How do I buy a new car that is right for me?

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Answered by: Marcus, An Expert in the Choose the Right Car Category
To buy a new car is one of the most important financial decisions you will make. There are several determining factors in choosing which new car is the best fit for your needs. When it is time to buy a new car, you will have to ask yourself some important questions. The new car market is saturated with hundreds of models of cars, and selecting one can be an intimidating process. Let's start off with some questions about you that you can use to narrow down your selection. You are after all more familiar with yourself than you are with the vast amount of new cars available for purchase.

Are you a newcomer to financial independence, maybe a recent college graduate or young adult? Or have you established yourself financially and achieved a good credit rating? Either way, financing the car will be a critical factor in your purchase. Your best option will be to select a new car based on its affordability. Being able to afford a new car means being able to convince a bank that you are worthy of receiving a loan.

A good credit score is your best asset if you plan to make monthly payments that actually impact your principle, or amount owed, on the car. If you have a poor credit rating, your loan will be more difficult to pay off due to high interest rates. Your credit score will be a useful factor in deciding how much to put down initially on the car. If your credit is less than stellar, you can offset the amount of interest you will pay by saving your money and making a higher initial down payment. Financing less money means less interest will be paid, despite the higher interest rate. If you have good credit, you may be able to drive away in a brand new car with no money down at all. So before you decide on a particular car, take some time to evaluate your financial situation in order to point yourself in the right direction.

What do you want out of this car? Are you simply looking for transportation from point A to B? Do you have a family and need a vehicle that can accommodate several passengers? Are you looking for performance and style, or practicality and purpose? Once you have determined your financial standing, decide what you are really looking for. Sedans and station wagons are the best jack of all trades vehicle. Entry level cars, such as Kia's Forte, can perform all of the functions you may need. However, being the jack of all trades usually means being the master of none. A small car is impractical for a large family transport. A Forte will not turn as many heads as a BMW. But you will be able to get from point A to B. Take some time to decide what you want your new car to do for you. This can help you decide between the different body styles and functions of available vehicles.

Once you have narrowed your selection to a style of vehicle, be it an SUV, pick up truck, or a roadster, do some research on particular brands. If you are looking for a sports car, you might find that a subcompact turbo-charged Fiat Abarth is just as much fun as a BMW M3, for less than a third of the price. You can buy a stylish Mercedes minivan and still have performance, prestige, style and practicality.

The most important part of your decision making process: the test drive. Know what you want, and go find the car that does what you want. Reading reviews will point you in the right direction, but maybe you find the seat position uncomfortable. Maybe you don't like the instrument layout or the sound system. Ask yourself what you want out of the car. When you find the right one, make sure that you enjoy driving it, because that is what you will be doing with it for years to come.

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