Assessing Your Lifestyle: 9 Ways to Tell Whether the Car You’ve Laid Your Eyes on Suits Your Needs
As many know, buying a car is not cheap. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the average price spent on a new car is approximately $30,000. In fact, many people buying a new or used car are not able to pay for it out of pocket and must rely on an auto loan to help them slowly pay off their vehicle over the course of many years.
Even with the convenience of an auto loan, adding a new vehicle to your life is a serious matter. Being such a large, vital, and pricey purchase, it’s only fair that the car you opt for is the right vehicle for you. Nobody wants to make an impulsive decision on a purchase that big, only later to regret it.
Before you dive into selecting your next vehicle, there are several criteria you should take note of to ensure the car you end up with won’t end up disappointing you in the long run.
Although you might select a car for its aesthetics over its level of comfort, comfort should still be a top priority. This is especially true if you will be driving your vehicle a lot and/or driving long distances. Those with children may especially want a vehicle that’s comfortable and cozy.
What defines a comfortable vehicle? Everyone will have their own idea of what comfort means to them. However, comfort tends to involve plush yet firm seats, plenty of space between seats, and a pleasant steering wheel.
You’ll know if a vehicle is uncomfortable for you if you feel claustrophobic or agoraphobic sitting in the car. A car can also be uncomfortable if its seats are too cushy or stiff, if the ceiling is too close to your head, or if you find yourself unable to see out the windshield, even with seat adjustments.
Keep in mind that you can always make modifications to your prospective vehicle. However, certain things just can’t be changed.
It’s suitable for the terrain you plan to drive on.
Buying a super fast, expensive sports car without four-wheel drive to drive in the rocky mountains sounds risky. However, it also wouldn’t be the best idea to specifically look for a vehicle that can handle off-roading when you only plan on driving on the sleek and smooth streets of your city or town where it rarely rains or snows.
Regardless of where you plan to drive and how often, it’s important that your dream vehicle is suitable for the terrain you plan to frequently travel on. Being picky in regard to the terrain your future car is capable of driving on, you can be confident that you’ll have better control over your vehicle, and in turn, greater safety on or off the road.
It offers the right amount of trunk space.
The amount of truck space someone may need relies a great deal on their lifestyle and generally what they plan on using their trunk space for. Not enough trunk space, even with the seats pulled down, can definitely be a dealbreaker and an inconvenience for the vehicle owner.
For instance, someone who owns a landscaping business wouldn’t want a compact hatchback with small trunk space. However, someone who rarely uses their trunk space, let alone any space in their vehicle, wouldn’t really benefit from a car with an incredibly tall and wide trunk that could accommodate large furniture and equipment.
Although having extra trunk space can be nice “just in case,” especially if you ever have to help a loved one transfer large pieces of furniture and the like, this extra space can also be a disadvantage. The more space your vehicle contains, the bigger the gas hog, and not to mention, the harder it will be to maneuver on the road.
It’s not super difficult to drive.
When you test drive a vehicle for the very first time, it’s not uncommon that you have to adjust to the feel of the wheel, the brakes, the way the seats feel, and the size and weight of the car. However, if you’re a long-time driver, you should know right away if a car is going to be difficult to drive even after getting used to it.
Larger SUVs are generally going to be more difficult to drive than, say, a compact convertible; this is a given. However, if a vehicle is so difficult to drive, even if it has everything else you want in a car, it may be an unsafe and inconvenient option for you. Safety always comes first.
It’s not worth more than half of your annual income.
According to American businessman and radio talk show host, Dave Ramsey, buying a car that costs more than half your annual salary is one of the worst financial decisions you could make if staying out of debt to obtain financial freedom is your ultimate goal.
For instance, if your annual income is $40,000, purchasing a vehicle for $30,000 would be something Ramsey would recommend against. Rather, purchasing a car $20,000 or less would be the goal, that is, if you don’t plan on buying your vehicle out of pocket.
Even for a vehicle you can afford, getting the best deal on it is still a priority. If there’s a specific car you’re looking at getting, it’s important to research average price quotes online to ensure you won’t be getting ripped off from a seller. Check out Car Buying Strategies to discover the average costs for your dream make and model.
It’s neither too big nor too small.
A vehicle’s size isn’t just about how much truck space it offers. The size can also dictate how easy it will be to drive and park your car. Size can also indicate how many people you will be able to seat in your vehicle at a time, which is certainly important for those with big families.
For example, it wouldn’t make much sense for a bachelor with no children to buy a large van that seats eight people. It’d also make little sense for a family of five to purchase a car with no backseat when the new car would be their primary vehicle. Likewise, buying a large SUV would be inappropriate to buy as someone with little driving experience.
Although some might think that the bigger the car, the better, there is such a thing as wasted space. The more space you have, you not only have more surface area to clean inside and out, but you also must remember that you have to lug that giant bus around. Surely, large vehicles aren’t easy or safe for everyone to drive.
It’s not a gas hog.
Let’s face it, even the wealthiest people on this planet don’t want a vehicle that’s a gas hog. Not only will you end up spending more money on your gasoline in the long run, but you will also have to fill up your fuel tank more often, which nobody wants. Whether you go used or brand new, it’s important that the mileage is favorable.
The more you drive, the more it makes sense to opt for a vehicle that won’t eat up your money as much as it eats up the gasoline you provide it. Also consider the fact that the type of gasoline certain vehicles need may cost more than the gasoline of other vehicles, which may be inconvenient financially for you.
It’s the type of car you want.
Even though a good vehicle should be one that is convenient and generally makes sense for your lifestyle, it’s still important that you are able to find a vehicle that meets all of those expectations while still being the type of car you’ve been wanting. If you despise driving truck, for instance, you wouldn’t make a suitable truck owner.
Apart from the type of vehicle in terms of its make and model, consider the fact that you might only want a car that’s automatic, or maybe you prefer a stick shift. There are a lot of types of subtypes of cars, and only you can decide which is best for you physically and aesthetically.
It offers the additional features you’ve been looking for.
Although you shouldn’t get a car just because it offers the specific features you want, this is still an important thing to consider if you want the best vehicle for your needs. While you may be able to add extra features later, other times, you might not be able to. Or, adding on these features later might cost too much or take to much time to install.
Some special features you might consider include a built-in rear seat DVD player, an integrated GPS navigation system, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, remote keyless entry, emergency braking, electronic stability, a telescoping steering wheel, and a console with a power outlet.
Buying a new or used car can be exciting but nevertheless intimidating. There are thousands of different vehicles out there with different makes, years, models, colors, sizes, and features that make it seemingly impossible to pick the “perfect” car for you.
Thanks to the latter nine strategies, however, you can be more confident that the car you’re about to purchase will serve you well not just in the short run but also long term. Remember that the right vehicle isn’t merely something that you are attracted to externally but something you can rely on in numerous ways.