How to Drive into 2023 with a New Car or SUV
The end of the year is the perfect time to shop for a new vehicle. A fresh start deserves a brand-new set of wheels. However, the market of new cars for sale in Houston is vast, which may make the shopping process a challenge.
Where do you start your search?
Who is going to give you the best deal?
And are there any tax credits you can take advantage of?
We will address these questions and more as we break down the best way to look for a new vehicle in Houston.
First Things First – Set a Budget
Before you start clicking through car dealership websites or hitting showroom floors, you need to determine your ceiling for how much you’re willing to spend on a new car. This figure could either be the total price of the car or the monthly payment you make.
Most people find it easier to shop according to the monthly cost. Just be sure that you include things such as sales tax, insurance, and the interest rate. Going strictly off the sticker price is going to provide an artificially low payment.
Use the Internet to Your Advantage
Once you have a budget firmly in mind, you can begin the shopping process. It’s usually best to determine if you want a car, truck, or SUV first. Additionally, if you have a specific make and model in mind, that will further aid your search. The goal here is to identify a handful of vehicles that:
- Are within your budgetary constraints
- Fit your core needs, such as gas mileage or storage
- Fulfill the majority of your wants, such as infotainment or safety features
- Meet your warranty needs
The advantage of internet searching is that there are plenty of filtering options shoppers can use to narrow things down. Once you have your selection down to two or three cars that are serious contenders, you can move on to the next step – test driving.
Test Driving Like a Pro
When it comes to test driving, it helps to think of it like a job interview. The vehicle is essentially auditioning for you and making the case as to why you should make it your daily driver. So, when you test drive, make sure you have all those important performance metrics in mind.
Does the car accelerate well, or does it feel sluggish?
How does it feel when cornering and making lane changes?
Is the feature package impressive and intuitive or does it feel one-note?
Focus on function, of course, but don’t forget to focus on the feel of the vehicle, too. That’s what test driving is all about. When test driving, make sure to:
- Drive the car at slow to moderate speeds through residential areas
- Drive the car at high speeds on the interstate
- Drive the car in reverse
- Drive the car uphill
- Take several left-hand and right-hand turns
- Thoroughly test the brakes
- Test all the most important features
Getting the Best Deal on a New Vehicle
Here’s where things get interesting with the new car shopping process. The MSRP is the sticker price that’s selected by the manufacturer; however, that figure is not set in stone. When it comes to new cars, buyers should be cognizant of the following:
- Deals and specials: Many new car dealerships run limited time deals to entice buyers. Some examples include “no money down” and “no payments for the first three months.” It’s entirely possible that two dealerships carry the same car that you want, but one of them is running a special while the other one isn’t. Rebates are another often overlooked cost saving benefit.
- Negotiation: Dealerships are in the business of selling cars. Some of them may be flexible on the sticker price if you know how to negotiate.
- Tax credits: Per the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, certain electric vehicles are eligible for a tax credit that’s worth up to $7,500. However, there are some stipulations. First, the vehicle must be assembled in North America. Second, the manufacturer sales cap must not be met, which is the max amount of vehicles that are eligible for the credit by the automaker. Tesla, for instance, has already met their sales cap for their 2023 lineup of vehicles.
Time to Start Car Shopping
Now that you know the most efficient way to shop for a car, what to do during test driving, and what cost-saving measures to employ – you are now ready to start searching for new cars in Houston.
Remember, the internet is your friend here. Do as much shopping and research that you can on your own before hitting the car lots. This will help you out immensely once you arrive at the test-driving phase. You can kick off your search right now by Googling the phrase “new cars for sale in Houston.” That should bring up numerous new car dealerships in the area.