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Road Safety Tips: 5 Important Steps to Choosing Your Next Vehicle

Most of us don’t get new vehicles just because we think they look nice. We admire the way it performs and handles, we trust the maker’s brand, or we just feel that one particular car is totally us. How do we get to the place where we find this perfect match? Here are five steps that will help you decide which automobile is the right fit.

  1. Timespan.

You’re getting a new vehicle. Do you want something you can drive around for the next year or two, or are you in it for the long haul? The first thing to decide is if you want to lease or buy your new ride.

If you lease, you’ll have to be very careful with maintenance and mileage, but you’ll able to trade up to something new and improved after the lease is up. If you buy, you’ll have more freedom, but a larger, longer responsibility.

  1. Budget.

Once you know if you want to lease or buy, you can think about what you’ll be able to spend. Buying likely means a larger down payment, but aside from interest and financing fees, everything you pay in will be going toward long-term ownership of your new vehicle.

If you have less money and financing is short, leasing is cheaper. Just remember that everything you pay essentially goes to renting the car; you leave the agreement with no property or refunds.

  1. Geography.

You do need a vehicle that’s practical for what you want to do, and where you want to drive it. A nice little coupe will do fine on highways and in suburbs, but if you drive in rough weather or traverse gravel roads regularly, you’ll need something a bit more capable.

Also take your interests and habits into account. If you like hiking and kayaking, a Jeep is clearly much better for you than a two-seat convertible. Even if you weren’t overcome with excitement the first time you saw it.

  1. Alternatives.

You might have your heart set on a certain make and model, but that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. Cost and availability can make it harder to get what you want than expected.

If you look at various guides and Car Buying Strategies, you’ll be able to find a make and model comparable to your dream ride. These are of the same class and may turn out even better than your first pick.

  1. Testing, testing.

Used or new, lease or own, never sign anything without taking that test drive. In fact, you should test drive multiple cars more than once. As you do, take note of the fuel economy, and see if you can’t really test the mettle by driving a bumpier road.

It might also be a great idea to bring someone along to sit in the back, so they can provide their input on how it rides.

Even if you only have your new car for a limited time, you don’t want to regret your choice. Once the deal is sealed, it can difficult or costly to reverse. Figure out if you want to own or lease, pick the class that’s right for your lifestyle, and give it a test run before committing.

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