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How to Choose a New Car

With so many new cars to choose from, it's difficult to know where to start. We've got you covered.


  • Step 1: Set a budget Set a budget. If you're going to get financing, figure out exactly how much you can afford to pay per month.
  • TIP: Don't forget the costs of owning the car, like insurance, gas, parking and storage, and maintenance, which will depend on the model you choose.
  • Step 2: Decide the basics Decide the basics. Do you want a small, fuel-efficient car, or a larger car that can haul a lot of passengers and cargo from place to place? A two-door or four-door? Four cylinders or a more powerful six?
  • TIP: If you purchase a hybrid vehicle, you can receive incentives on your income taxes.
  • Step 3: Find models Now that you have a basic idea of the kind of car you want, find models that fit your criteria.
  • Step 4: Compare models Nowadays, comparing models head-to-head in categories like safety, fuel economy, and reliability is as easy as hitting a few keys. Just go online and find one of the many web sites that provide this information.
  • Step 5: Schedule test drives Once you've winnowed the possibilities down to a dozen or so cars, set aside a weekend to test-drive them.
  • TIP: Test-drive as many cars as you can on the same day to make comparisons easier.
  • Step 6: Time to negotiate Now that you've settled on a car, it's time to negotiate with the dealer.
  • FACT: The average buyer keeps a new car for five and a half years.

You Will Need

  • Time
  • Patience
  • A clear idea of what you want and what you need

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