Now comes the fun part - shopping! You have completed all your pre-purchase work and now you are ready to shop. Start by looking at the following factors before heading out the door:

  • How many passengers will ride in your vehicle on a regular basis?
  • What daily commute do you have?
  • Do you need cargo space to haul things?
  • Will you be taking vacations with this vehicle?
  • Do you prefer a manual or automatic transmission?
  • Do you live or travel in geographical areas that would require four-wheel drive?
  • If you plan to park your vehicle in a garage, will it fit?
  • Do you require any special features to accommodate a short statue or disability?

These are just some ideas of things to consider. The main importance is for you to take a good look at your lifestyle and figure out what kind of vehicle fits best with that lifestyle.

Often times, the vehicles we drive are a reflection of the owner. Although your budget may allow you the freedom to choose what you "want", there are still things to take into consideration.

Small or Compact
Couples without children or single adults often drive small or compact vehicles. These vehicles come in either 2-door or 4-door models and usually provide the best gas mileage. However, one great disadvantage to driving a small or compact vehicle is that they do not provide a very high level of safety.

Mid-size and Full-size
This is the most popular style for people shopping for vehicles. In the United States, vehicles in this category that run on the smaller end of the scale are the Chevrolet Metro, Honda Civic, Ford Focus, and Hyundai Accent. Moving to the mid-size range, you will find the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Taurus, and Chevrolet Lumina. The larger models in this category are the Ford Crown Victoria and Buick LeSabre. New vehicles in this category range between $20,000 and $30,000, and the new luxury sedans run over $40,000.

Convertibles and Sports
Many of the convertible models are considered "sports cars" because they have two seats and high-performance engines.

Convertibles are fun to drive when the weather is nice but when it comes to safety; they rate poorly and provide minimal security due to their soft-tops. The sports car was originally designed for daily use and weekend racing. However, in the current market, the sports-sedan is more a four-door vehicle, designed to handle like a sports coupe. The price range for sports cars is vast, ranging anywhere from $20,000 to well over $60,000. Although a blast to drive, they are not practical cars for daily travel. If considering a sports car, make sure you add enough into your budget for insurance.

Station Wagons
Many people envision a tan rectangle with faux wood panels on the sides cruising down the road with six family members, a big dog, and luggage piled on top. However, in reality, Station Wagons have come a long way not only in appearance but performance and fuel economy. In recent years, the SUV and mini-van have replaced much of the Station Wagon use. Some of the advantages of owning a Station Wagon is that they are very stable vehicles, offer good gas mileage, and insurance rates are affordable. In addition, some manufacturers such as Subaru, Volkswagen, and Audi offer all-wheel or four-wheel drive versions.

Although a stigma has been attached to this style of vehicle as being a "mom taxi," mini-vans are a great option for families on the go. Some of the newer versions offer side passenger doors on both sides, allowing the loading and unloading of passengers and cargo much more convenient. Most mini-vans seat up to seven people and are considered as being one of the safest vehicles on the road. Because of a lack of power, especially when hauling heavy loads, the 4-cylinder model is not a good choice.

Although the initial design for SUVs was to be used for off-road purposes, 90% have never even left the road. Most people buy SUVs for their cargo space and four-wheel drive capabilities. These vehicles are also a great option for people living in rough terrain or locations with inclimate weather. SUVs are available in three sizes: Small or Mini, Mid-size, and Full-size.

Pickup Trucks
Out of all the new vehicles in the United States, trucks are the number one sellers. Not only are they sturdy and reliable but also the ones that have been manufactured in the past few years have four doors and can seat up to five people. The standard trucks with rear-wheel drive do not handle as well on snow or ice as the four-wheel drive models. The 8- to 10-cylinder trucks with towing options can easily tow trailers and boats. Even with these being a larger vehicle, gas mileage for a full size averages 15 miles per gallon.

These are a great choice if you need to transport cargo and or need something to seat from seven to 15 people. The full-size cargo vans can be manufactured with or without side windows and come equipped with payload capacities of over one ton.

Always keep in mind that you have no cancellation rights when buying a used or new vehicle. Once that contract is signed or the money exchanged and title signed over, you are the rightful owner of that vehicle.


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