How to choose a vehicle

Aside from a home, a vehicle is probably your next biggest purchase. This step-by-step guide can help you make the right choice.

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Step 1

Think about what you need before considering what you want.
Ask yourself these questions to figure out what kind of vehicle would suit your needs.

How many passengers or how much cargo do I usually carry?

If you carry a lot of cargo, a truck, van or SUV might suit you. If you’ll be towing something, such as a trailer or boat, consider the towing capacity of the vehicle.

How long is my commute?

Getting great gas mileage is crucial if you have a long commute. You might even consider upgrading to comfy leather seats and cruise control.

What road conditions will I experience?

If you drive on unpaved roads or in heavy snow, consider a vehicle with 4-wheel drive or softer suspension.

Which safety features do I value the most?

New vehicles can come with extra airbags, exterior cameras and collision avoidance systems, which may add to the price.

Where will I park?

Remember, large vehicles take more space to park.

Step 2

Set a budget and stay within it.
Figure out how much you can afford for your loan payments.
Don’t forget about the extra costs like:

Step 3

Research the vehicles that fit your criteria. 
Be sure to compare information from a range of sources including:

Manufacturers' websites

You can find features, specs and price your vehicle.

Auto magazines

Read unbiased, professional opinions about a variety of vehicles available.

Owners' forums

Real-life owners share the ups and downs of driving a particular vehicle.

Friends and family

Ask if they’ve driven any of the vehicles you’re considering. It’s a great way to get firsthand information.

Step 4

Reach out to dealerships.
Schedule test drives at different dealerships.

Plus, be sure to:

  • Drive on the highway and in the city.
  • Test the acceleration and braking performance.
  • See how the vehicle feels when you turn corners and go over bumps.
  • Check that there’s enough space inside the vehicle.
  • Make sure you feel comfortable driving the vehicle.

Take your time and compare vehicles against one another. Buying a vehicle is a big purchase and it’s important to make a choice that’s truly right for you.

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By Phone

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In Person

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