How to choose the right car every time

Overhead view of a very full parking lot

Written by Centennial Credit

Dec 9, 2020

Choosing a new vehicle can be a stressful task. There are so many options and there’s so much information online it can be difficult to be confident in your decision. For most people, buying a vehicle is the second biggest purchase after buying a house. Mistakes can be very expensive.

The most important aspect of any vehicle is how it functions for YOU. It’s easy to get swept up in the novelty of getting a new vehicle and it can be tempting to choose a vehicle that you want rather than what you need.

It would be a blast to drive a two-door sports car every day, but the reality is that it would get old very quickly as you start running into ‘space issues.

In order to give yourself the best chance of selecting a vehicle that you will be happy with for a long, long time you should prioritize utility, finances, and preferences – in that order. Today, we’ll be talking about utility.


How a vehicle functions for you is by far the most important factor. Above all else, you need to make sure that your new car does what you need it to do, otherwise it will be incredibly frustrating and you may end up regretting your decision. That’s not fun since that decision potentially cost you tens of thousands of dollars.


The people in your life may be the single most important factor when choosing a new vehicle. Of course your new vehicle needs to hold everyone that’s important and that you interact with on a regular basis.

For example, if you have a spouse and children, that two-door sports car probably won’t get you very far compared to a more traditional 5 (or 7) seater. Some questions to ask yourself when considering how the other people in your life will interact with your new vehicle are:

  • How many seats do I need for my immediate family?
  • Will I have guests in my car frequently?
  • Do I have anyone in my life with special needs or requirements?
  • Do I take my pets with me often in my vehicle?
  • Is the new vehicle I’m considering easy to get in and out of?

This is certainly not an exhaustive list but it gives you a good place to start thinking about what’s most important.


This may seem obvious but it can be easily overlooked. The places you will be regularly driving and storing (parking) your new vehicle are also very important. This becomes a factor in two primary places: at home and at work.

Some questions to ask yourself about your new vehicle with respect to where you’ll be using it are:

  • Do you have a long commute – are the seats suitable for long rides?
  • Do you drive in the city often?
  • If you drive in the city often, is the new vehicle easy to park or maneuver in tight spaces?
  • If you drive on the highway often is the vehicle comfortable at higher speeds?
  • If you drive long distances regularly is the fuel mileage acceptable for what you can afford?
  • If you have a garage will the new vehicle fit inside?
  • Will the new vehicle have enough space in your driveway?


In addition to who your new vehicle will be hauling and where it will be driven, the things you need to take with you are also very important.

The outdoors-person probably wouldn’t enjoy owning the two-door sports car we mentioned previously. You can’t fit very much of anything in sports cars, although they are a blast to drive.

Here are some things to think about with respect to what you need your new vehicle to do for you:

  • What do you do for fun? What do you need to take with you to perform this activity?
  • Does your family frequently travel with belongings? For example, if your kids play sports they most likely need to bring their equipment with them to and from the sport.
  • Do your pets have any specific needs or requirements?
  • If you’re going to frequently haul equipment with you, is the interior durable enough and functional enough to haul what you’ve got?
  • Do you need to haul any sort of trailer or do you need a space larger than the average rear cargo space?


Asking questions like the ones in this article will help you to identify what really matters when choosing your next vehicle. Choosing a vehicle with features that we need instead of what we want may seem like it takes away some excitement from buying a new vehicle. 

In reality, it will enrich your ownership experience because having a vehicle that functions well for your lifestyle will provide far more happiness than one that looks good, but doesn’t work well for you.

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