While the price of a new car means a considerable cash layout, financing, or a combination of the two, plus a projected cost-to-drive/anticipated maintenance, it’s smart to shop carefully before you select the make and model you really like and feel comfortable with–and that you can expect to provide reliable transportation for the long-term. In short, you want a car that’s “cool,” fun to drive, serves your driving needs, and will evidence the fewest problems versus the competitors.
You need to consider a host of factors while you’re car shopping, when you take a test drive, and before you sign the paperwork. Among the most important:
–which brand do you have a lot of confidence in? which brands are well-known for dependability and fewer repair headaches?
–what kind of driving do you do the most (stop-and-go city driving with lots of short trips; family-on-the-go driving, including multiple drivers, picking up the kids and their friends; hauling large items, etc.)?
–which car(s) offer the most comfort (assess bigger considerations like responsive handling, acceleration, braking capability, and steadiness of the ride in addition to the interior ‘creature comforts’ like seating materials and number of cup holders)?
–what advanced safety features are available or standard, and on what trim levels?
–do you ‘fit’ the car, and vice versa? Are the visibility and legroom good? Are the gauges, dials and infotainment controls up to par, logical, and all that you need for connecting your devices?
–can you (and other drivers/passengers) get in and out of the car easily?
But wait, you might think. . .I’m buying a new car.
What can go wrong with a car straight off the showroom floor?
Again, look–and listen—carefully before you choose.
Do the brakes squeak? Is the engine quiet? What’s the real mileage you can expect (whether it’s a gas, electric or hybrid engine)? Are the interior finishes (handles, fabrics, trim) good quality and designed for long, sometimes punishing, use?
Sticker price can be a good indicator, but not always a guarantee of dependability and quality for the money.
In fact, Consumer Reports recently published its Annual Auto Survey (2016 edition) with their list rating today’s “10 Most Reliable Cars.” The magazine concludes, “We predict these cars will give owners fewer problems than their competitors, based on data collected on over half a million vehicles.”
The survey’s picks for reliability range from the $23,145 (price as tested) redesigned Chevrolet Cruze (based on one year of reliability data), cited for a fuel-saving start-stop feature and new infotainment system, to the Audi Q7 luxury SUV ($68,695 price as tested), selected for the firmness of the ride and interior finish among other pluses.
The “top ten” list is rounded out by the Toyota Prius, Lexus CT 200h, Infiniti Q70, Audi Q3, Lexus GX, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Toyota 4Runner and Lexus GS.
No matter what car you have your eye on, no matter what your price range is, keep in mind fit, functionality, and above all reliability and dependability before your drive it home.