Research to Do Before You Buy New

Buying a new car is exciting, but also a big responsibility. It’s important to spend time researching new cars you may purchase to make sure it's the best fit for you. Fortunately, resources abound as there are many organizations dedicated to the search process as simple and informative as possible.

Pay Attention to Vehicle Ratings

Organizations like J.D. Power and Consumer Reports both put out ratings for all the new vehicles for the model year. Reading through their reviews and looking at ratings is a good way to pick out quality vehicles and avoid the poor options. Resources provided on these sites include reports like the following on every car they review.

  • J.D. Power Dependability Study
  • J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction
  • J.D. Power APEAL study
  • Consumer Reports Fuel Economy
  • Consumer Reports Best and Worst Cars

Safety Ratings Matter

Driving is dangerous. That’s why it’s important to buy a vehicle rated high for safety. Savvy buyers take a close look at safety reports from both the IIHS (International Institute for Highway Safety) and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) to get a full overview of a particular vehicle’s safety competence.

These studies report on the following:

  • Safety features
  • Overall construction
  • Front crash
  • Rollover
  • Side crash
  • Crash avoidance technology

Pay Attention to Features

Each year, new vehicles come out with more features. That’s why it’s important to focus on what features are offered as part of the models that have caught your eye. Make a list of must-have features and use it as a guide to narrow your possibilities.

Here’s a list of some of the upgraded features desired by today's buyer:

  • Leather interior
  • Push button start
  • Keyless entry
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • DVD player
  • Heated or cooled seats

Read Customer Reviews

Another good way to learn about a potential vehicle is to read through actual customer experiences. Use the internet to find personal reviews of your potential candidates. Sites like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book make customer reviews available for public viewing.

Find a Local Car

After narrowing your list, it’s time to track down local options. Don’t waste time wandering car lots, hop online and check local dealer inventories. You can even refine your search further by searching for models with specific option packages to reveal which dealerships near you have a car fitting this description in stock. You may also consider hiring a car-buying professional to do research for you.

The Test Drive

Of course, the final step before making a final decision and working your way through the negotiation process is to test drive the vehicle. Be sure the drive includes traveling at highway speeds as well as on side streets to test maneuverability. As odd as it may sound, see if the car is a good fit for you by considering how you fit into it. How are the head and legroom? Will it adequately meet the needs of your daily driving? No matter how sleek or stylish, it makes no sense to buy a car that will be physically uncomfortable and is inadequate to transport your family, carpool, golf clubs, groceries, etc.

Researching new vehicles is a time-intensive process, but an important one. To find a quality option, you can't rush through the steps. The more thorough your search, the more pleased you will be with your final decision.