Car Buying Tips

Guide to Buying a Car

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Picking the right vehicle to buy or lease is like choosing a partner. Your car should fit your lifestyle and personality. Some features, like safety and engineering dynamics, are an absolute. Others…well, you be the judge. Below, we’ve given you some thought-provoking options.

Size and Style:

Consider what you need size-wise and where you will park your vehicle.
  • Compact, mid-size or large vehicle? A two-door coupe or a four-door sedan? Do you want a crossover, Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), station wagon or minivan?
  • (If it’s a larger vehicle do you want a third row, bucket or bench seating?)
  • Does you car need to fit into a driveway, garage or parking space?
  • Do you need a pass thru to the trunk for skis or other stuff; seats that fold, split or fold-flat? Do you want a hatchback or need a large trunk?
  • Do you require a vehicle that is handicap accessible?

Interior and Exterior:

Just like the clothes you wear and the house you live in, your car can be a reflection of you.
  • Color is key; make a choice that you can live with
  • Interior options: do you prefer leather, chrome, wood, bright colors or dark colors?
  • Do you want 16 way-heated leather seats or cloth seats with lumbar support?
  • Do you want a spacious cabin that resembles your living room or a cozy sports-car cockpit?

What’s it for?

Is this your family car, mid-life crisis car, single and sexy wheels or simply a station car?
  • Is this your primary or secondary vehicle?
  • For business travel or daily commute?
  • Will you be hauling soccer crews and taking road trips?
  • Towing a boat or trailer?
  • Do you need to impress clients or colleagues?

Dynamics:

Do you want to go fast… or go green?
  • Are you looking for a fuel-efficient ride?
  • 4, 6, or 8 or more cylinders?
  • Alternative fuel (hybrid, electric, ethanol etc.)
  • How about diesel?

Weather and road conditions: Are you really going off-road?

  • Do you need front-wheel, rear-wheel, four-wheel or all-wheel drive?

Transmission:

Some people like the feel of a manual, others like the ease of automatic. If you want both, options include sports shifters or manual paddles.

Safety:

This is a given. Aside from front and side airbags, ABS, fog lights, daytime running lights, 3-point seatbelts and other standard safety needs, here’s some options to consider:
  • Child proof door locks and automatic sliding doors and windows that are pinch proof
  • Night vision system
  • Backup warning system: camera or beeper
  • Navigation System or OnStar
  • Lane Departure Warning System

Comfort:

Indulge yourself. Options like these could make all the difference to your driving experience.
  • Cruise control
  • Power steering
  • Power windows, power side mirrors, power sliding doors
  • Tinted glass
  • Remote entry
  • Tilting and telescoping steering wheel
  • Adjustable pedals (for people of all sizes)
  • Remote trunk release
  • Heated or cooled seats
  • Keyless entry and push-button start

Special Options:

This list could fill a swimming pool! We picked some of the more obvious ones to think about.
  • Extended service contract
  • Tire/Wheel protection
  • Paint sealant
  • Sun roof/Moon roof
  • Fabric protection
  • Rust proofing or undercoating
  • Alarm system
  • Top of the line sound systems with options including satellite radio, MP3 and Ipod connectivity, extra speakers
  • Theft Deterrent System
  • Entertainment system with wireless headsets