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Where to Begin

One of the most important things you can do while shopping for your vehicle is to stay organized and have a plan. This will save you time, and help you to be well prepared and confident throughout your quest.

To help in your search, take some time to narrow down what is important to you so that you can focus your efforts on a few particular aspects of the vehicle. We have found that many consumers spend far too much time on their vehicle search because they never spent a little bit of time trying to determine what they really wanted out of a vehicle. Take a look at the pre-shopping checklist we have provided to begin to narrow your choices.

Pre-Shopping Checklist

Decide which kind of vehicle you want vs. need.

  • Which features are most important?
  • Do you prefer a car, truck, or SUV?
  • How efficient must the vehicle be with respect to gas mileage?
  • Do you prefer an automatic or manual transmission?
  • Are you interested in 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive?
  • Do you want/need anti-lock brakes?
  • Is engine size important to you (i.e. 1.8, 2.0)?
  • How much horsepower do you want/need (i.e. 80, 180, 360)?
  • How many cylinders do you want/need (i.e. 4, 6, 12)?
  • Do you require cargo-carrying capacity?
  • Will you need to tow anything with the vehicle?
  • How often?
  • Will the vehicle fit easily into your garage or parking space?
  • Have you considered the impact that the vehicle will have your insurance premium?
  • Will the vehicle be able to accommodate your needs as they change over the course of the next few years?
  • Is there a nearby maintenance shop for this type of vehicle?
  • Have you check with Consumer Reports or any other sources of vehicle reviews?
  • Have you considered the annual cost of maintenance for this vehicle?
  • How important is trunk space?

Determine how much you can afford.

Review the differences between leasing and buying to decide which option best meets your needs. (See the section entitled “Lease versus Loan” for help on making this decision)

Look at similar vehicles in the same category to compare features.

Back to Shopping for your Vehicle