Whether you’re looking for your very first car or are in the market for an upgrade, there are many things to look for in a new car. Vehicles are a huge investment, so it’s important to know what makes a car worth that hefty price tag. 

When you start the hunt for your next vehicle, make sure to take your time looking for the right features to meet your needs and keep you safe on the road. 

Step 1: Research, Research, Research 

It can’t be said enough that when spending several thousands of dollars on something, you should always do your research. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. This is doubly important if you have no idea what type of vehicle you want in the first place! 

First and foremost, if you don’t know what type of vehicle you should get, start by considering what you’ll use it for. 

Is it going to be a daily driver to simply get you to and from work or school? Will you need to have extra passenger space for the family? Or will you be hauling a lot of cargo for regular road trips or supplies for projects? Take some time to picture yourself driving your vehicle on a daily basis and think about how it’s going to serve you. 

If all you need is to get yourself from point A to B, then a compact car or sedan will be perfect. With great gas mileage and not a lot of bulk, a smaller vehicle is all you’ll need to get around town reliably. However, if you require a lot more cargo or passenger space, consider an SUV, minivan, or truck to serve your unique needs.  

Once you’ve got a general idea of the type of vehicle you want, now you can get to researching the makes and models with the best reviews for features and safety. You can look at the consumer reports for the best cars in the most recent years or decide on a feature that is most important to you and look for vehicles that utilize it well.  

Check out ConsumerReports.org and CarEdge.com for a great starting point to research the vehicle you want. 

Performance 

Vehicle performance is a big factor for many drivers, but it goes well beyond how fast your car will go. It includes several smaller elements including horsepower, handling, braking, and even traction. Performance is what determines how well your vehicle runs and how easy it will be for you to operate.  

While looking for a vehicle, consider those with awards from J.D. Power to help you determine if it has the level of performance you’ll need. 

Longevity 

Additionally, the longevity of your vehicle is vital if you want to keep it for more than a few years. Yes, keeping up with maintenance will help extend the life of your car, but the way it’s built and the parts that go into it can also affect how long it will last you. 

A standard, properly maintained vehicle should keep running with minimal issues up to around 200,000 miles, but some vehicle manufacturers are now known for building vehicles that exceed 250,000 before major parts start requiring replacement. Brands such as Toyota, Honda, and Subaru are some of the longer-lasting vehicles, but there are other brands that rate high in longevity as well. 

Not only will choosing a longer-lasting brand help your vehicle last you for several years at least, but it will also help to maintain the value of your vehicle! A common phrase you’ll hear when purchasing a vehicle is that it drops in value the minute you drive it off the lot. While that is true no matter what type of vehicle you get, the brands that are well known for long-lasting vehicles, are also known for maintaining their value longer than others.  

To see how the value of a vehicle depreciates over time, check out this helpful calculator. 

Maintenance Costs 

As we said, the key to a long-lasting vehicle is regular maintenance, which will inevitably cost you a bit of money. The key is looking into what the average maintenance cost is of the different vehicles you’re considering. Luxury vehicles and foreign brands will almost always have a higher maintenance cost, because they typically have more expensive or hard-to-come-by parts, and you’ll often need to take them to a specialty repair shop for any level of maintenance. However, domestic or economic brands typically have lower maintenance costs depending on the model you choose. 

Many vehicle reviews include an average yearly maintenance cost in the breakdown, but you can also check out CarEdge.com to search different makes and models. 

Safety Features 

Finally, the most important item to consider when searching for a new vehicle is the safety features. You’ll want to ensure the vehicle has above and beyond the bare minimum airbags, seat belts, and anti-lock brakes. While these features are of course vital to the safety of everyone in and around your vehicle, any additional safety technology will help that much more when you really need it.  

The best place to look for safety features and ratings in a vehicle is Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), or looking for the IIHS Top Safety Pick award in the vehicle’s description. While newer vehicles are more likely to have more technology geared towards safety, a brand-new vehicle is not necessarily safer than a vehicle that’s a few years old. Take your time to look at the safety rating, because it is truly the most important aspect of buying a car. 

Final Thoughts 

As with any large investment, there are many factors to consider when buying a vehicle. Carefully think about how your vehicle will be used on a daily basis, and what needs you’ll need it to meet. Most importantly, research the different features of the vehicles you’re considering to make sure it has a high safety rating, low to moderate maintenance cost, and will last you for years to come. 

Disclaimer: 

This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If you are experiencing anxiety or other mental health symptoms, you should speak to a medical professional.

Whether you’re looking for your very first car or are in the market for an upgrade, there are many things to look for in a new car. Vehicles are a huge investment, so it’s important to know what makes a car worth that hefty price tag. 

When you start the hunt for your next vehicle, make sure to take your time looking for the right features to meet your needs and keep you safe on the road. 

Step 1: Research, Research, Research 

It can’t be said enough that when spending several thousands of dollars on something, you should always do your research. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. This is doubly important if you have no idea what type of vehicle you want in the first place! 

First and foremost, if you don’t know what type of vehicle you should get, start by considering what you’ll use it for. 

Is it going to be a daily driver to simply get you to and from work or school? Will you need to have extra passenger space for the family? Or will you be hauling a lot of cargo for regular road trips or supplies for projects? Take some time to picture yourself driving your vehicle on a daily basis and think about how it’s going to serve you. 

If all you need is to get yourself from point A to B, then a compact car or sedan will be perfect. With great gas mileage and not a lot of bulk, a smaller vehicle is all you’ll need to get around town reliably. However, if you require a lot more cargo or passenger space, consider an SUV, minivan, or truck to serve your unique needs.  

Once you’ve got a general idea of the type of vehicle you want, now you can get to researching the makes and models with the best reviews for features and safety. You can look at the consumer reports for the best cars in the most recent years or decide on a feature that is most important to you and look for vehicles that utilize it well.  

Check out ConsumerReports.org and CarEdge.com for a great starting point to research the vehicle you want. 

Performance 

Vehicle performance is a big factor for many drivers, but it goes well beyond how fast your car will go. It includes several smaller elements including horsepower, handling, braking, and even traction. Performance is what determines how well your vehicle runs and how easy it will be for you to operate.  

While looking for a vehicle, consider those with awards from J.D. Power to help you determine if it has the level of performance you’ll need. 

Longevity 

Additionally, the longevity of your vehicle is vital if you want to keep it for more than a few years. Yes, keeping up with maintenance will help extend the life of your car, but the way it’s built and the parts that go into it can also affect how long it will last you. 

A standard, properly maintained vehicle should keep running with minimal issues up to around 200,000 miles, but some vehicle manufacturers are now known for building vehicles that exceed 250,000 before major parts start requiring replacement. Brands such as Toyota, Honda, and Subaru are some of the longer-lasting vehicles, but there are other brands that rate high in longevity as well. 

Not only will choosing a longer-lasting brand help your vehicle last you for several years at least, but it will also help to maintain the value of your vehicle! A common phrase you’ll hear when purchasing a vehicle is that it drops in value the minute you drive it off the lot. While that is true no matter what type of vehicle you get, the brands that are well known for long-lasting vehicles, are also known for maintaining their value longer than others.  

To see how the value of a vehicle depreciates over time, check out this helpful calculator. 

Maintenance Costs 

As we said, the key to a long-lasting vehicle is regular maintenance, which will inevitably cost you a bit of money. The key is looking into what the average maintenance cost is of the different vehicles you’re considering. Luxury vehicles and foreign brands will almost always have a higher maintenance cost, because they typically have more expensive or hard-to-come-by parts, and you’ll often need to take them to a specialty repair shop for any level of maintenance. However, domestic or economic brands typically have lower maintenance costs depending on the model you choose. 

Many vehicle reviews include an average yearly maintenance cost in the breakdown, but you can also check out CarEdge.com to search different makes and models. 

Safety Features 

Finally, the most important item to consider when searching for a new vehicle is the safety features. You’ll want to ensure the vehicle has above and beyond the bare minimum airbags, seat belts, and anti-lock brakes. While these features are of course vital to the safety of everyone in and around your vehicle, any additional safety technology will help that much more when you really need it.  

The best place to look for safety features and ratings in a vehicle is Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), or looking for the IIHS Top Safety Pick award in the vehicle’s description. While newer vehicles are more likely to have more technology geared towards safety, a brand-new vehicle is not necessarily safer than a vehicle that’s a few years old. Take your time to look at the safety rating, because it is truly the most important aspect of buying a car. 

Final Thoughts 

As with any large investment, there are many factors to consider when buying a vehicle. Carefully think about how your vehicle will be used on a daily basis, and what needs you’ll need it to meet. Most importantly, research the different features of the vehicles you’re considering to make sure it has a high safety rating, low to moderate maintenance cost, and will last you for years to come. 

Disclaimer: 

This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If you are experiencing anxiety or other mental health symptoms, you should speak to a medical professional.

Start Learning to Drive Today

Give us a call to find out which online course is best for you!

  • 1-888-206-1328

Get Our Latest Driving Tips

Follow us on social media to get our latest tips and drivers ed tools.