With several new models being showcased every year, choosing the right car for you can sometimes prove challenging. After a home, a car is one of the biggest investments you will ever make in your lifetime. Therefore, buying one that suits your lifestyle is important. One way to find your dream ride is to plan, research local dealerships, and narrow down the options. You also need to consider your budget and ensure you are going for a car that will not hurt your wallet. Once you determine the kind of car you need, you can decide to shop for a used, new, or leased car. Here are some vital tips to help you select a car that is right for you.
- Understand your budget and financing
Budgeting is a key factor in the car buying process. Therefore, you should know the amount you are willing to spend on the upfront cost, fuel, and maintenance. Unless you have enough cash to pay outright for a car, you most likely have to also think about how to finance the purchase or lease. Determine how much you can afford to contribute each month toward the payment. The rule of thumb is that the monthly payment mustn’t exceed 15% of your take-home pay. Used cars may be less expensive, but the same rule stands. If you aim to lease, then strive for a monthly payment that won’t exceed 10% of your monthly earnings. You may want to account for other expenses like insurance costs. Defining your budget in advance will help you negotiate your next car smartly. You can use a car affordability calculator to filter vehicles by their price range and find those that fall within your monthly payment budget.
- Consider the type and size
Size is another key thing to consider when searching for a new car. To save money. You may want to choose a smaller car. Apart from high-end sports cars, smaller vehicles usually cost less than larger ones. The former models also consume less fuel, which can benefit your savings over the long haul. Many small cars come with surprisingly roomy interiors. Therefore, visit a dealership to check them out before you wrongly assume a small car feels too cramped. Depending on your family size, you can find a vehicle that suits your needs. A spacious sedan or SUV may be perfect for those with families, while a compact car may be a great fit for single urban dwellers.
A hatchback is a cool option for those requiring cargo space and manoeuvrability. A coupe, too, is popular among people who prioritize performance and driving experience. On the other hand, luxury seekers who require high-performance engines may want to invest in sports cars to enjoy the high acceleration and driving experience. Finally, you may consider opting for an EV if you prioritize sustainability and fuel efficiency. Pickup trucks are equally smart choices for buyers who need to haul heavy equipment or large items.
- Look at the features
Once you know the type of car you prefer, the next factors to consider are the features that matter to you. Airbags, anti-lock braking systems, and traction control can improve your safety on the road. On the other hand, if you love entertainment, you may also want to prioritise systems that can make every trip fun. Bluetooth connectivity, touchscreen display, and smartphone integration can enhance your driving experience. Those who want to save money will want to choose vehicles with good fuel efficiency. Likewise, comfort features such as heated seats, climate control, and a sunroof can transform your driving experience.
- Prioritise a ride that suits your lifestyle
When examining your lifestyle requirements, make sure you picture how you are going to use the vehicle. For instance, if you plan to drive the car to work, fuel efficiency and comfort may be crucial. Similarly, those who intend to use their cars for regular family trips and transporting cargo may want to embrace space and storage. In addition to that, you must factor in the number of passengers you are likely to accommodate and the terrain you may be driving on. For instance, buyers in regions with harsh winters may require all-wheel drive to overcome the snowy roads. In addition to this, it’s also a good idea to make your automobile an extension of you. One way to ensure your car defines your personality is to customise it after purchase. If this sounds like a great idea, you may want to invest in private plates for sale to make your car stand out.
- Test drive
Car dealerships have a popular saying that goes like this, “the feel of the wheel seals the deal.” This means that your test-driving experience can determine whether you pay for the ride or not. While this statement has a lot of truth to it, many buyers hesitate to do this. Here is a simple way to arrange for a test drive: schedule a morning, like on a weekday, and call a dealership’s sales department. You can tell the manager that you want to book a test drive but may not buy on the spot because you are still weighing different models. They may allow you to hit the road with your dream car to see if it’s really the ideal choice.
- Choose between new and old
Investing in brand-new wheels has its advantages. When you dole out the extra cash, you will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with driving a car that has no previous performance issues. Plus, you may get additional coverage under a manufacturer’s warranty. Purchasing a used car, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily mean you are settling for the second-best model. By delving into the car history reports, mechanic’s inspection, and certified pre-owned vehicles, you can still find an old car that is in top-tier shape. One benefit of buying a used car over is that you can avoid the great depreciation that new car owners experience as soon as they hit the road. While they may require more maintenance, old cars are generally more affordable than their new counterparts.
- Select the right brand
Every car brand has its unique quality and reputation. Depending on your preference for reliability, resale value, and popularity, you may prioritize some manufacturers over others. Examples of popular brands to consider are BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Hyundai, and Kia. BMW makes well-respected sports cars, SUVs, and sedans. In 2021, the reputable manufacturer received the J.D. Power Award for its quality and dependability. Honda has a long history of producing reliable vehicles with great resale value – the Accord and CR-V are a few examples. Mercedes-Benz, too, is one of the world’s oldest car makers renowned for manufacturing SUVs, sports cars, and sedans. The brand plans to go all-electric by 2030. Per J.D Power, Toyota is one of the top car brands with the fewest reports of problems after three years of ownership. The manufacturer is well-known for its durability. Tesla specialises in making luxury electric vehicles that can travel over 300 miles per single charge. You may want to consider the above brands if you think their cars match your budget and needs.
- Maintenance and service
When hunting for your ideal car, you should consider maintenance and service demands for the long term, which is crucial for protecting the value of your investment and keeping your car running smoothly. As a tip, prioritise cars with great reputations for reliability and affordability with regard to maintenance and repairs. Ensure your preferred brand has accessible service centres and a network of experienced and certified technicians who can keep your ride in good shape. Mechanics that receive extensive training from various manufacturers will ensure your car receives the best care.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2018. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.