To make sure you buy a car that fits your needs, start by answering these 11 questions:
1. Do I prefer a domestic or an import brand? Does it matter?
2. Do I need a large car, a medium-sized car -- or a small one?
3. Do I need a vehicle with rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive or some sort of all-wheel-drive/4x4 system?
4. Do I prefer a soft ride, a firm, "sporty" ride -- or something in-between?
5. How important is power/performance? Do I need a new car that can do 150 mph?
6. Do I need a vehicle that can carry cargo? How much?
7. What kind of gas mileage is acceptable?
8. How about safety? The presenceof features like side-curtain air bags, stability control and brake assist?
9. What level of warranty coverage meets my expectations? Is three years/36,000 miles enough? Or is the minimum five years/50,000 miles?
10. Is resale/trade-in value a big consideration? Some brands hold their value much better than others.
Your answers to the above will automatically exclude a number of makes/models, narrowing your pool of possible candidates considerably. Now the biggest question:
11. How much do you want to spend ?