Who’s in the market for a new car? This has been on our radar for a couple of years, but now with baby number 3 on the way, we’re looking more than ever at buying a new vehicle. Don’t know where to start? I’ve got some tips to help you find your perfect family car.
~This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cars.com. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~
Know What You Need
The first thing you need to consider is what your needs are in a new vehicle. For us, we need LOTS of backseat space since we’ll have 3 kids in car seats. We’ll also need lots of trunk space. It’s ridiculous how much space a stroller can take up. Add groceries to that and the trunk could be at it’s max.
And it’s not just logical needs you should think about, but all of the fun features you want too, like Bluetooth capabilities, back up cameras, navigation, sun roof, etc. Know ahead of time everything you need and want.
Have a Budget
Having a set budget is always a good idea when you step foot on a car lot. You know what you can afford, not the car salesman. If a car salesman really wants to sell you a vehicle, he/she will make it work for you. And if he/she can’t, you need to know it’s okay to walk away. There are plenty of car lots and dealerships to shop at.
Now that you know what your new vehicle needs are and what your budget is, it’s time to research. Cars.com makes it super easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Start with the bodystyle and Cars.com will show you everything you need to know about different vehicles – price range, mileage, seating capacity, safety ratings, various pros and cons, and even where the vehicle is in stock in your area.
On top of that Cars.com offers expert and consumer reviews, as well as recall information and what the estimated yearly service and repair costs are. Cars.com also has the ability to give side-by-side vehicle comparisons and if you’re not sure the vehicle you want will fit your budget, you can find out for sure using the payment calculator.
Test drive, test drive, test drive. After doing your research, you may have a few different vehicle models that you like and that fit your needs and budget. Test drive them all! Get a feel for the ride, play with all the features, imagine the kids in the back doing what they do. Heck, since backseat space is a big must for us, I’d even go so far as to ask if I can put all 3 of our car seats in the backseat to see just how much space there is. Test driving is your one chance to see what it would really be like if the vehicle were yours.
Don’t Settle or Rush
Car buying is an exciting time and when you’ve been driving the same car for a long time (my car has been in the family for 14 years), it’s hard not rush into a decision. But rushing or settling is not the way to go. Vehicles are an investment and one you’ll likely be paying off for 5+ years and driving for much longer than that. If you rush into a decision, you may end up spending those years investing and driving a vehicle you really don’t like, or ends up not being what you need.
No matter what, do not make this mistake. It’s not very easy, or may not be financially feasible, to get out of the investment. And don’t get discouraged if it takes you months to find the perfect family car. I can assure you, it will be worth the wait.