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Choosing your next car to buy or lease is a big decision. With so many choices on the market today it can be difficult to determine which make and model best suites your lifestyle and your budget. Experts agree that taking the time to do some research and planning before heading to the dealership will help you find the perfect car.

The first step in determining which car is best for you is to assess your needs. Your next car should offer more than just good looks, it should be a vehicle that offers all the amenities and functionality you need now and in the future. Consider the following:

  • What type of driving do you do: city driving, surface streets or off-road?
  • Do you drive on wet, icy or muddy roads?
  • How many passengers will you need to transport?
  • How far do you drive each day? (Think about fuel economy)
  • What safety features are important to you?
  • What technology features are important to you: navigation, smartphone integration, etc.?
  • Do you need a large or small cargo capacity?
  • Are you going to be using children’s car seats?
  • Do you plan on towing recreational vehicles or trailers?
  • How much space is in your garage or parking space?

Most new cars are financed for sale or lease through a dealership or financial lender. If you are like most car shoppers you will need to find financing options that fit within your budget. The best advice for determining how much you can afford is to calculate 20% of your monthly take home pay. Experts recommend that monthly car payments should not exceed this amount. By doing this mental prep-work before you start finance negotiations, you can avoid the urge to bite off more than you can chew when that beautiful new dream car is beckoning from the showroom floor.

When it is finally time for the test-drive, call or email the dealership internet department to set up an appointment. Pre-set test-drive appointments save time and guarantee that the model you are interested in will be available to drive when you get there. Once you are behind the wheel, drive like you would everyday. If you are a commuter, drive the car on the highway and in stop-and-go traffic. If you drive on steep inclines, find a hill to climb. If you navigate tight parking spaces, find one and see how well the car can maneuver into small spots. During your drive, check out the sound system to make sure it is to your liking, then turn the radio off and listen to the engine and cabin noise. Be sure to also examine the cargo space and take a minute to sit in the back seat to see how comfortable your passengers will be. If you plan to use a carseat, bring it with you to test the installation.

The most important thing to remember when buying or leasing a new car is that you are in control. Car Dealerships like Five Star Ford on Carrollton are here to help you find and finance a car that you will love to drive for years to come. It is our pleasure to answer your questions and help you conduct the research needed to find your perfect car.