There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re in the market for a new vehicle. What’s your budget? What sort of fuel efficiency do you need? Do you care that it has leather seats and heated seats? The answer to these questions will depend largely on your needs and wants. We’ll go over some of the most important topics, and hopefully make the car-buying process a little less confusing!
But let’s start buy assessing what kind of car you need. That largely has to do with what you are going to use it for. Here are some good questions to help you frame what kind of car you should purchase.
An often-overlooked variable when deciding what car to get is price. Make sure you decide on your budget before falling in love with a car. A sports car might be a little out of your budget, but could be the one for you if you can afford it.
If you’re traveling long distances for work or pleasure and do a lot of highway driving, you need a car with good acceleration. Moreover, if you’re willing to give up some fuel economy for better acceleration, think sports car. Performance cars like sports cars and coupes will obviously be faster than normal commuter cars. However, they also might not be the best option because they require premium gas and can be rather expensive to maintain.
On the other hand, if you have a family and want to use it for normal commuting, you might want a car with better fuel efficiency. How far is your work? If you’ll be driving rather than riding to work (which requires more frequent stops), then you might want an automatic transmission. If you have children, get an SUV or minivan! A minivan is cheaper than an SUV and, surprisingly, has more space. But an SUV lets you sit higher up and has a better drive feel.
Also, if you are going to use your car for work, you may need a pickup truck. Some people like the idea of a truck as a work machine and prefer the look of one over a sedan. But don’t fall in love with a truck if you don’t need it. If you are going to be doing light to medium duty work around the house or yard, think of an average sized car. You won’t need something that is going to haul heavy things around all day (unless you do a lot of building). An average sized car will get you through most situations without breaking down.
And now let’s talk about safety. Safety ratings are determined by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Administration) and IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). So be sure to check those out before you choose a car. Remember a bigger car is more massive and will likely be a winner if you have a collision. A 4 star rating of an SUV is better than a 5 star rating of a compact car.
What about maintenance of the car? Does it need a lot of maintenance and is that maintenance expensive? Here are some things you might want to consider. A good tool to use is edmunds total cost of ownership that compares the cost of owning a car over 5 years. On that page, there is a list of vehicles ordered from least to most expensive to own over 5 years.
And finally, let’s think about the future and the past. How much will you use the car and what is the resale value of the car? Is the car you want our of your price range? Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on a two year old car. Is there a model you like in good condition and with good mileage that is within you price range?
Now that you’re armed with all this information, go forth and search for a nice car! Good luck.