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While they were most often large or midsize cars, many of those vehicles did not have key safety features that could improve safety. Several different resources offer information about which particular makes and models are safest, so parents can check to make sure the vehicles they are considering meet their expectations regarding safety. Beginning the research for the right vehicle, according to the IIHS, begins with knowing which features are most important.
The IIHS recommends that parents use four key principles when considering which cars to purchase:. It helps a driver maintain control on curves and wet or slippery roads and is credited with cutting the risk of single-vehicle fatality crashes nearly in half. All of these factors should be weighed when considering a car for your college student. The good news is, there are plenty of cars that come highly recommended. Check out these helpful tips on finding the best car loan for college students.
Skip to main content. Show Search. Forgot Your Password? Home Learning Center Auto Article. You have more flexibility to sell the car whenever you want. You can modify the car to your tastes. There are no mileage penalties if you drive a lot. Your car expenses will be lower in the long run provided you pay off the car and keep it a while. Do you have your mind or heart set on a specific car?
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Many shoppers do. But in today's ever-changing marketplace, new cars are always hitting the showrooms, and one that you've never even considered could be right for you. Edmunds lets you research and compare similar cars to find the one that truly fits you best. If you already have a car in mind, you should still review other comparable vehicles in the same class to make sure you haven't overlooked an even better choice. You can do this by choosing the same vehicle type, as listed in our Car Finder tool, and setting the parameters that are important to you.
What is the Perfect Car?
Once you settle on a worthy prospect, you can easily check for detailed information on pricing, specifications and features. You can also compare vehicles you chose to more easily contrast features and specifications. If, on the other hand, you only know what type of vehicle you want — an SUV for example — you can consult the corresponding Edmunds "car type" section. It lists the most researched vehicles in the class and their ratings, along with the top-rated picks from the Edmunds editors.
Some cars may be cheaper to buy but more expensive to own. Even if two cars have about the same price, one might depreciate faster or cost more to insure and maintain. Before you commit to a car, you should estimate its long-term ownership costs. These include depreciation, insurance, maintenance and fuel costs.
It can help you make a smart decision up front that can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the car.
The old method of car shopping had you visiting dealerships in person to see inventory and find out if the cars had the options you wanted. Now, using the dealer inventory tools on Edmunds, you can quickly cover more ground and save money. Once you have an idea of the car you want, you can easily see its availability.
If you don't find what you want in your immediate area, select a greater distance to search. You also can filter your search to find cars in a specific color, with different options or with Edmunds Special Offers. Edmunds Special Offers apply to new-vehicle leases and purchases and give you an upfront, guaranteed price on a specific car.
The perfect car, according to science
Once you're ready to lease or buy, we recommend getting a few of these offers since the prices may vary from one dealership to the next. You'll usually hear back from the dealership via an email or phone call soon after you request a special offer. This is the time to verify that the car is in stock, schedule a test drive, and ask any additional questions. If you're not ready to complete the deal, just make a note of which dealerships have the vehicle you want, and contact them when you're ready.
Now that you've found a car that seems as if it might be a good fit for you, call, text or email the dealership's internet department to schedule a day and time for a test drive. Dealerships' internet salespeople are great allies: They cater to informed buyers, tend to be more upfront with pricing, and they're familiar with Edmunds Special Offers.
By making a test-drive appointment with your local dealerships, you ensure that the car will be waiting for you when you arrive. We recommend test-driving about three different vehicles so that you don't limit your options. Try to schedule a few appointments back to back; it will make comparing the cars easier and give you a graceful exit from the dealership. While the salesperson will want to talk numbers after a test drive, you might not be ready.
A car might seem to have all the features you want, but the true test takes place when you are in the driver's seat. You should test-drive the car the way you would drive it during your everyday life. If you commute, try driving the car in both stop-and-go traffic and at highway speeds.
If you trek to the mountains, see if you can find some nearby steep hills to climb. Drive over bumps, take tight corners, and test the brakes in a safe location. Get in and out of the car several times and be sure to sit in the back seat, especially if you plan on carrying passengers.
Check out the cargo space. If you plan on using children's car seats, bring yours along to test for fit and ease of installation. Take pictures of the cars so you can reference them later. While you are evaluating the car, don't be distracted.
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Take your time looking everything over. A good salesperson will respect your need to experience the car and will let you focus on the driving experience. Turn off the stereo so you can listen to the sound of the engine.
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- Which Car Best Fits You?.
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You can evaluate the sound system when you return to the dealership. If the conversation does turn to questions about whether you'd like to talk about purchasing or leasing, you can say that you're still in the test-drive stage. After test-driving several cars, the choice should be clear. If it isn't, sleep on it. In the morning, you might have your answer. If not, you might need to take a few steps back and drive more cars. It's better to take longer in the shopping phase than have buyer's remorse later.
While making the right decision is important, it's also good to realize that there isn't one perfect answer. Today's cars are safer than ever before. They get better gas mileage. They have amenities at a lower cost than in the past. In short, there could be several good vehicle choices, and the final decision is really a matter of individual taste.
Now that you've done research that, we hope, makes you feel confident you've found the right car for you, it's time to become a car buyer or lessee. Here are articles that will take you through the actual car-buying or car-leasing process, including brief refreshers of some steps: "10 Steps to Leasing a New Car" , "8 Steps to Buying a New Car" and "10 Steps to Buying a Used Car.
As a senior consumer advice editor, Ron helps shoppers navigate car buying. He has plenty of firsthand knowledge since he buys and sells the cars in the Edmunds long-term test fleet. Popular searches. My Account. Step 1. Assess Your Needs The "right car" depends on who you are and what you expect from a car.