Try to narrow your list down to a few options. Consider:
- Your needs: Think about your transportation requirements. Does your vehicle need to be large enough for a family of five or small enough to fit in tight city parking spaces? Tough enough to haul a stand-up paddle board or chic enough to drive clients around?
- Your wants: Most of us want at least a few extras that we don’t really need. You don’t have to buy the cheapest, most basic car, but just remember that you may not be able to afford everything you want.
- The safety and reliability of the car: Research what cars rank high in safety and reliability. (Consumer Reports and car-oriented magazines regularly report on this topic. You can also check cars’ safety ratings at www.safercar.gov, which is produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)
- Your budget: The price is one of the car’s most important features. It is easy to get carried away and end up with a car that is out of your price range, but ultimately, you won’t be happy if you cannot make your loan or lease payments.
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