The new car buying process can actually be a lot of fun – especially in the early days when you’re daydreaming about which car you’ll drive next.
Even if you can’t afford the car of your dreams, it’s fun to think about sitting behind the wheel of a shiny new vehicle. But when you get closer to decision-making time, the pressure begins to mount.
Now you have to reel in those fantasies and start thinking more sensibly. So, how do you decide which type of vehicle suits your lifestyle?
Follow these tips and you’re sure to make the right decision.
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Think about your passengers
Who will you be driving around most often? If you’ll have kids with car seats in tow, you’ll want to consider a larger sedan, crossover or SUV. You’ll need enough space for everyone, and a Fiat simply won’t do.
On the other hand, if you’re the only person in your car 99 percent of the time, you can drive something as small as a 2-seater sports car.
But remember that passengers are only one consideration. If you really want the best car for your lifestyle, you’ll need to consider a few more things.
Calculate your budget
How much do you want to spend on your vehicle? Is it important that you get a new car, or are you okay with something that’s a couple of years old?
The answers to these questions will help you determine whether you should be looking at luxury, moderate or economy vehicles.
If you’re going to put a lot of miles on this vehicle, two things become very important: Reliability and gas mileage. You may want to consider an electric vehicle or hybrid to save on gas costs.
If you barely ever drive your vehicle, these things don’t matter quite as much. At least, they don’t matter to your pocketbook. If you’re environmentally conscious, an electric car or hybrid may give you peace of mind.
Think about your hobbies
Even if you’re living the single life with no kids, you may need an SUV or crossover, depending on your hobbies. If you love to go camping, you may need something at least as big as the 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan to lug your gear around. And if you’re an avid off-roader, you’ll probably want something like a Jeep Wrangler to get you from point A to point B without hitting the pavement.
If your hobbies seem to indicate that you need some sort of specialized vehicle, go back and consider your budget again. Can you afford your perfect vehicle? If not, maybe consider opting for a used version instead.
Consider the weather
If you live in sunny southern California, you can drive any type of car you want, really. But if you’re in the mountains of Colorado, you’ll have to consider road conditions. You’ll need a vehicle with all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive to help you get up steep hills in wet or icy conditions. If you live in a place where it’s likely to snow or get icy, you may also want to consider vehicle safety features. When the road conditions get bad, you’re more likely to get into a car accident. This is when those extra safety features will really come in handy.
Think about features
What newer car features get you excited? Is it the lane departure warnings and assistive functions? How about adaptive cruise control? Or, maybe you’re really interested in upgrading to a vehicle that has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
You should get the features you’re after, so make a list, consider all the other factors, and see which cars match your wants and needs.
Many of us spend a lot of time in our vehicles, so it’s important to get the right fit. And this is especially true if you plan to keep your car around for five or more years. In that case, you must think not only about what your needs are now, but also what they may be in the future. If you’re planning on stating a family within that time, it’s always safer to opt for a larger vehicle.
Just don’t let yourself feel too pressured. If you consider all the factors outlined here, it’s difficult to make the wrong choice.