In 2016, it was estimated that a record “17.6 million cars and trucks” were sold in the United States alone. Each year, vehicle makers release new and improved versions of their most popular models, as well as brand new models. Therefore, when it comes to making a smart choice for your family, there are many possible options. This is especially true if you are searching for your first-ever family vehicle. With so many choices, however, it can be difficult to know how to find the right vehicle for your family’s needs and preferences.
Not sure where to get started? Here’s how to navigate the excitement of buying your family’s first car, truck, SUV, or minivan.
Decide which features and vehicle types matter most
Did you know that some of the newest vehicles have over 100 available safety and technology features? Although it can be tempting to find a vehicle that has it all, it’s crucial to decide what is best for your family’s specific needs. Having a safe ride, as well as a smooth and convenient drive, are often top priorities among families. Before you begin car shopping, make a list of the features that are most important to you. Also, based on your family’s size, decide what kind of vehicle (e.g. SUV, midsize) will accommodate everyone.
Establish your budget
In early 2018, Kelley Blue Book released data showing that the “average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles in the United States was $36,270.” Do you know how much car you can afford? If not, creating a budget for your purchase is now more simple than ever before. First, decide how much you are willing to spend on monthly payments for the next several years. After you have decided how much you can spend monthly, visit your local car dealership’s website. Nearly all dealerships offer a monthly cost calculator that allows you to reliably estimate how much you can expect to pay each month (based on the total purchase price). These calculators also usually factor in financing interest, as well as added taxes and fees.
Make saving for a downpayment a fun family activity
Need to save up a bit more before making your vehicle purchase? Get your entire family involved in saving for a downpayment. How can you turn this step into a fun activity? Make saving a game. Some basic ideas to use include seeing how much spare change each family member can find, or creating a savings chart that can be colored in.
Take test drives with your entire family
If your dealership permits, bring your entire family along for a test drive! After riding in each car, ask your children about the specific things they liked most. This way, the car buying experience can become an experience the whole family can share.
Excited to buy your first-ever family vehicle? It’s easy to understand why! Following the tips listed above will help ensure that you find the perfect vehicle for your family’s needs, while staying within your budget.