How to Find the New Car That's Right for You

Couple Buying New Car

Buying a new car has never been easier.

Not only do we live in an age of information where virtually every facet of a vehicle's characteristics can be easily researched from a variety of sources, today's automakers plenty of choices when it comes to the types of new cars offered. Below, we help you make an educated new car buying decision by outlining easy-to-follow steps to assist you in finding that perfect ride.

Ask your friends

Your family, friends and colleagues are invaluable resources when it comes to finding a great new car. Begin by asking questions about the vehicles they drive.  It's highly likely they've owned and driven a car over an adequate period of time to speak in an educated manner about its positive and negative attributes. Or they might be in the market for a new car themselves, having gathered their own information which can be helpful to you in your new car search. 
Additionally, be sure to read owner reviews, ratings and comments online at automotive websites, discussions forums and message boards.  Uncensored viewpoints, such as those found in social conversation, are invaluable in helping you find your perfect new car.  Through your one-on-one research, you may find the best sources of information are from people who own, or have owned, the vehicles that interest you most.

Once you've tapped into people's opinions about the cars they own, drive, like or dislike, develop a list of your top new car prospects and keep this list handy as you navigate through the new car research process. 

Consult the experts

In addition to the opinion of your family and friends, be sure to research information provided by automotive experts who test drive a variety of new car makes and models and who provide feedback about a car's unique characteristics, such as its overall drivability and build quality.  For example, you can find a wealth of expert information online, including test drives, reviews and new model previews which are all helpful in pinpointing your top new car prospects. 

What's more, many expert reviewers offer side-by-side analysis of comparable makes and models.  Use this information to cross-compare the vehicles on your list with ones that aren't.  You may find similar vehicles with the features you want at more affordable prices than those cars on your initial prospect list.

Check guarantees

Because repairs are a significant part of a vehicle's total ownership costs, it's important to research the warranty coverage offered on your top new car picks.  Not only are warranties important from a financial perspective, they demonstrate a car maker's willingness to stand behind the products it builds.  For many people, warranty coverage is a primary consideration when determining which new car to buy since many of today's makes and models come with varied types of coverage, including perks such as roadside assistance or rental car reimbursement, for example.

Get personal

Once you've narrowed down your choices, it's time to pay attention to the features that mean the most to you. 

If price is important, stick with your budget and don't forget to factor in ancillary costs for things such as gas, insurance and repairs.

If equipment is important, select vehicles outfitted with a broader list of standard equipment to avoid the need for purchasing and installing aftermarket accessories, after the fact.

When it comes to specific features, do your homework ahead of time.  If safety is a priority, research safety ratings and reviews to determine how your top prospects fared in collision tests.  If fuel economy is important, compare EPA estimates.  If functionality is key, read expert reviews to determine how your top prospects performed in test drives.

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