10 Steps to Finding the Right Car for You
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Car Buying Articles

10 Steps to Finding the Right Car for You

Step 1. Assess Your Needs


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Finding the Right Car

How do you find the car that will exactly suit your needs for years to come? It just takes a little research and planning. The following steps will help you select, price, locate and test-drive the vehicle that is best for you. Then you can decide whether you want to buy a new car, lease a new car or buy a used car. The steps here also are covered in this short video.

As much as you might like to dream about what you want in a car, it's best to think more practically about your needs — not just at present, but in the future, too. Functionality should trump flash. Here are some practical considerations to keep in mind:

  • How many passengers do you need to carry?
  • What type of driving do you do: highway, surface streets, off-road?
  • Will you drive in ice and snow?
  • Do you have a long commute and, because of that, is fuel economy important to you?
  • Do you need all-wheel drive?
  • What safety features are important to you?
  • Do you need a lot of cargo capacity?
  • Will you be using children's car seats?
  • Will you be doing any towing?
  • How much garage or parking space do you have?

Next: Set Your Budget


To find a dealership that knows how to treat shoppers right, please visit Edmunds.com's Dealer Ratings and Reviews.

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Comments

  • rushujarvan rushujarvan Posts:

    thanks for the help, very interesting points and you're right sometimes gets carried away. el libro de sueños

  • holloma holloma Posts:

    Here is an idea that might save the American auto industry: how about ask people what they need AND want?

  • i have owned 2 nissan maximas. i qwned a 2005, 2010, & a 2011. i only have 10,654 miles on it. its been garage kept. i paid $36,765.98 for thiws car. i got on line qand it told me the car on trade in is only worth $20,182. a private party its worth $21,902. and dealer retail is $23,366. i think this is bull [non-permissible content removed]. car dealers and insurance compaines are nothing but legal crooks. i have my maxima in the paper and i am asking $25,500.00. i have a brand new set of tires and wheels. my car has been garage kept. i know for a fact when i traded my 2010 maxima in for a 2011 i got ripped off. i came back to the lot a week later and they put a price tag on it, and was asking $29,999.99 for it. so my advice to anyone is to get a aprasile first. bgecaus these dealers will rip you off everytime. there is not a honest car salesman, no wheres. they have 1 thing on their mind, and that is money and screw you. so be careful when you go to buy and trade. and they will tell you the biggest lie there is.

  • mjamison mjamison Posts:

    I know what I want - I just can't find it. An inexpensive small wagon, like the Ford Focus Wagon d/c'd in '07, with: roof rack, heated cloth seats, cruise control, MP3 CD + audio input, tons of space in the cargo section, and 29-30 MPG average. I don't care about most of what they're offering, it's like they're living in Beach Boys land when people cared about their muscle cars and cruised Dead Man's Curve looking for drag races. I don't want a sedan. I could care less what the engine looks like. I don't care about back-seat passenger comfort; for the 3-4 times a year I have people in the back seat, it's not worth paying for. But *having* a back seat is convenient (dog again). I've decided to sink $1,500 into my Focus wagon, even though it has 106,000 miles on it. It has everything I want, and it fits in my garage.

  • sigsky sigsky Posts:

    "On Edmunds, you can pick a specific car and bring up a list of similar cars in the same class. If you already have a car you are considering, this will be your starting point." This sounds like a good idea but I can't figure out how to do it. I can choose my car and set up comparison but I still have to choose what to compare it to. How do I see what similar cars I may have overlooked?

  • I have a concern. I am one of your above average drivers. I drive 36000 miles or more a year. So needless to say I'm looking for a reliable vehicle that's pretty decent on fuel economy (I'm compensated for my travels). Also, I'm looking for an AWD vehicle that will do well in the snow and the potholes that we have afterwards and that is comfortable to drive in. Also, that holds it's value. I know a lot of people say don't get new, get used but due to my above average driving I don't think used is the best route to go. The car I have in mind is the 2015 Subaru Outback (preferrably) 3.6r limited because of it's quiet engine and the power that it delivers. I will still consider the 2.5 Limited edition because of it's fuel economy but the engine was a little noisy for my taste. I also like the Out back because of it's overall size and the technology it has in it, amongst the other things I listed that I need. I wanted to know is it better to buy new or used and if the Outback will stand the test of time and the grueling journeys that I'm going to put it through. Thanks

  • Please do not dump on the car sales people. They are only trying to make a living. Did you know that they ONLY get paid on what they sell? So IF they work 8 hours and sell nothing they get ZERO $ for that day. Do YOU work for 8 hours and are OK with getting ZERO $ for the day???! It is a TOUGH business and some people DON'T have a choice but to TAKE that job. BUT at LEAST they are WORKING!!! By the way something to think about... a loaf of bread cost LESS than a dollar to make and WE pay OVER $2.00 for THAT same loaf! Also a pizza cost 10X LESS than what WE pay at the Pizza place. SO WHY is that OK???! PLEASE stop the car salesperson bashing... let's try to think of what THEY also go through. THEY ARE PEOPLE TOO! Have a wonderful day and happy and safe driving!

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