Browsing car ads, researching vehicles online, and taking test drives are integral parts of the car shopping process -- and can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time!
Luxury car? Compact? Hybrid? Sedan? Nowadays, there are so many choices on the market that it’s easy to get flustered. Follow this advice though, and confidently choose a car that’s right for you.
1. Think About Your Lifestyle Needs First, Then Your Wants. First things first. Decide which vehicle body type you want to buy; sedan, minivan, compact car, convertible, coupe, etc. This will help you narrow down your choices from the many hundreds of cars on dealership lots.
If, for instance, you need a car to haul three kids, your need for a five-seat vehicle will trump your desire for a sports car. The more characteristics you can shortlist, the easier it will be to weed out the cars that don’t fit your needs.
Start with at least one characteristic that’s absolutely essential, i.e., “I definitely want to buy a utility vehicle” or “I definitely want to buy a Ford.” Then move on from there to zero in on features that are important to have in your next new car.
2. Know Which Features You Need If you’re like most car buyers, you probably want a car that’s loaded with all the bells and whistles. Unless you’ve got a limitless budget though, it doesn’t make sense to waste money on features you don’t really need or won’t use.
Consider the host of features vehicles have these days:
- Body Style: Small or large? Five, four, or two doors? Coupe, sedan, hatchback, utility vehicle, or truck? Think about what you need the vehicle for (hauling gear, transporting family, or just commuting to work) and where you’ll drive it (around a city, in the suburbs, off-road, etc.) to help narrow down your choice.
- Performance Features: Engine, horsepower, torque, AWD, sport suspension mode, fuel economy, etc. Think about what you want out of a car; speed, performance, towing power, or savings at the pump.
- Technology Features: Infotainment features such as WiFi, Bluetooth, and iPod connectivity; navigation; and rear-seat entertainment systems. Modern cars are loaded with fun and helpful extras. Think about which ones you might use every day.
- Safety Features: Rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, emergency assist, electronic stability control. Think about how important safety and visibility is for you as a driver.
- Convenience/Luxury Features: Panoramic sunroof, power seats with lumbar support, dual climate control, heated and ventilated seats, hands-free liftgate, leather vs. cloth interior. If you’re like most drivers, you’re going to spend a lot of time in your new car, so you should be comfortable (as budget allows).
Let’s say you’re a parent of 3, living in the suburbs, with a half hour daily commute to work. Your ideal car is most likely one that scores high on safety and reliability. You want a car you can trust to keep your family comfortable and protected on the road. Here’s what your features wish list might look like:
- Seats five passengers
- All-wheel drive
- Rear seats can be folded down
- Backup camera and front collision warning
- Generous cargo space for your children’s gear
- Must get at least 30 mpg combined city/highway
- Satellite radio and WiFi connectivity
- Rear-seat entertainment system
- Simple LATCH System
- Heated leather seats
- Panoramic sunroof
- Hands-free liftgate
- Fancy alloy wheels
- Front seat memory
To get a better idea of what a particular car costs by make/model and down to the trim and options, visit the Farmers Car Shopping Service offered by TrueCar. Use TrueCar's unique Price Curve to learn more about the vehicles you are interested in purchasing so you don’t overpay (used cars also available). Your agent can also help you by providing a quote and insuring your new car when ready.
The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only. The information is provided by Farmers and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to this article or the information, products, services