What Car Do You Need?

MSNBC offers guidance on developing a simple spreadsheet to help you zero in on the right vehicle.

Published: 20-Jan-2006

lass=textBodyBlack>How can you figure out what kind of car you need when it's time to buy? Here's one way. Take a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line one third of the way from the left. You'll have two columns now, one twice as big as the other. In the first column, list all the kinds of automobiles available:

In the right-hand column, jot down answers to the following questions:

Now, begin reconciling the two lists and eliminating the vehicle types that don't meet your needs. If you spend a lot of time buying antique furniture, for example, or transporting large animals between zoos, you probably won't want a small sports car with leather seats. If you drive 90% of the time in the city or in heavy, slow traffic, you might not want a gas-guzzler or something that's difficult to park.

Your goal is to get down to one vehicle category. Once you do that, you can begin narrowing the field even further.

To learn about the ins and outs of the car-buying process, check out the Fool's How to Buy a Car area, and ask any questions on our Buying and Maintaining a Car discussion board. (Don't forget to get tips on car insurance, and other important kinds of insurance, at our Insurance Center.) Here are a few more good car-buying resources:

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