Choosing the Right Car

Choosing the Right Car for YOU

When you're looking for a new car, and you know you want a change, who do you turn to? The bottomless pit of the internet? A salesperson who is balancing the line between getting the sale and getting a customer in the perfect car? Your Facebook friends? Crowdsourcing can be a great thing to start your brainstorming, but it seems to be a lot of either 'I love my [car model]! It's perfect and you'd love it too!' Or… 'Whatever you do, don't get a [car model]. My brother/father/best friend has one and it's awful for everything'.

And usually, you'll get at least one of each for every model suggested. So, with your list of possible options and cars to avoid (with several models in both camps), you take to the internet. And no matter how wonderful or user friendly a site is, you feel like you are drowning in possibilities and comparing specs. This car has an additional cubic foot of cabin space, but this one has a slightly better mileage.

And you buy your car and it's fine. It works. But you drive away and think "did I make the right choice for me? Or do I just trust my best friend more than my sister in law?" Maybe not everyone is that obsessive, but if you're like me, you struggle with knowing what is actually the perfect car for YOU. In case this describes you to, here's a practical way to get started.

1. Make a list of what you want in your "perfect car". Then, take it a step further. Prioritize your list. Do you want space for multiple car seat installs? Do you have pets you'll need to transport? Is city or highway mileage a dealbreaker? How important is winter driving? Rank these things. In my last car, I really wanted a car that was a powerhouse in the snow. I was commuting and needed to know I could count on my car to get me there.  Today, I still want a car that works well in the winter. But now I stay home with my kids, shuttling them to activities. I want cabin space for carpooling and cargo space for equipment more.

2. Set a budget.
The latest features are tempting and enticing, but they're usually not a part of the base model price you're looking at. When you know what you can realistically spend, you'll know which cars to look at and which to pass over, and what features you don't even bother with.

3. Get in there. Once you're ready to hit the dealership, pack heavy. Bring the carseats, the crate for the dog, the giant dance or hockey bag. Make sure that everyone has ample leg room for where they'll be sitting, and that you're happy with the fit of the carseats. If you feel crazy bringing the strollers and bags, measure the dimensions and check out the trunk carefully.

4. Think ahead.
Are you planning on adding to your family? Making a career change? Check out what replacement tires will cost, if you can fit an additional car seat, or if the car will commute well if that dream job comes through.

If you focus and think about YOU, you can find the perfect car for YOUR family!

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