6 tips to finding the best car for you

August 23, 2019 10:50 pm | Peter Warren

A vehicle purchase is likely to be the biggest financial transaction you make in a given year, and it's one you'll probably be paying off for a few more to come. With that in mind, it only makes sense that you should strive to do as much homework as possible to find the right vehicle for you.

There are many details to take into consideration when trying to determine what kind of car, ute, SUV or van makes sense for your unique needs, so the following tips should help you keep your search organized:

1) Think about what you want

Everyone has their own preferences for what they want to drive. Some people may love an SUV so they have plenty of room for everything in their lives, while others like a small hatchback that helps them save on fuel. But beyond the size and shape of the vehicle, you would be wise to think about the kinds of features you're looking for.

You might also want your vehicle to have leather seats, media players in the back seat and so on that don't come standard with your preferred vehicle, and would therefore add to the price tag.

2) Then think about what you need

Of course, there may be a difference between your desires and what you actually need from the vehicle. For instance, perhaps it would be a good idea for you to invest in racks for bikes or kayaks if you're the outdoorsy type, or higher-end safety features if you have kids. These might also be features that raise the cost and leave you to choose between the more important options and those that would simply be nice to have.

In general, you should think about both what you want and need, make a full list. After that, you can note the ones you can live without, and those that are absolute must-haves.

3) Consider your location

Another issue to think about when you're considering the make and model you want is utility. Suppose you have an apartment on a busy street and your building doesn't have a driveway or parking lot, and you instead have to park on the street. In that case, a big, boxy SUV might not be ideal for you because it would likely be more difficult to maneuver and find a spot for.

Conversely, if you live farther out from the city and the terrain can get a little hilly or unpredictable, a whippy coupe might not be the most reliable everyday vehicle.

4) Crunch the numbers

Of course, much of your vehicle purchasing decision will come from what you can actually afford, and there are a number of factors that go into this issue. For one thing, you may need to build up a sizable down payment, because even if you have the opportunity to put 0 per cent down, you'll end up paying more over the life of your loan because of the interest rate.

The long-term costs of buying a new or preowned vehicle will depend heavily on the kind of financing deal you can get based on your credit score. For that reason, it's important to make sure your credit is as strong as possible before you shop.

You may not know exactly what interest rate you'll get, but you can do the math to determine your monthly payments based on what you put down, how long the loan will last, and a range of potential interest rates.

You will also have to factor in issues like taxes, insurance rates and servicing and maintenance requirements into the real cost of ownership, to determine what's actually going to be affordable for you in the long term.

5) Compare your options

Once you have a good idea of the features you're looking for, the general type of vehicle that meets all those needs, and what you can afford, you should compare a number of different makes and models that fit the bill. Vehicle comparison sites are plentiful and will help you weigh the pluses and minuses of each as they apply to exactly what you may be looking for.

Make some notes and whittle down the list of vehicles you're most interested in to just a handful, and you'll be ready to visit a trusted dealer.

6) Make sure you test drive at least a few vehicles

Once you get to the dealerships that have the makes and models you're looking for, you should take them all for a spin. Put each vehicle through the paces and see how they responds to your normal driving habits, on city streets, the highway and so on. Even if you think you find one that's perfect right away, trying out a few others might help you find an even better option, or at least give you more information about what you should be looking for.

At Peter Warren Automotive, we have a wide range of vehicles that can suit any need or want. All you have to do is stop in or contact us today to learn more.