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With massively inflated prices of everything across the board, car shopping in 2022 can be an absolute nightmare. However, some people have to do it. Whether you’re looking to upgrade, shopping after an insurance payout, or you’re just crazy enough to buy a car in this climate because you feel like it, there are some things to consider. Here are five things to consider before you buy a car this year!

What safety systems are included?

Interior of a 2022 Nissan Altima sedan that's equipped with Nissan Safety Shield® 360
Nissan Altima with Safety Shield® 360 | Nissan

According to Consumer Reports, safety features on a vehicle should be your number one priority when shopping for a new car.

Many active safety systems like forward collision warning systems, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking are not standard equipment on some vehicles. So, it’s important to be sure that you’re getting all the safety systems you want.

“Call the dealership and ask a salesperson which features are on the specific car you plan to buy,” says Kelly Funkhouser, manager for vehicle technology at CR. “Then cross-check the window sticker to make sure the features you want are listed.”

Gas, hybrid, or full electric?

User plugging an EV charger into a 2022 Toyota Prius Prime Plug-in Hybrid
Plug-in hybrid charging | Toyota

Though the cost of cars is through the roof right now, the more concerning issue to most is the cost of gas. So, making the switch to a hybrid or EV can save thousands in gas. Additionally, plug-in hybrids offer a solid middle ground that allows for remarkable fuel economy.

If you’re someone who drives a lot, a hybrid or plug-in hybrid will benefit you greatly. That’s especially true if you don’t have access to 220-volt home charging, considering most plug-in hybrids can charge overnight on a standard 110-volt wall outlet.

However, if you do have access to 220-volt home charging, an EV may be the best choice for you.

Does it meet your needs in terms of towing or road quality?

This Rivian R1T Towing a Heavy Trailer can handle up to 11,000 pounds
Rivian R1T Towing a Heavy Trailer | Rivian

Obviously, if you’re planning on buying a new vehicle for towing, you’re in a bit of a box when it comes to vehicle selection. However, smaller vehicles than you think are capable of pulling small campers and trailers. So, be sure to identify how much towing capacity you need. From there, you’ll be able to see what vehicles meet your needs.

If you frequently drive on rough roads or off-road entirely, again, you’re fairly limited on selection.
However, if you’re considering a 4×4 vehicle because of potential inclement weather, you’d be surprised how far all-wheel drive or even front/rear-wheel drive vehicles can take you with a proper set of snow tires.

How much will maintenance cost?

A mechanic possibly performing common forms of vehicle maintenance on a car.
Mechanic | Getty Images

This is a supremely important question to ask when considering the inflated prices of vehicles in today’s market. Likely, you’ll be taking a pretty substantial depreciation loss over the next few years. That’s especially true when buying a new car at the moment. So, you need to know how much it’s going to cost to maintain it if you intend to keep it for the long run.

Some new vehicles come with complimentary maintenance plans, free oil changes, tire rotations, etc. It’s important to get these services in writing at the time of purchase. Tread lightly with some maintenance packages, though. They aren’t always free and are sometimes rolled into your auto loan.

Do you like the infotainment system?

2022 Kia Rio Sedan infotainment system
2022 Kia Rio Sedan infotainment system | Kia

These 4 Family Sedans Get Over 50 Mpg

This may seem a bit funny, but it isn’t something to be taken lightly. After all, you could be spending the next handful of years interacting with this technology. Something like a little screen lag or a feature you don’t like could get annoying over time.

Make sure you take the vehicle for a test drive and spend some time testing and interacting with the infotainment system and other tech features. After all, you could wind up being woefully annoyed with it right off the bat. Who wants that in their new car?

Furthermore, you should be positive it has all the features you want. Not every car has integrated 110-volt outlets, built-in USB ports, or AM radio.

Shop smart so you’re happy with your purchase

Aside from these critical elements, ensuring general things like cargo and storage space are sufficient for you and your family and that it’s a color you want should result in you enjoying your purchase.

Buying a new car can be stressful! However, with careful planning and research, it doesn’t have to be!