Every car is made with a slightly different driver in mind. One that is great as a daily commuter will be unlikely to perform well off-road or under extreme stress.
There is no one “right car” for everyone. Before buying a new vehicle, drivers need to consider their lifestyles and personal needs. Read on to find out what factors are most important.
Budget is one of the largest factors influencing drivers’ purchasing decisions. Thankfully, there are a few ways to stretch a small budget. Drivers who don’t mind buying used vehicles will be able to find cars from recent model years that cost much less than their brand-new equivalents, and many used cars still come with substantial warranty protections, to give just one example.
Drivers who don’t want to buy a used car still have a few options. Those with good credit can usually get financing from a bank, a private lender, or the dealership, itself. They can also lease vehicles that would otherwise be out of their price ranges. It’s still important to determine a budget before even looking for help finding a car that will fit a particular driver’s needs, though, so it deserves the first spot on this list.
Safety should be a top priority for every driver, but it’s higher on some lists than others. Parents who plan to use their vehicles to pick up the kids at school, for example, will want to look for cars, vans, or SUVs that have higher National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety ratings. Drivers who spend a lot of time behind the wheel may also want to investigate safety ratings more carefully than those who only take their vehicles out for a spin once in a while.
3. Fuel Economy
The importance of fuel economy varies depending on a variety of lifestyle factors. Drivers should consider things like how often they use their vehicles, whether they would feel comfortable driving electric cars, and how far they live from their workplaces or their children’s schools if they plan to use the car as a daily driver. Anyone who plans to use his or her car frequently or to drive long distances will find that buying a fuel-efficient vehicle can save a bundle.
How many people will be riding in the car? Drivers who commute to work alone can get away with purchasing small compact cars, while those who need to transport multiple kids need SUVs or minivans with plenty of seating.
5. Cargo Space and Towing Capacity
Some drivers just need to transport groceries home from the store, while others frequently haul large items. Drivers who fall into the latter category should look into trucks, vans, or SUVs with good tow capacities and/or large amounts of cargo space. Those who only need to haul large or heavy loads infrequently may be better off buying a smaller car and renting a vehicle for occasional heavy use.
6. Off-Road Capabilities
Live on a poorly maintained dirt road, or just love heading out for afternoons spent off-roading with friends? Look for a vehicle with 4WD and high ground clearance. There are plenty of extra features that can make off-roading more fun, but without the basics, drivers will just get stuck in the mud.
The Bottom Line
Every car is made with a slightly different driver in mind. One that is great as a daily commuter will be unlikely to perform well off-road or under extreme stress, and sports cars that prioritize speed and glamour often do so at the expense of safety. Drivers should determine what types of vehicles and features will best fit their lifestyles before they head to a dealership, starting with the factors above.