Google Trend Keyword

What You Need To Know Before You Buy A Car

Things To Consider

Size/Market Segment: Sedans come in three basic sizes: compact, midsize and large (or full-size). Market segments include crossover, exotic, hybrid, luxury, performance and sport. Some models don't fit neatly into any one group.

Price: Compact sedans can range from $10,000 for an economy sedan to more than $40,000 for a luxury model. Midsize sedans start around $18,000 and top off in the $80Ks. Large sedans run from the low-$20Ks for your typical family sedan to more than $300K for an exotic.

Engines/Fuel Economy: You'll see four-, five-, six-, eight- and even 12-cylinder engines in this group. Compacts are the best bets for gas mileage, especially the gas-electric hybrids.

Safety: Family shoppers should look at crash test scores and check the availability of features like ABS, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and stability control. Luxury sedans may offer features like parking sensors, run-flat tires, accident preparedness systems and lane-departure warning systems.

Luxury and Convenience Features: Luxuries like automatic climate control, heated seats, in-dash CD changers, navigation systems, keyless startup systems and Bluetooth capability can often be found in non-luxury sedans. Look for them as you shop. If you're a long-distance commuter, look for multiple seat adjustments (particularly lumbar) and plentiful cupholder and storage provisions.

Passenger Capacity/Interior Space: Most compact and midsize sedans can transport four adults in reasonable comfort. Taller families and those with five to carry should consider a large sedan.

Luggage Capacity: Generally, compacts offer 12-13 cubic feet of trunk space, midsize sedans offer 14-16 and large sedans offer 17-21. If you'll be hauling anything bulky, get a sedan with folding rear seats or a ski pass-through.

Do You Need All-Wheel Drive? Some sport sedans come with all-wheel drive for the sake of stability during high-speed maneuvers. General consumers should only pay extra for AWD if they regularly drive in snow or otherwise slippery conditions. Keep in mind that the additional weight of AWD mechanicals often results in lower fuel economy.

Manual vs. Automatic Transmission: Most drivers prefer the ease of an automatic, but a manual gearbox usually offers increased performance and slightly better fuel economy. Some automatics offer an automanual mode, which simulates manual shifting. A growing number of sedans offer a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which provides the same convenience as a regular automatic but is often more responsive and promotes better fuel economy.

Operating Costs: Sedans are the standard by which all other vehicles are judged; although their price and size vary widely, buyers looking for low-cost transportation will inevitably end up with four doors and a trunk. Low-priced compact and midsize sedans are the cheapest to own; they don't use much gas, they don't cost a lot to insure and their lack of complexity keeps repair bills down. Luxury sedans may come with a limited free maintenance plan, but expect higher costs as they age. Higher-performance sedans often cost more to insure and maintain.