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If you’re new to car buying or haven’t made a purchase in many years, it can be hard to know where to start. How do you choose the car that will suit your needs for years to come? It just takes a little research. When you know the kind of car you want, you can then decide whether you want to buy a new car, lease a new car, or buy a used car. It’s easy to find the car that will exactly suit your needs for years to come. It just takes some forethought and planning.

Step 1. What are you looking for?

That depends on who you are and what you expect from a car. Some buyers like to make a statement with our cars, some are eco friendly, some are both. Some like to go off roading on weekends or to car shows. In those cases, practicality tends to take a back seat to how the car makes you feel.

But for those who need a vehicle for daily duties, functionality should trump flash. Here are some practical considerations to keep in mind:

  • How many passengers do you need to carry?
  • What type of driving do you do? Is it primarily highway, surface streets, off-road?
  • Do you have a long commute and, because of that, is fuel economy important to you?
  • Do you need all-wheel drive?
  • What are your must-have features? Think reverse camera, leather seats, Apple CarPlay, Self-Parking, Bluetooth etc.
  • What safety features are important to you? Do you want blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking, for example?
  • What cargo capacity do you need?
  • Will you be using children’s car seats?
  • Will you be doing any towing?
  • How much garage or parking space do you have?

Step 2. Set Your Budget

Unless you’re paying cash for your car, you’ll need to think about financing your purchase or lease. How much can you really afford to allocate toward a car payment each month. Getting pre-approved for a Loan is a great first step.

Step 3. Decide If You Want to Lease or Buy

Leasing and buying each have pros and cons, and how you feel about these may help guide your decision on which route to take.

For example, a lease requires little or no money down and offers lower monthly payments. But when the lease ends, you have no car and will need to go shopping again. On the other hand, buying a car is more expensive initially, and the monthly payments are higher. But when you pay off the loan, you will own a car that you can drive for as long as it runs.

Here are a few more factors to consider when deciding between leasing and buying:


  • You can drive a more expensive car for less money.
  • You can drive a new car with the latest technology every few years.
  • Most repairs will be covered under the factory warranty.
  • There are no trade-in hassles at the end of the lease.


  • 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.

Our specialist car buyers can give you options and advice.

Step 4. Consider Other Cars in the Class

Do you have your heart set on a specific car? 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. Research and compare similar cars to find the one that truly suits your requirements.

If, on the other hand, you only know what type of vehicle you want — an SUV for example — you can let an iChallenge Car buying expert give you some options, its free.

Step 5. Other costs to consider

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.

Step 6. Pick Your Car

The internet makes this easy. It’s better to take longer in the shopping phase than have buyer’s remorse later. There could be several good vehicle choices, and the final decision is really a matter of individual taste.

We strongly suggest you get your loan pre-approved before you fall prey to car yard finance, you will have a better idea of your budget, and be in control of the purchase.

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