When it’s time to buy a new car, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the hundreds of options out there, whether you’re buying your first or your tenth vehicle. The “What Car Should I Buy?” quiz you took was fun, objectively assigning a car based on your personality. But while personality plays a part in the purchase, functionality, and practicality are perhaps even more important factors in the car-buying process.
It’s not easy to provide a definitive answer about what type of car you should buy, because one car doesn’t fit all. While the choices are plentiful, Dick Hannah Dealership’s duty is to make the car selection process easy and gratifying by bringing to light the considerations you should make in order to make the right choice. We’ll help you narrow down the options and make it clear which kind of car to buy based on your preferences, budget, and lifestyle.
Types of Vehicles and Their Common Uses
Below, you’ll find some of the most common vehicle categories and their best features and uses. This information will give you food-for-thought on what kind of car model you should aim for, based on your needs and driving habits.
- Four-door sedan: Sedans are great single-person cars or small-family cars ideal for commuting or casual rides around town. Many of them get great gas mileage, which makes them the ideal choice for highway commutes.
- Minivan: Families of five or more are better suited to minivans, which are more spacious and allow you to move freely around the van to access food, clean up messes, change diapers. etc. They also have lots of safety features to protect your little ones.
- SUV/crossover: SUVs are ideal for adventurers. They’re a little more costly to drive, but they’re safe and sturdy and provide lots of legroom and cargo space for outdoor gear. Crossovers are a smaller, slightly cheaper version of an SUV that offer many of these same features.
- Hybrid/electric car: Electric cars cost more upfront, but the savings really kick in when it comes to fuel efficiency. Hybrid and electric cars are the best choice for people upgrading to more eco-friendly vehicles.
- Truck: Those who perform construction, contracting, towing, or hauling jobs will find trucks the best option for their needs. These vehicles offer the engine power needed to get heavy-duty jobs done and have lots of room in the bed for materials. They’re also high enough off the ground for off-roading.
- Luxury/sports car: With extra cash to burn and a need for speed, some people may be tempted by a flashy, high-tech car for joyriding. Luxury cars are fun, attractive, fast, and feature all the latest innovations.
Considerations for Choosing a Car
Now that you’re across all of today’s common vehicle types, let’s talk about what to look for in your preferred vehicle type.
What Kind of Car Fits Your Needs and Lifestyle?
The first and perhaps most basic questions to ask yourself before buying a car is what you plan to use it for, and what kind of lifestyle you live. Are you looking to make a statement in something flashy or eco-friendly? Are you searching out an adventure-friendly car with four-wheel drive and lots of room? Or do you need something basic just to get you back and forth to work each day?
If your main purpose in buying a car, for example, is to find something that will get you to work and back every day via the highway and not much else, you may be well-suited to a hybrid sedan like the Honda Accord Hybrid — especially if you live a frugal lifestyle and want something fuel-efficient. But a sedan wouldn’t accommodate those who run a school carpool before work. These people would be better off in a minivan such as the Chrysler Pacifica, which offers plenty of room for kids and also gets great gas mileage for the daily commute.
Some other needs to consider include:
- The number of people you need to fit into the car on a regular basis
- The kind of driving you’ll be doing (city streets, highway, rough terrain, etc.)
- The length of your commute each day and whether fuel economy is a concern
- The climate you live in (places with long, snowy winters are the ideal place for All-Wheel-Drive cars)
- The amount of parking and garage space you have available
- The amount of room you require for cargo
- Safety features, including blindspot monitoring and auto-emergency brakes
- Luxury features, such as a backup camera, leather seats, and so on
What Is Your Budget?
Families and individuals on a budget will need to choose a car that works with their income. If you aren’t paying cash, you’ll have to determine how much of a monthly payment you can afford and are willing to pay for a vehicle. It is recommended that you spend less than 15% (ideally 10% or less) of your monthly income because you also need to account for gasoline, insurance, and maintenance, which will tack 7% onto the price.
You can calculate these costs by visiting our blog on how much car you can afford. Once you know your price range, you’ll be able to narrow down the options further.
Which Similar Car Types Could Reasonably Meet Your Needs?
It’s common for prospective buyers to begin the buying process with their hearts already set on one vehicle model. While it’s good to know what you want, it’s a good idea to be open to other options that are similar to your ideal vehicle, that you may not have already considered. There could be a car that suits your needs and budget better than the car you originally set out to buy and has all the same features.
Our staff is here to help you compare vehicles within the same class and ensure that you don’t overlook the best option for you.
The Importance of Taking a Test Drive
Even if a certain vehicle seems like it checks all your boxes, you should always take it for a test drive before making the final decision. You never know if one car may feel more natural and comfortable to drive than another. During your test drive, get an idea of how the car would handle on a typical day for you. If you do a lot of highway driving on a daily basis, do some highway driving during your test drive so you know exactly what it would feel like to be in that car every day.
Talk to Dick Hannah Dealerships for More Information
Now that you have a general idea of what kind of car to buy, head over to DickHannah.com and start your new car shopping. There, you’ll find a wide selection of cars within your price range that will meet your needs. Our knowledgeable experts match customers to their perfect vehicles every day and can answer any further questions you may have about the car-buying process.