to buy, the amount of money you want to spend on it and whether you go for a second-hand or new car, there is another important factor to consider nowadays: the type of engine. Will you go for a car that runs on fossil fuel, or would you rather invest in an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle? We’ve laid out the key differences below.
All regions are planning to ban or progressively limit combustion engines. In Brussels, diesel engines should disappear in 2030 and petrol engines in 2035. In Flanders, all combustion engines should be banned from 2029. Wallonia is working on a gradual restriction from 2028. However, these deadlines could be postponed if the number of charging stations does not increase accordingly. Locate charging points near you or along your route.
How does it work?
Want to drive virtually 100% environmentally friendly? If so, an electric car is an obvious choice. The principle is straightforward: a battery, one or two electric motors and a drive system. Vehicles like this don’t have gears or a gearbox.
1. It emits no CO2, drives silently, consumes less and is cheaper to service because there are no engine maintenance costs.
2. In Flanders, you don't pay any road tax to drive your car. In Brussels and Wallonia, you pay tax at the minimum rate.
3. Because you don't have a gear box, you use your motor's full power when pulling away and have smooth acceleration.
1. Electric cars are still quite a bit more expensive than other models in the same class. That's because of the cost of the battery.
2. The faster you drive, the greater the demand that is placed on the battery and the lower the distance you can cover.
3. The number of charging points in Belgium is still limited, though the government is hard at work extending the network. If you regularly drive long distances, you have to know ahead of time where you can pull over to charge your car’s battery.
How does it work?
A plug-in hybrid combines a diesel or petrol engine with an electric motor. You charge your plug-in hybrid from a wall socket and can drive several kilometres powered by the battery, so it’s ideal for covering short distances cheaply.
- A plug-in hybrid uses a diesel or petrol engine plus an electric motor. You can charge the battery at home or at work using a regular socket.
- The combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor means that – depending on your model – your range is as far as with a petrol or diesel engine vehicle.
- If you often drive around town or mainly make short journeys, a plug-in hybrid is certainly worth considering. For short distances and in built-up areas, you only use your stored electricity.
- Even plug-in hybrids are expensive to buy.
- The large battery takes up a lot of space and makes the vehicle heavier.
- The range when using electric power only is still fairly limited.
- Maximum speed while driving electric is low: usually no more than 50 km/h.
- It's obviously not as good for the environment as a 100% electric vehicle.
PETROL, DIESEL or GAS
A diesel car is slightly more expensive to purchase and maintain than a petrol version, but until recently this additional cost was more than compensated for by the lower price of diesel at the pump.
For the time being, diesel cars are still slightly more fuel-efficient and sustainable than petrol cars, but as petrol engine technology advances, that gap is narrowing as well. A diesel engine is therefore most cost-effective if you often drive long distances on the motorway (at least 30 000 km per year, according to VAB). You should know, however, that an increasing number of cities are introducing low-emission zones in their city centres, which means that outdated diesel cars are no longer allowed to enter.
You could also save on your fuel costs by equipping your petrol car with an extra gas tank. Filling up with gas is much cheaper and more environmentally friendly than with petrol or diesel, but the installation costs of an LPG or CNG tank are quite high.
Besides maintenance costs and insurance, you also have to pay taxes when driving a car in Belgium. The amount you pay depends on the type of car you drive and the region you live in.
There are two forms of road tax in Belgium:
1. Vehicle registration tax: to be paid once when registering your vehicle
2. Annual road tax: is the same across the whole of Belgium and is calculated on the basis of engine power (taxable horsepower). Vehicle registration tax, on the other hand, differs from region to region.
Low Emission Zone (LEZ)
The Brussels Region has also decreed a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) throughout Brussels, which prohibits the most polluting vehicles from entering the city. More information on the LEZ here.