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Picking Out a New Car for Your Loved One

The Top Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping for a Vehicle

Selecting a vehicle for a spouse, child, or loved one is a grand gesture that they will likely never forget. However, shopping for a vehicle for someone else is quite a bit different than selecting one for yourself. The biggest challenge with this process is putting yourself in the shoes of your loved one and assessing their needs and preferences.

Essentially, you have to forget about what you like and think about what they like. So, where do you start?

The following lays out our top four tips for picking out a vehicle for your loved one. Once we’ve shared our top pieces of advice, we will provide some information on how to find new cars for sale in your area.

#1 – Consider the Vehicle They Currently Drive

Does your loved one currently own a vehicle that they’ve driven for a long time? Do they tend to lean towards a certain type of vehicle, such as a small sedan? Have they mentioned a car they liked recently?

Questions like these will help you establish your loved one’s vehicle preferences to narrow down the selection. Use the information that you know about them and apply it when shopping for vehicles. For instance, if your spouse has never driven anything other than an SUV, then it’s safe to say they won’t want to suddenly switch things up and go with a hatchback.

#2 – Be Mindful of the Vehicle’s Safety Rating and Features

Although handling and performance are certainly top of mind, nothing trumps the importance of keeping your loved one safe when they’re behind the wheel. Every modern car these days comes with a myriad of safety and intelligent driver assistance features. However, some of these vehicles are more advanced than others.

So, how do you determine which vehicles guarantee the safest driving experience? Look no further than the Top Safety Picks from the folks over at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which is an independent, nonprofit that specializes in testing vehicle safety and providing objective information for consumers. Each year, they provide a list of their Top Safety Picks that have performed well in crash tests.

#3 – Consider the Overall Cost of Ownership

If you’re gifting a car to a loved one, chances are, you’re paying for the initial purchase while things like maintenance and gas will fall on them. With that in mind, it’s important to consider your loved one’s budget in relation to the overall cost of ownership.

If you’re buying for a student or a relative that’s on a fixed income, make sure to give them something with the best possible fuel economy. This is especially important if they have a long commute or tend to travel a lot.

The other area that cost of ownership applies to oil changes, brake checks, and other basic maintenance. You don’t want to give your loved one a car that requires a ton of upkeep. We have a couple of recommendations on this:

  1. Pay attention to what is and isn’t covered under the vehicle’s warranty. Some warranty packages include covered carefree maintenance for the first two or three years, which can save your loved one a lot of money.
  1. Research which vehicle brands are most reliable and which ones tend to have issues. There are several pieces of reporting that break down which brands have a track record of being problematic. Performing this due diligence now will save your loved one some headaches down the line.

#4 – Consider Their Feature Preferences

Infotainment and convenience features are what transform a vehicle into an experience. However, that doesn’t mean you have to buy the highest trim level possible. Your loved one might not use every bell and whistle, which means you need to consider what features are must-haves and which ones are a pass.

Once you identify the one or two vehicles you’re considering for your final purchase, you can do a side-by-side comparison on the vehicle manufacturer’s website. This allows you to compare trim levels and their features in a way that’s easy on the eyes.

Final Resort – Just Ask What They Like

OK, so maybe you’re a little tentative about buying a vehicle for your loved one without their input. That’s fine. If you’re okay with losing the surprise factor, you can always include your loved one in the shopping process by asking them for some guidance. This helps you avoid having to play any guessing games.

To officially kick off the shopping process, you can Google the phrase “new car dealerships near me” or a version of that phrasing. This will bring up numerous listings of new vehicle dealerships in your direct vicinity. Once you’re on the dealer’s website, you can use the search criteria fields and filtering options to narrow down the selection to a vehicle your loved one will be thrilled to drive.