4 things to consider when buying a vehicle
(BPT) - The pandemic changed our travel habits considerably, and forced us to reconsider how we get around safely. For example, the latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index found that three-quarters of Americans don’t feel comfortable taking public transportation because of the coronavirus pandemic, leading more people to get behind the wheel.
This increase in drivers is having an impact on our car buying decisions: Data showed that 44% of Americans have already considered a new vehicle purchase. Many are likely to be first-time car buyers, too, as over half of Gen Z and millennials are thinking about a new vehicle purchase.
In addition to the usual considerations when buying a vehicle — cost, performance, safety and reliability — the events of 2020 have raised new questions. After a year of significant change, here are four things to consider when buying a new vehicle.
Your vehicle is just as much about comfort as it is mobility
We’re spending more time in our cars, even when we’re not going places — waiting in parking lots for grocery orders, lining up at drive-thrus, or even taking a conference call when home gets a little too noisy! So a vehicle’s interior should be a nice place to spend your time.
The good news is that there are plenty of standard features and affordable options to make that possible. The Gauge Index found that Americans consider everything from Bluetooth connectivity (62%) and in-dash navigation (57%), to remote and keyless start tech (56%) as important factors when choosing their vehicles.
Self-healing tire technology was also rated as an important feature by 56% of Americans — a useful feature at any time, and crucial when one may not want to come into close contact with others for an emergency tire change!
Is it finally time to plug in?
With increased range, lower prices and expansions in charging infrastructure, electric vehicles (EVs) are increasingly becoming a choice for drivers, with 62% of Americans likely to consider an EV.
Deciding if it’s time to go electric means considering a few important factors. The first is range: What do you anticipate to be your regular mileage between charges? The average range of today’s electric vehicles should be more than enough for daily commuting, errands and even the occasional afternoon road trip.
Then, make sure you have access to charging infrastructure at home and at your frequent destinations. And calculate the true financial benefit, taking into account rebates, credits and a newfound freedom from the petrol pump.
Take time to kick the tires.
When buying a new vehicle, check the tires it comes with to ensure they’re best suited for the weather conditions where you live. This is especially important when driving regularly in inclement weather where an all-weather tire like the Hankook Kinergy 4S2 can save you money down the road. Less than half (47%) of Americans can accurately identify the difference between all-weather and all-season tires, so here’s the cheat sheet: All-weather tires manage rain and snow while also delivering year-round performance; all-season tires prioritize comfort and fuel economy over ice and snow traction.
If you’re switching to electric, your tire choice could impact your ride comfort, mileage and road noise. These are already important for a regular vehicle but for an EV, where range is key and there’s just the quiet hum of the electric motor, you’ll want to pay extra attention to these features on your tires.
Looking ahead, post-pandemic.
With a new year on the horizon and the hope of restrictions easing in 2021, it’s important to ask if your vehicle needs now will be the same in six to 12 months’ time.
That’s because a vehicle purchase isn’t just for a few months; it’s a lengthy investment that brings insurance, registration and maintenance responsibilities. If a new vehicle purchase only serves your needs now, it may be worth managing with what you have for a few more months.
The past year has been one of change and upheaval. So if that means it’s time for a new set of wheels, these questions will help you not only choose the vehicle you need, but the driving experience you want, for the years ahead.
Purchasing a new vehicle, while exciting, can be a burden for many shoppers. A variety of options and considerations for each make and model can turn the decision-making process into a stressful situation. These vehicle options offer a multitude of benefits, each with its own strengths, for car buyers shopping in the new year.
Cars to Consider for 2019
(Family Features) Purchasing a new vehicle, while exciting, can be a burden for many shoppers. A variety of options and considerations for each make and model can turn the decision-making process into a stressful situation.
To help make that part of the car-buying process a little less difficult, consider these podium finalists for Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, Truck of the Year and SUV of the Year. Each finalist is evaluated using six criteria: safety, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence and performance of intended function.
These podium finalists offer a multitude of benefits, each with its own strengths, for car buyers shopping in the new year. Learn more about 2019 cars to consider at motortrendawards.com.
Sporty and Stylish – For a fun yet serious sedan, the Genesis G70 features punchy powertrains that support an agile, sporty chassis wrapped in classy exterior styling with strong graphics and a well-appointed interior. As the first sports sedan from Hyundai’s luxury line, this sleek model packs power.
Excellent Efficiency – Cruise the roads with 50 miles-per-gallon efficiency in the Honda Insight, a smartly packaged hybrid featuring thoughtful style and storage solutions, plus seamless and silent adaptive cruise control performance. With lane-keeping assist that rates among the industry’s best, its smooth ride competes with luxury vehicles while combining efficiency and style.
A Craving for Variety – If deciding between vehicle models is causing fits, consider these options from Volvo. For a fresh, modern interior with comfortable seating, the S60 sedan and V60 wagon deliver all-round performance with base 2.0-liter turbos, meaning you don’t have to pay extra for power. Or, for stylish appeal with a familiar turbo-four engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, the XC40 compact crossover provides quick acceleration and spirited steering response.
Electric Excitement – Power and torque don’t go by the wayside with Jaguar’s I-Pace, the maker’s first electric car and first all-electric SUV which boasts about 200 miles of real-world battery range. Add the adjustable ride-height for added off-road capability and one of the most original automotive designs in years, and this set of wheels can have you riding in unique style.
Rethinking an Iconic Ride – Configured to equally suit the ambitions of the off-roading newbie and expert alike, 2019’s thoughtful, thorough rework of the Jeep Wrangler features significant tech updates for the American original.
Time for a Truck – Featuring a new design, cylinder deactivation and an automatic trailer light test, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado offers more versions, more space and more options. Rear bumper corner steps and three cargo hooks at each bed corner deliver functionality, while a smooth High Country 10-speed automatic transmission makes for a smoother ride for truck buyers.
Go Ahead and Haul – If you’re in the market for a workhorse truck combined with plush luxury and tech-forward thinking, the GMC Sierra fits as a versatile cargo-hauler. This truck differentiates itself with the MultiPro tailgate, adaptive ride control and a carbon-fiber bed. The powerful drive of a 6.2-liter engine combined with a 10-speed transmission and overall body control while towing makes this truck a key asset for long-distance hauls.
Work or Play – The best-in-class styling of the Ram 1500 – sophisticated and well-executed without going over the top – packs an interior outfitted with the tools needed for activities ranging from fun to function. A 48-volt mild hybrid system saves fuel while coil-spring dampers and an optional air suspension provide a luxury car-like ride.SOURCE:
If you are one of the millions of Americans looking to buy a car, here are the five things you need to know before you step foot on a dealer’s lot.
(BPT) - Car buying - It's crucial to know how to navigate what can be an overwhelming and exhausting process.
“USAA helps members find, finance and insure vehicles that are right for their personal needs and financial goals,” says Heather Pollard, vice president of Auto Experience at USAA. “We want to avoid you ever having to regret your purchase decision, or worse, lead to financial hardships where you can no longer afford to keep your vehicle.”
If you are one of the millions of Americans looking to buy a car, here are the five things you need to know before you step foot on a dealer’s lot.
Know what you can afford.
The first and most important question to answer before launching into the car-buying process is “how much can I afford?” Figuring this out will help you determine whether you are in the market for a new or used vehicle. A good starting point is to use 15-18 percent of your take-home pay as a gauge for your total vehicle budget including the loan, insurance, gas and maintenance.
Next decision, how will you pay for it? There are numerous ways to manage the financial burden for purchasing a new car, including taking out a loan. If you have decided to go the loan route, determine how much you can afford in monthly payments. Banks or another financial institution might offer lower interest rates than a car dealer. Aim to pay off the loan within three to five years.
“Get pre-approved for an auto loan amount and interest rate so you know where you stand before you begin shopping,” says Renée Horne, vice president of Consumer Lending at USAA Bank. “Look for low loan rates and flexible terms to fit your budget needs versus being steered by dealers into a decision solely based on monthly payment, which often results in paying more in interest for the overall loan term.”
Another idea is to sell or trade in your new graduate’s current vehicle. If you plan to do this, factor in the cash value of that car and then add your planned down payment, typically 15-20 percent. You can use online tools such as USAA’s Auto Loan Calculator to get an estimate of what the end price tag will be.
Determine the total cost of ownership.
It is important to understand the total cost of ownership before surprising your graduate with the car of their dreams. Everything from gas to auto insurance will be an extra expense added on to the monthly cost for a new or used car and something everyone in the family needs to consider.
When receiving an auto insurance quote, note that collision and comprehensive coverage generally cost less for used cars. If purchasing an older car, consider getting pricing for Extended Vehicle Protection coverage before you go to the dealer.
Keep an open mind.
Once you have established what you can afford and the total cost of ownership, it is time to discover what features and styles you or your teen want in a car. Prioritize a list of the features you would like to see. For the teen in your life, safety is usually at the top. Next, assess how much they will be using this car and what for. Are they commuting to school or a job? Remember to keep an open mind and be flexible — stay open to two or three models that would meet your teen driver’s needs and your or their budget.
Do your research.
Everyone can agree that dealerships can be overwhelming and intimidating. Research your market first. Try the USAA Car Buying Service to see what’s out there and find vehicles that come with exclusive member discounts.
If you are looking into the used car market, always run a background check. You can get a vehicle history report from Carfax, which can help verify ownership history, mileage and accident history. Also, make sure the used vehicle has never been salvaged by entering the vehicle identification number into the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s system.
Go for a test drive.
After picking out a few of your top favorites, it is time to see how the car operates on the real road. Hit the highway to properly gauge a car’s performance, and inspect the car for mileage, tread, etc. If possible, run the car by a trusted mechanic for an under-the-hood inspection to forecast longevity and maintenance needs. Remember, factory warranties usually transfer depending on the mileage.
(BPT) - If you’re in the market for a new car, you might be thinking about leasing. After all, it seems very attractive on the surface — so attractive that leases accounted for one-third of all vehicles sales nationally in 2016. Taking a closer look though, you may be surprised to see there's more than meets the eye in some lease offers. So, here are a few need-to-know nuggets about leasing a car.
Cash up front is required.
If you're thinking that leasing gets you out of needing cash for a down payment, think again. That low monthly payment you’re after comes with upfront costs like taxes, registration, tags and other fees all due at signing. This could cost you thousands of dollars. And, if you want to lower the monthly payment even further, you’ll have to put additional funds toward the cost of the lease to get your payment where you want it to be.
Bells and whistles cost extra.
Just like when you’re buying a new car, the extras cost more. Advertised lease specials are usually for the base model — not the one with the navigation and safety packages you’re probably coveting.
Adding on all the bells and whistles to your vehicle will mean higher payments because that raises the price of the car. Again, you may have to put an additional deposit down to land the payment you think you can afford.
Not owning means no asset.
Leasing is basically renting a car for an extended period of time — three to five years or so. Unlike buying a car, you won’t have an asset at the end of your lease. Which means you’ll have a decision to make: pay the residual value (the value of the car at the lease's end) to own the car outright, finance the residual or turn in your leased car for another. Regardless, you’ll again need the cash for a down payment or the upfront costs for your next lease — whereas with buying a car you'll have a definitive end to monthly payments. Once your loan is paid off, you can put that money toward savings or paying down debt. Or, you can use your car as a trade-in on another ride or for cash if you ever need to sell it.
Once you're in it, stay in it.
If you get halfway through your lease and decide it’s not for you, you’ll be charged for early termination, something to keep in mind if your financial lifestyle changes often. In some cases, you might be required to continue to pay all regularly scheduled payments or your credit could take a hit.
Understand complex negotiations.
Understanding how a car loan works can sometimes be difficult for a first-timer, and things get even more intricate when you lease. Here are a few terms you may hear during lease negotiations:
Capitalized cost: Cost of the vehicle today.
Lease term: Length of the lease, usually expressed in months.
Residual value: Vehicle’s expected value at the end of the lease.
Depreciation: The difference between the capitalized cost and residual value.
Lease factor, or money factor: Cost of leasing, or interest — usually expressed as a very small number such as .003. Multiply this number by 2,400 to get your interest rate. In this example, that’s 7 percent. As a note, interest rates on leases tend to be higher than those on auto loans.
If you want to ace your lease negotiation, you should study the vocab and have A+ credit, too. You may not get the best deal if you’re unsure about your credit score, leasing terminology or the calculations mentioned above.
Mind your miles.
Depending on how often you get behind the wheel and how far you go, you could be forced to make some lifestyle changes if you lease. Most leases cap mileage somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 miles per year, or a total of 30,000 to 45,000 miles. Driving over this limit could cost you up to 25 cents per mile.
If you drive 30 miles round-trip for your commute, you’re traveling 150 miles over a five-day workweek. That’s nearly 8,000 miles just driving to work each year — 24,000 miles over the course of your lease. Depending on your limit, that doesn’t leave much wiggle room for things like road trips, traveling to sporting events, chauffeuring the kids to extracurriculars or even grabbing a bite to eat downtown. Those things could be taken off the table if you lease. If the freedom of driving whenever, wherever is something you enjoy, a lease may not be the best option.
The choice is yours.
Leasing might be for you if you want to drive a new car every three to five years, can drive within the limits and maintain good credit. On the other hand, today’s cars can easily last 10 years if maintained well, and once fully paid for, allow you to sock away monthly payments for other things. There are sites that offer side-by-side comparisons of buying and leasing to help you make the right choice.
This calculator from Navy Federal Credit Union is just one example. In the end, it's up to you. Armed with the details on the real deal of leasing and your buying options, you're on the road to making the right choice.
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