If it's time to buy a new vehicle, you may wonder what type you should purchase. Do you need an SUV? What do sedans or wagons have to offer? Perhaps a coupe would be the best choice? Maybe you want to save on fuel costs and are considering buying a hybrid or a small import vehicle. Maybe you have already settled on a brand or even a model, but don't know what options you should choose.
Here are a few handy tips to make the process a bit simpler:
- Buy a car that you want, but balance it with your needs. For instance, simply because a car looks fast and flashy doesn't mean that your family of five will ride in it comfortably. Define your needs and then find a vehicle that appeals to you that meets those needs.
- Do you want to buy or lease a vehicle? This decision will change your options greatly. Both methods have pros and cons, as well.
- Determine your budget. Your budget will be the single largest determining factor in choosing a car to purchase. Remember, your car payments should not exceed more than 20% of your monthly net income.
Other questions must be answered, as well. For instance, if a car is only available with a manual transmission, can you drive one? Do you need an automatic transmission? How much will a model with an automatic transmission cost you above the baseline price?
If you want an environmentally friendly car, should you choose a hybrid or a small 4-cylinder? Hybrids have a higher sticker price, with the potential to save on your average fuel bill. However, small 4-cylinder vehicles can save you almost as much in fuel costs, without the added price tag.
If you have a lot of people to move (that family of five?), an SUV might seem like the right choice. However, wagons or sedans offer almost the same seating and cargo space and provide better fuel consumption and better ride comfort.
If you choose a vehicle based on your needs, you will find that you are much happier with your purchase. If you do not, you can quickly find yourself with a less-than ideal purchase, with which you are stuck for the next several years until you are no longer upside down in terms of vehicle value and can make a trade in.