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Here are 5 steps to consider when looking for your perfect car.

1. Define Your Style

Spend five minutes researching vehicles and you’ll realize that there’s been a market trend towards SUVs, but the reality is you need to find the type of vehicle that best suits your personal needs. Write down your top three priorities to help you narrow your search.

2. Know How Much Space You Need

If you only need a vehicle to get from point A to point B, a compact vehicle might fit your bill, but if you have a growing family, you’ll need something bigger. Narrow your search by looking at a vehicle class size that fits your needs. Ask yourself: Do I need an SUV, a minivan or a compact sedan?

3. Front, Rear or All-wheel Drive … Gas, Electric or Hybrid

Modern woman filling up car at gas station tank.

Just as vehicles come in different shapes and sizes, they can be propelled in different ways — front, rear or all-wheel drive. There’s also a greater selection of fuel choices these days — gas, electric or hybrid. Finding the right setup for the climate and road conditions where you live is key. And, with increased driving range and charging stations popping up across Canada, it’s now possible to drive an electric vehicle from the Rockies to the Maritimes, and lessen your carbon footprint.

4. Work Within Your Budget

Whether you’re buying new or used, figure out your budget before going to the dealership. Know how much you’re comfortable paying monthly or borrowing as a vehicle loan. Buying used may save you the depreciation costs, but with a new vehicle, you could get all the latest safety features and technology.

5. Factor in Cost of Ownership

Just because a vehicle is a good price to begin with doesn’t mean it will continue to be easy on the pocketbook for the long term. Insurance, cost of repairs, fuel and the availability of parts all play parts in the cost of ownership.

  • Vehicles that have high safety ratings are typically cheaper to insure than sports vehicles.
  • Top sellers may have parts more readily available when it comes time for repairs, which could make them a bit more affordable to fix.
  • Pickup trucks and SUVs hold their value well and often aren’t too expensive to insure, but you typically will pay at the pump with lower fuel economy.
  • As people become more environmentally conscious, eco-friendly vehicles have emerged as an attractive alternative to gas-powered cars — with potentially higher up-front prices but potentially significant savings in operating costs.

Modern woman filling up car at gas station tank.

When you've found your perfect vehicle, find a dealership that offers RBC Automotive Finance.