Investing on the Road Ahead - Purchasing a First Vehicle


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Purchasing a car is one of the first big investments for most teenagers and their families. Not only is it a big purchase, but a long term one. Many things must be taken into consideration before purchasing a vehicle in order to know what type is the best fit for the buyer. However, there is even more than desired qualities to decide on in order to choose a car that can save big money down the road.  

Most teenage mindsets have one main concept in mind –the need for speed. However, while speed may be fun –it isn’t really safe, nor is it legal in most cases. Making a purchase of a more expensive vehicle just for its speed abilities isn’t a very smart purchase –especially if the vehicle has no other practicalities. Factors to keep in mind are safety ratings, gas mileage, cargo space, and transmission type. It is wasteful, for example, for a teenager who does not know how to drive a manual transmission to buy a car with one, unless they have somebody to help them learn to drive it and they are dedicated to learning how. If a driver is not absolutely sure that they will be dedicated to learn, then automatic transmission is best considered.

Safety is always a top priority, and before making a purchase, crash test ratings should be checked using credible online sites. Sites like Kelley Blue Book can help by displaying ratings and reviews for car models and years, as well as calculate the price range for a used car based on miles. Teenagers, responsible or not, are more likely than any other driver to be involved in a wreck, and car crashes are one of the leading causes of teenage deaths. If the car in question of purchase did not seem to perform well in crash tests, especially offset, that is a red flag to consider a different vehicle type.

It may also be wise to account for how long the buyer wants to keep the car. If buying used, purchasing a car with relatively low miles may cost a bit more at the beginning, but in the long run will be fit to last a lot longer. Choosing cars with high reliability ratings is key, and those who want to keep their car past college may consider a less sporty car for practicality. A Honda Civic Si or Toyota Matrix S may not be as glamorous as that Mustang or Camaro, but with cargo space, good mileage, high reliability, and safety ratings, they will fit post college life and still have a little bit of sportiness without being as expensive to insure as a pure sports car.

So, while purchasing a car may seem overwhelming, finding a car that will last long and hold up is worth sacrificing sportiness. Also, paying a little more now for low miles will definitely pay off down the road. 

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