If you’re like me, your mind might start to glaze over at the thought of choosing a new car for your family. Practical, safe, affordable…these aren’t the sexiest terms. Combined with the onslaught of information and statistics, your mind can start to drift off to a beach somewhere with your only hard choice being between a frosty margarita versus a delicious Mai Tai. Try to focus with me here! This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make all year.
Just because it’s a family car, it doesn’t have to be boring. And the choice doesn’t have to be painful. The key is in utilizing the proper tools. My go-to site for automobile research is Cars.com. The site is a treasure trove of information, with powerful comparison tools, in-depth reviews, and even advice on safety and repair.
This site is like having a super-informed car geek best friend, who can be with you at all times to offer advice and caution. I know especially for women, car salesmen can see us coming from a mile off and start doing this little victory dance of “oh hey I bet I can pull a fast one on her”. Which is silly because A. many women love grease and engines and sleek design as much as any man and B. even if they don’t, women tend to be some of the most savvy and informed shoppers. The best way to stop the victory dance of deception short is to arrive armed with knowledge and numbers!
Whether you’re a harried mom with a car full of young children to tote around or the parent of a teen just learning to drive (or both, in which case, bless you and may you again sleep through the night someday) safety is probably your number one priority. Cars.com offers informative articles based on real-world testing that cover pretty much every aspect you can think of, even including video reviews of car seat placement, in multiple configurations to show the ever-changing needs of growing children.
You can also use this site and others to research which cars have the latest new safety features to help put your mind at ease. Some key items to look for include a back-up camera, anti-lock braking system, blind spot monitor, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, tire pressure monitoring, and automatic parallel parking.
Once you have a list of features that are important to you, you can narrow down your search to vehicles with those features and cross-compare them for cost and availability. Before deciding on a particular seller, you can read reviews from their specific customers until you find a dealer who is trustworthy.
As with all things, knowledge is power. Empower yourself and soon your family will be riding in safety and style.