Cars vary widely in cost. Annual household spending on automotive transportation ranges from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The exact cost to you depends on factors such as the type of car; its age, mileage, and condition; how you finance, insure, and service it; and how many cars you own and how far you drive them.
First, think about the types of models that meet your transportation needs and are affordable. Then search the internet and objective publications, such as Consumer Reports and Kelley Blue Book, for information about the features, performance, durability, and costs of the models which interest you. Finally, look over and test drive any of these models.
In deciding whether to purchase a new or used car, make certain to estimate the difference in total costs, not just purchase price, but also depreciation, gas mileage, insurance premiums, finance charges, and likely costs of maintenance and repair. Remember, new cars almost always are more reliable and have superior warranties to used cars but lose 20 to 40 percent of their value when driven off the lot.