Choosing Make and Model
What car type is right for you?
Figure out what type of car meets your needs, and of course, still fits your budget. If you will be transporting children and packages on a regular basis, a mini-van might be the vehicle for you. Will you be driving through snow or on dirt roads? If so, consider an SUV with 4-wheel drive. If stop-and-go traffic is a part of your daily life, you'll want a car with an automatic transmission. Do you often have more than one passenger in your car? Then you probably want a 4-door car, not a 2-door. Those on a tighter budget should consider an economy car, which will have a lower price tag, cost less to insure and will consume less gas. Driving a hybrid will allow you to save gas and be kinder to the environment.
Do Your Research!
Compare Performance and Features
There are many factors to consider when choosing a car, including performance, reliability, safety, comfort, value and fuel economy. Take the time to research how the various makes and models compare to each other and how the experts rate them:
- Read automotive and consumer magazines
- Get sales literature from car dealerships
Check out product reviews and comparisons on the following websites:
- Consumer Reports
- Kelley Blue Book
- NADA Guides
- Take a test drive in the vehicles that interest you.
- Go to a rental car company and rent a car for a day.
- Attend an auto show to look at multiple vehicles for appearance, size, controls and features.
See how the various brands differ on price within the particular vehicle class you're interested in (e.g. SUVs, economy cars, mid-size sedans, etc.). In addition to the manufacturers' websites, you can compare prices at these sites:
Once you've decided on the make and model you want, select two or three dealerships for comparison shopping, based on location, reputation, and recommendations from friends or relatives. You can check a dealership's reputation by contacting your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have a favorable rating. Then see what the dealership offers you, both in terms of vehicle price, warranties, as well as services after the sale, such as:
- Express check in/out when coming in for a service or maintenance appointment
- Shuttle service to home or work
- Loaner cars
- Discounted service rates
- Extended service department hours
Next Step: Getting Financing