“Let’s Meet the Electric Car of your Dreams” That right there is the tagline slathered across our homepage (at least at the time of this writing.) It’s beautiful and hard to miss. It’s more than just a tagline for us because we’re automotive matchmakers at heart. You may think all this talk of hearts and dreams is a bit far-fetched, but we know buying a car is an emotional decision as much as it is a practical one.
Still, most of us have to put a bit of that yearning aside to manage kids, trips to visit the family, sports, and the daily commute. So, for this article, I’m going to talk about how to choose a car based on solid, grown-up decision-making, the kind of decision-making that has lists, brochures, and maybe a bit of tire-kicking. Let’s start searching for the vehicle that’s just right for you.
Don’t Ignore your Triggers
The search for a new vehicle is usually due to a trigger event such as:
- The arrival of a new family member, an uncle, for instance. Just kidding. We’re talking about babies. You’ll likely need more room/seating when a baby shows up.
- You have a repair/maintenance estimate that is more than your car is worth
- You’ve decided your car is going to break down; you want something more reliable
- You just wrecked your car. Ugh.
Whatever the trigger happens to be, it can tell you a lot about where you should focus your energy in your search for a new car. Think about why you’re shopping for a car right now and make a note of it; that’s your trigger. Triggers are often related to common vehicle-shopping criteria. Real-world trigger events drive shoppers’ desire for better safety, reliability, more seating, enhanced performance, and fuel efficiency. Please don’t ignore your triggers; they’re the root of your car-buying needs.
Now that you’ve identified your triggers, here’s how to use them to find the right car for you:
- Find a great place to research cars (Done! You’re here already, good job!)
- Make a list of all of your requirements for your new car, starting with the needs based on your triggers. Don’t forget to include less critical items in your lists, like sound system or cargo space at the top of the list; prioritize the triggers that have driven you to search for a new car if you can imagine buying a car without one of the top three items on your list, move that item lower on the list. Your top three should be absolute requirements you can’t live without
- Search for three vehicles that score the highest on those top three items and use objective information to evaluate those vehicles against your entire list of needs and wants.
A Rant about Magazine & Website Editorializing vs. Objective Data
We recommend looking at objective data and drawing your own conclusions rather than trusting the subjective opinion of folks like magazine editors or blue-checks on Twitter. Editorial articles and peanut-gallery discussions both fall short because they’re not personalized to your specific needs. Editorial content is likely often filled with subjective information because it’s good for selling magazines. Folks making commentary don’t necessarily share your needs or perspectives. It’s fine to read this stuff, but take it with a grain of salt. Empowering yourself, using facts to evaluate your needs, and drawing your own conclusions based on your research will lead to better results.
Are These the Vehicles we Need or the Vehicles we Deserve?
Once you have a few vehicles to compare, try to use as much objective information as possible. No single vehicle is perfect, so you’ll have to make trade-off decisions. For example, a particular vehicle might be the safest option but has lower scores in reliability and cost-to-drive. You’ll have to decide if you can accept those trade-offs if safety is your primary concern.
When doing your research, search for facts and numbers, not opinions. For example, if you are researching vehicle safety, look for crash test ratings to help identify safe vehicles rather than trusting an article about vehicle safety. You should evaluate each vehicle against the items on your list of needs and wants to find a vehicle with the right balance.
Weigh the trade-offs of each vehicle against your criteria. You may find that some of your candidates don’t measure up at all. Dump them fast. You may find that you have some gut reaction against a vehicle. I say trust that gut feeling. Dump it if it doesn’t feel right. I know, I know, that’s the opposite of objective reasoning, but as I said, emotions play into this, too; you shouldn’t completely ignore them. As you remove a vehicle, try to find another vehicle to take its place. Keep your group of cars down to three or so.
Data: Crunched. Criteria: Weighed. Decision: Imminent
So, you’ve done the data crunching, weighing, balancing, comparing, and contrasting,
You’ve put in all of this work, but here’s the ultimate irony: it’s time to make a decision based on your feelings. That’s right; it’s ok to make your final choice based on feelings, not numbers. By this point, you’ve likely got three decent candidates that are all pretty close to what you’re looking for. If you really feel like the numbers matter, then trust them and take the top scorer. On the other hand, if you really want car number two because it’s the only one that’s Misty Midnight Charcoal Blue, and that’s your favorite color, then choose it. I bet you wouldn’t complain about driving any one of the final three away from the rental company at the airport, so there’s no bad decision at this point.
Enjoy this part of the process. No regrets. Never look back. It’s a big decision, be happy with it.
This is a car search site. You’re probably here because you want a new car. So let’s get to it already! Electric Driver is geared to help you find a car using the research method I just outlined. We’ve made it easy to search and compare vehicles based on your needs. Any time is a good time to start, so let’s begin your research today. Let’s meet the electric car of your dreams.