If you are a single man and do not depend primarily on your car for commuting to your work, then go for anything as you wish.
There are coupes which have capacity for 4 persons but only two big doors. Primarily these cars are designed keeping in view for two, driver and one passenger. The other model is the sedan which has capacity for 5 and has 4 doors. This can also be called a family car. Depending on the size of the car, they are categorized as Compact, Mid-sized and Full. Compact cars are very small in size and have a good mileage per gallon too. Some manufacturers even make two seated compact cars. The power of the compact car is also little less than the cars of other categories. There are other cars that have powerful engines and are rated as sports cars.
On the contrary, if you have a big family and need more space in your vehicle, then go for van/SUV. But I wont suggest this idea to people who have just come to US, before/after marriage and don’t have any kids.
Besides, it is always your dream and desire that makes you to go for a particular type and model. But before deciding upon something, you must give a thought to the other factors like, the mileage, sitting capacity, transmission, trunk capacity, engine power, ease of driving/safety, interior, power doors and anti-theft devices. Also your affordability plays a major role in purchasing a vehicle.
Do you have a driver license yet? It is most important to have one before going for a vehicle. Various states have different rules for issuing drivers license. You can logon to Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) sites to know about the pre-requisites and methods of getting one driver license for your state. Normally it involves a written examination, minor vision test and a road test.
The never-ending comparison
Now you have to decide whether to buy a new car or a used car. I wont suggest you any thing or force you to go for what I think is right, but you must know the good and bad things involved in each.
* They are cheaper.
* They may be old.
* They might have more than one owner.
* They could be purchased from private parties or authorized dealers.
* They might have gone through serious maintenance/repair in the past.
* They might have gone through an accident in the past.
* Some parts/components are just about to die.
* There may not be enough warranty/guaranty on some expensive parts.
* The mileage may not be good.
* They may need more maintenance.
* They may not be reliable for long drives.
* Resale may be a headache.
* They are not cheap.
* They are covered under manufacturer/dealer warranty.
* Their fuel efficiency must meet the specification.
* There is the satisfaction of owning a new car.
* Easy to get a finance for new car than a used car.
* No need to worry about the engine, body, suspension, tyre, batteries and interior conditions.
* Insurance premium may be higher.
* Can only be bought from an authorized dealer.
There are many other things that can be discussed as advantages and disadvantages under both the headings. However, I don’t want to focus on them right now. If you are convinced to buy a new car, then go for it.
Now it is the time for you to decide the Make, Model and Type of your car. In US you will find hundreds of Make and Models (no Hind Motors/Maruti cars of course). From a Desi prospect I would say it is better to start with Honda/Toyota/Nissan. These Japanese car manufacturers know our requirement and never ditch us on the highways. The engines are good and prices are low. They run long enough before giving up. The life of a Honda/Toyota is considered to be 300K miles. But the look and interior designs are not at par with the American/European cars.
Buying a New Car
Take a cup of coffee, chat with your friends and go through some reviews before you decide upon the make model and color of your first dream car in USA. Check for the existing/upcoming models of your car by logging onto the sites. Select the color and interior and look at the car through the simulator. The most important thing that you must consider here is that, when the next model is going to be released. If it is very soon, then don’t go for it, because after you buy your car, you will see the newer model in the market and the resale value of your car will fall drastically.
Cars with automatic transmission and power window have good resale value. ABS and anti-theft devices are added advantages. Leather interior is as per your wish.
Now you have all the details in your mind and the budget is also finalized. Next step is to study the finance market and look for the bank/credit union who gives the best APR. Also don’t forget to decide upon your auto insurance. Find out a good insurance company and try to get a quote from them. The premium varies from place to place. With all these things set up, go to the Auto-Mall of your city. Go for a test drive for the car you have already decided. Beware of the car sales representatives. They will always try to sale you the most expensive car they have. But you shouldn’t deviate from your decision. Try to bargain with them for a possible reduction in their margin and ask for extra accessories.
What is the status of the loan? Have you arranged one or you want the dealer to make some arrangements for you? Always try to bring down the APR. If you are very new to US and don’t have any credit score, you may not get a good APR. However, dont worry about the APR right now. You can always refinance the loan with a better APR after you buildup the credit history after few months of repayment of the loan.
Once the deal is final, you need to sign some papers and then provide the Insurance details if you have. Otherwise, you could also provide the insurance agents phone number and the sales representative will talk to the insurance agent to get the car insured before leaving their premises (dont worry too much for the insurance premiums now, it is important to get your car insured before you drive out of the dealers premises, however you can easily change your insurance later, if you find a better one). In case you didn’t get any insurance, you can always go for binder insurance, but they are quite expensive, but you can always cancel them in the middle once you establish your insurance with somebody else and get the refund for the unused portion of your premium.