Choosing a new car involves several steps. Planning ahead will help you make the right choice for you. If you’re looking to buy a new car (or a new car for yourself), there are many factors to consider before heading to the parking lot. By being prepared ahead of time, you can avoid making purchases that you will regret later.
New cars vs. used cars
When budgeting, take the time to decide whether a new or used car is the best investment. New cars can be ordered to your exact specifications, never been in an accident, under warranty and shouldn’t require too much maintenance or repairs in the first few years. The price tag may be higher.
Used cars are usually priced lower than new cars, avoid rapid depreciation after purchase and usually include lower costs such as insurance and registration. You can get more “bells and whistles” for your money. Kelley Blue Book suggests that buyers carefully calculate what they can afford before starting to browse new cars.
But be prepared for costs that go beyond the sticker price. When you buy new, the parts or accessories you want most are not included in the base invoice price of the car. Other things to consider: Newer cars can lead to higher rates on your existing policy. Increase or decrease your new car fuel budget. The value of the car you want to sell. The terms of the loan, such as the length and interest rate, determine your monthly payments
Find a car that meets your priorities
Once you’ve set a budget, it’s time to think about what type of vehicle you’d like. The following are some of the most common things buyers look for:
- Fuel efficiency: Smaller vehicles or cars with alternative fuel sources are ideal for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint or pay less at the pump. Also, you might be eligible for additional discounts for purchasing a green vehicle.
- Passenger capacity: That convertible might look great now, but there’s no room for a car seat in the back should you need one in the future.
- Safety ratings: Pay attention to crash test results, rollover resistance, recalls for similar models, potential blind spots and level of rear-impact protection.
- Performance: Rapid acceleration, super-responsive steering, and a turbocharged engine are often attractive to buyers who value performance.
- Climate-specific features: Cold-weather packages can be attractive for those in colder climates.
- The overall style and appearance: The look, design, and even color of the car might be important to you.
Financing your purchase
Unless you’re paying cash, you’ll need car financing (also known as an auto loan). Compare several car finance options, from both banks and dealerships, to get the best terms. Read more about choosing the best car loan for you.