How to choose the perfect first car

A new car for first time drivers should be cheap, easy to drive and safe. Here are the 10 best first cars

  • Introduction
  • 1. VW up!/Skoda Citigo/SEAT Mii
  • 2. Kia Picanto
  • 3. Ford Fiesta
  • 4. SEAT Ibiza
  • 5. Hyundai i10
  • 6. Volkswagen Polo
  • 7. Toyota Aygo/Peugeot 108/Citroen C1
  • 8. Skoda Fabia
  • 9. Dacia Sandero

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Buying your first car is often one of the most memorable milestone on the passage into adulthood; once you’ve passed your driving test, the level of freedom you’ll have will be unprecedented. However, the cost of buying and running a car can be prohibitive, so the best way to maximise how far your money goes is to get a car that’s affordable, economical and with cheap insurance. While many first time car buyers will focus on used cars, buying or financing a brand new car means you’ll get a warranty, while also reducing the chances of mechanical problems in the first place.

Here we’ve listed 10 of the best new cars for new drivers. They are small enough to be manageable – new drivers will be able to position them easily on the road – but offer some luxuries to keep new drivers safe and connected, too. They’re also good to drive, which will help new drivers to build confidence with every mile.

What to look for in a first car

One of the biggest obstacles to driving is sky-high insurance costs. As a new driver, your lack of experience will count against you in the eyes of an insurer. If you can keep out of trouble for 12 months, you will accrue a no-claims discount which will give you a percentage reduction on your premium. And if you continue to not make any insurance claims, then this discount will only grow over the years. There are even finance deals which include free insurance, although this usually raises the monthly payments drastically.

One way of boosting a no-claims discount is to fit your car with an insurer-approved ‘black box’. This electronic device plugs into your car’s electronics and monitors your driving, and you and your insurer can review your performance to see how and where you can improve your driving. Return a good score, and the insurer can further reduce your payments for cover.

Some parents will be in a position to buy their children their first car, and if you’re in that enviable situation, then you’ll likely want to buy the safest car possible. You need to find the small cars that come with the highest rating by independent assessment organisation Euro NCAP: the higher the score for a car, the safer it is.

Still, buying a new car rather than an old second-hand one will mean it’s inherently safer, because kit such as anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control is generally fitted as standard.

We’d recommend going for a petrol car over a diesel. There aren’t many small diesel cars on sale anyway, and you’ll only reap the benefit of their better fuel consumption if you do lots of motorway miles, which is unlikely if you’re an inexperienced driver. It’s better to go for a small petrol, and if the option of stop-start is available – either as standard or an extra – then that will reduce running costs even more. While the experience of the engine cutting out when you put the car in neutral might be unnerving, you’ll soon get into the habit of saving fuel and making your money go further.

If you’ve got an automatic-only licence then you’ll obviously be limited to cars with automatic gearboxes, which tend to be more pricey and in relation to small cars, rarer. Manual cars can also help build driving confidence with greater control over the car’s mechanicals.

Other highlights to look out for when buying a car for a new driver include light steering, good visibility, a responsive engine and brakes, user-friendly controls and a positive gear shift; all of these help a new driver build confidence during their time behind the wheel.

Top 10 best first cars for new drivers 2021

  1. Volkswagen up!/Skoda Citigo/SEAT Mii
  2. Kia Picanto
  3. Ford Fiesta
  4. SEAT Ibiza
  5. Hyundai i10
  6. Volkswagen Polo
  7. Toyota Aygo/Peugeot 108/Citroen C1
  8. Skoda Fabia
  9. Dacia Sandero
  10. Vauxhall Corsa

Everything you need to know about learning to drive, getting your driving licence and choosing your first car.

Learning to drive

  • How to get your driving licence
  • What is the highway code?
  • Best intensive driving courses

Passing your driving test

  • Driving theory test: everything you need to know
  • Hazard perception test: what to expect and how to pass
  • Driving test ‘show me, tell me’ quesions: hints and tips
  • Practical driving test: how to pass
  • Driving test pass rates explained
  • Driving test aids product test
  • History of the UK driving test

Getting your first car

  • Best first cars for young drivers
  • Cheapest cars to insure
  • Cheaper car insurance for young drivers: our top tips

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Read more of our best car recommendations.

We show the difference between tire types, then steer you in the right direction

Buying car tires is easy. It’s finding the right ones for your car that can be difficult.

Get it wrong, and you can hobble your car’s performance and its ability to tackle any type of weather.

Since car tires usually need to be replaced every three or four years, here’s a refresher course on how to make sure you’re getting the right ones.

Most car tires fall into three main types: all-season, summer, and winter. Most people buy all-season tires because it’s easier and cheaper than buying one set for the winter and another for summer.

All-season car tires deliver a good, well-rounded performance but are never outstanding in any way. Summer tires deliver on handling and dry/wet braking, but they have dismal snow traction. By contrast, winter tires have outstanding snow traction but just fair braking ability on cleared roads.

Within each car tire category, there is a range of performance, as our tests routinely remind us. To see the basic differences in tire types, look at the chart below.

Need new car, SUV, or truck tires?

Check our tire buying guide and ratings.

As you can see, no single tire type is outstanding in all conditions.

So how do you find the best tires for your car? Follow these three steps:

What Size Do You Need?

First, consult your owner’s manual or the placard on the driver’s side door jamb to find the recommended tire measurements. The label will look something like this: P215/60R16 94T.

The first part of the label—P215/60R16—refers to the tire’s various size measurements such as width and diameter. The 94 indicates the load index, which is how much weight each tire can support. Finally, the T is the speed rating, which is the tire’s maximum speed in relation to the load index.

You should match the tire’s size measurements, but you have some flexibility to go higher with the load index and speed rating.

For more on how to read a tire label, go to our tire buying guide.

What Type of Tire Do You Need?

Many retail websites will give you a listing of all tires available in your size. But in many cases, you’ll need to dig deeper to match the speed rating. The list below can help ID your tire type.

  • All-season tires come in S- and T-speed ratings. Known for good all-weather grip and long mileage, these are commonly fit to mainstream cars and SUVs.
  • Performance all-season tires come in H- and V-speed rating on many newer cars, especially those with enthusiast appeal or upgraded wheels. They tend to have better cornering grip than S- and T-speed rated all-season tires, but performance tires may not wear as long.
  • Ultra-high-performance all-season and summer tires typically come in ZR-, W-, and Y-speed ratings for sports cars and performance sedans. Differentiating between all-season and summer tires can be challenging and may require going to a manufacturer’s website to find out the details. One clue to tell them apart: A summer tire would not have an M&S (Mud & Snow) designation on the sidewall.
  • All-season and all-terrain truck tires naturally come in large sizes and are designed for the hauling and towing duties of light-duty pickups and SUVs. All-terrain tires generally have a more aggressive tread pattern to aid off-road traction. A tip is that many all-terrain tires will have “A/T” or “All Terrain” right in the model name.
  • Winter/snow tires are easily identified by a mountain and snowflake symbol displayed on the sidewall of the tire. Plus the tread looks busier than all-season tires with lots of slits, known as sipes. When shopping, be sure to buy winter tires in sets of four to optimize braking and handling.

What Are Your Priorities in Selecting a Tire?

Our research shows that people often choose a direct replacement tire when the car is still relatively new. But as the car ages, consumers become more inclined to switch to another model based on performance or price.

If you’re looking to make a switch, be sure to check our extensive tire ratings, especially if you’re seeking a model with maximum tread life and all-weather grip.

Many manufacturers have websites to help consumers choose the right tire. Online retailers like TireRack.com and Discountiredirect.com have simple-to-use vehicle selectors. Some sites like RightTurn.com go further, giving consumers personalized choices and an all-in-one price including installation at a local retailer.

We have had good success with most online retailers we buy from. But many local tire dealers, big-box stores, and tire-company-owned retailers can offer good deals, too. So shop around once you have made your tire choice.

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How to choose the perfect first car

Choose the Right Car Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Are you looking for a new car but you’re not sure what you’re, well, looking for in a new car? Maybe the answer is in the stars!

The perfect car isn’t one that just ticks off a checklist of features and performance stats. It should be something that fits your personality, a vehicle that you can connect with and enjoy driving.

After all, the best car for you depends much more on you than on the car!

Your zodiac sign says a lot about who you are and what makes you happy. So check out this “automobile horoscope” and see what resonates. It just might give you a better idea of what you really want in a car and where to find it.

Best cars for every astrological sign

Aries: Go fun and flashy

How to choose the perfect first car

Playful and young at heart, Aries people are confident, adventurous and enthusiastic. Look for a car that’s fun, fast and flashy, preferably in a bright color, like a Jeep Wrangler or a sporty Corvette.

Taurus: Practical, stable and dependable

Taurus is solid and grounded. You want a car that’s just as steady and reliable as you are. It should be built to last and designed with safety in mind, like a Volvo or Subaru. Take your time checking out the vehicle in detail to make sure it fits your requirements.

Gemini: Versatile with a lot going on

Ruled by Mercury, the Gemini personality is curious and versatile. Zip around in a car that’s light and up-to-date with plenty of extra features, like the new Kia Stinger, Audi A5 or a Smart Fortwo.

Cancer: At home on the road

Cancer people are looking for comfort behind the wheel, both physical and emotional. The right car for you is safe and stable with a spacious, well-equipped interior. Soft seats and a great infotainment system will help you enjoy the ride. Try something like the Chevy Equinox or Honda CR-V.

Leo: Show off your style

How to choose the perfect first car

Leo is the star of the show, and wants a car that expresses it. These natural-born leaders will love a Mustang, Audi R8 or Acura NSX. Ruled by the Sun, you won’t shy away from a fiery, eye-catching color.

Virgo: Only the best, in every detail

Perfectionism and attention to detail are the name of the game for Virgo. People of this sign have high standards for their cars’ performance, and won’t settle for less than top fuel efficiency. Japanese brands are a safe bet, or the sleek, gas-sipping new Mazda CX-5.

Libra: Harmony and family

Libras are committed to family and relationships. Harmony and elegant aesthetics are important to them. Think in the direction of a classic minivan that looks good while allowing you to be surrounded by the people you love. Of these, the Chrysler Pacifica is a great choice.

Scorpio: Sexy with hidden depth

Scorpio people will enjoy a car that’s intense, sexy and mysterious, just like them. You’ll enjoy the subtle-yet-scintillating 2017 Chevrolet Camaro, or Mazda 3 for more than meets the eye. Choose a dark color.

Sagittarius: Straight and to the point

How to choose the perfect first car

Sagittarius people are direct and fly straight as an arrow. They’re interested in getting where they want to go, without unnecessary bells and whistles. Something like a BMW Sports Wagon, Honda Accord or Toyota Camry can do the trick.

Capricorn: Classy and functional

Capricorns are hardworking, stylish perfectionists who want to show their success to the world. This personality goes well with a stable but high-end vehicle like a Mercedes or Acura, or the luxurious Volvo XC90 if you want an SUV.

Aquarius: Drive into the future

Aquarians love everything new and futuristic. You’ll want something progressive and ecological, with a unique flair. Try a hybrid or electric vehicle: Tesla, Chevy Volt or Prius.

Pisces: Comfort with creative flair

Like Cancer, Pisces people want a car that feels like home, but they also want it to have some personality. They are artistic and want their vehicle to have some spark. The Kia Soul or Volkswagen Beetle will suit a Pisces well.

Conclusion

I hope this article gives you some inspiration in your search for a new set of wheels.

Of course, astrology depends on a lot more than just your sun sign, and choosing the right car depends on a lot more than astrology!

If you want expert help finding a great car to lease, contact Capital Motor Cars. The team there is ready to get you the best deal on a vehicle that fits all your needs perfectly.

Updated July 2, 2018 7:15 PM NEWSDAY.COM STAFF

How to choose the perfect first car

The 2018 Ford Mustang GT features a 5.0L V8 engine with 460 horsepower. Credit: Robert Hradil / Getty Images

Sure, we all hate car shopping, but if you know what you’re looking for, the process becomes a lot more painless. Take our quiz to help you figure out your car personality and make the choice easier.

People buy cars for many reasons, whether it be affordability, eco-friendliness, horsepower or advanced features and styling. Take this quiz to find out what kind of car is right for you, based on your preferences, personality, favorite movie and favorite beverage.

Tell us how we did in the comments!

Result

How to choose the perfect first car

The 2015 Dodge Journey is a much cooler alternative to a minivan with a much cooler price, writes Malcolm Gunn. Credit: Dodge

Because of your family-size and priority in your life, a minivan or crossover would be your choice of vehicle. Sporty crossovers like the Dodge Journey can provide a bit more adventurous feel to a normally bland minivan experience, with large-capacity features such as seven-passenger seating.

How to choose the perfect first car

The 2015 Subaru Impreza earned at Top Safety Pick+ for features that include EyeSight driver assist technology that monitors traffic movement, optimizes cruise control and warns when the car leaves its lane. The car starts at $18,195. Credit: Subaru

You just need a car to get you from place-to-place, meaning a basic sedan will do you just fine. You may not be the flashiest or loudest on the road, but you’re one of the safest, and aren’t going to pay an exorbitant amount for the car or gas. Four-door sedans like the Subaru Impreza are affordable, safe and get good gas mileage.

How to choose the perfect first car

The 2016 Audi A7 starts at $68,300 and comes with a supercharged 3.0 TFSI engine, full LED headlights and a corner view camera system. Credit: Audi

Anything less than luxurious simply won’t do. You need high-end transportation: leather seats, latest technology and the all the safest bells and whistles a car can have are your priorities. Luxury cars like the Audi A7 provide the best in style and technology — all at a higher cost, of course.

How to choose the perfect first car

The 2018 Ford Mustang GT features a 5.0L V8 engine with 460 horsepower. Credit: Robert Hradil / Getty Images

Power is your priority, with the sound of burning rubber and sight of blurred streetlights your calling. A muscle car — whether it be modern or classic — should be your go-to, with nothing less than a V8 engine even a consideration. The 2018 Ford Mustang GT puts out more than 460 horsepower, and if you’re feeling like more power, the Shelby GT350 model has 526 horsepower.

How to choose the perfect first car

The 2015 Toyota Prius c is one of the greenest cars, according to GreenerCars.org’s annual list. Credit: Toyota

Your main issue with cars is that they’re horrible for the environment, so your best option would be a hybrid or electric car. Luckily for you, the market for such cars is only growing and getting better, with hybrids like the Toyota Prius C offer high gas mileage with little to no negative impacts on the environment.

How to choose the perfect first car

The 2015 GMC Canyon. Credit: GMC

Off-roading, towing and tough terrain are your favorite roads, so you’ll need a tough truck as your vehicle of choice. Whether it’s GMC’s small-sized pickup the Canyon or any of their larger models and SUVs, your priority is how tough you’ll look on — and off — the road, as well as using your car for work.

Setting your priorities, checking reputations and financial standings, comparing quotes—shopping for the best car insurance company for your needs might seem daunting unless you tackle the process one step at a time.

Know What You Want

Understand what coverages and amenities you’re looking for in a car insurance company. Are you solely looking for cheap auto insurance? How might choosing the cheapest option affect your actual coverage? What about customer service—that’s important, too, right?

Know your priorities before you begin looking to buy car insurance. Ideally, you’ll want a company that offers great coverage at an affordable price from customer service-oriented agents.

Check for Reputation and Financial Standing

Once you’ve found a few seemingly compatible car insurance companies, do some investigative work and check out the companies’ reputation and financial standing.

  • First, check with your state’s Department of Insurance website and make sure the company is licensed to sell auto insurance in your state.
    • Also, take a look at complaint ratios, if available.
  • Then, look at the companies’ financial standing on reputable websites such as J.D. Power and A.M. Best.
    • Auto insurance is a two-way street: you pay for the coverage and your company provides the coverage. You need to make sure your company can pay your damages when required.
  • Finally, find out how the companies stand with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
    • The BBB ranks companies from A+ to F, and gives you a multitude of information about those companies, such as the length of time they have been in operation and information about customer complaints (including resolutions).

Compare Car Insurance Quotes

Consider these tips when comparing auto insurance quotes:

  • First and foremost, never look at just one or two car insurance companies; always get and compare at least three quotes.
  • Talk with family members and friends about their car insurance providers.
    • How long have they been with the company?
    • Are they satisfied with their rates?
    • What about customer service? How has the provider handled their premiums in the events of traffic violations, at-fault accidents, and other common premium-increasing situations?
  • Look for auto insurance companies that offer discounts and good-driver rewards programs.
    • Some companies provide breaks for drivers of certain ages or for drivers with anti-theft devices.
    • Others offer rewards (e.g. lower premiums) for drivers with consistently good driving records.
  • Ask about bundling insurance policies.
    • Also known as “multi-line coverage,” some companies provide discounts for purchasing two or more lines of coverage (such as car insurance and homeowner insurance).
  • Check out the companies’ social media accounts.
    • Reach out to your potential insurance companies on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and evaluate how they respond to your questions about issues such as coverage and discounts.

Remember, comparing car insurance quotes is never just about what’s cheapest.

Periodically Evaluate Your Coverage

Getting great car insurance coverage at an affordable rate is fantastic, but don’t get complacent. Many companies decrease premiums for certain life events, such as:

  • Buying a new car. You might get lower rates if you purchase a new vehicle with great safety and anti-theft features.
  • Moving. Living in low-crime areas tends to get you lower premiums.
  • Getting older. Mature drivers (generally those who are 25 and older) often benefit from lower car insurance rates.
  • Getting married. Combining two insurance policies into one can save you money. Married drivers are also viewed as more responsible and often see lower rates.
  • Purchasing a new home. Remember multi-line insurance? You could get a discount if you insure your home with the same company.

Of course, some life events can increase your rates—which means you’ll want to talk with your agent about ways to decrease them or even start comparing quotes from other providers. Such situations include:

  • Moving. Again, moving can affect your car insurance rates, and in this case moving from a low-crime area to one with a higher crime or accident rate might cost you.
  • Filing claims. Each claim you file can increase your rates—especially claims for at-fault accidents. Talk with your agent about ways to decrease rates or avoid rate hikes, or consider shopping for another provider.
  • Traffic violations. Similar to filing claims, the more traffic violations and driving points you accumulate, the higher your premium could become.
  • Adding a teenager to your policy. Often, increased rates when adding a teenager to your policy are unavoidable; however, if you feel the premium has become too high, talk with your agent about ways to decrease it (such as teen driving courses) or start looking at other companies.

Simply put, whenever you experience a life event that might decrease or increase your rates, it’s time to evaluate your coverage and perhaps even start comparing quotes from other providers.

Consider Working with an Agent or Broker

The difference between car insurance agents and car insurance brokers is that, generally, agents work with one company while brokers work with several companies.

So, while an agent can help you get the best coverage and rates from his or her particular company, a broker can shop around and help you find the best coverage and rates from a number of companies. Keep in mind, however, they may charge you a broker fee.

Unless you feel comfortable shopping around on your own or have your heart set on one company, you might want to consider consulting an agent or broker about your car insurance needs.

There’s only one way to bring baby home from the hospital, and that’s in a car seat. From deciding between an infant car seat or a convertible to features you should look out for, here’s how to buy the right one.

Choosing a car seat can be a stressful experience. Not only is it one of the most important purchases you’ll make, but it’s likely to be one of the most expensive.

Here are a few basic tips to make the search a little easier, and to ensure you go home with the right one.

1. Scope out your car before you shop

First things first: Read your vehicle’s owners manual before buying a car seat. Car seats can be attached using either the seat belt or the LATCH system (which stands for the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children system, and which all new vehicles have). You can decide before buying which one you want to use and then look for a seat based on how you want to install it — belt or LATCH.

If you decide to use LATCH, make sure you know where the LATCH attachments are in your vehicle — there may not be any in the middle, rear-seating position, which is the safest spot for a child.

Another tip? Measure your back seat to know how much room there is for a car seat. A car seat with a large base may not fit in a small car — you may have to opt for one with a narrower base instead. Also consider who’ll be sitting in the back seat. How many children do you have? How many are in car seats? Take back seat measurements before you go shopping and bring the measuring tape with you to the store to measure the base of the seats.

2. Pick a convertible car seat that’ll grow with your child

Take it from us: Not having to invest in another car seat in the midst of that crazy first two years will be a blessing. Newborns can sit in two kinds of car seats: a rear-facing infant seat, or a convertible seat (which faces the rear of the car at first, and later is turned toward the front). Buying a convertible car seat saves money because it lasts through toddlerhood, and it’s completely sound in terms of safety.

The only drawback? Convertible car seats cannot be taken in and out of the car like an infant seat can.

3. Consider a car seat stroller if you’re trying to save

While convertible will save you money in the long run, some parents agree that the ability to move a sleeping baby in an infant car seat — even if the baby fits the seat for only a year — is priceless. If you want to buy an infant car seat but need to trim costs, consider shopping for a travel system — an infant seat and stroller that are sold together at a discount. You may find these in the stroller aisle, not the car-seat aisle.

4. Spring for a new seat to be safe

Understandably, you want to know which car seat is safest. But all car seats that are on the market have been tested and approved for the current safety standards (check for the JPMA stamp on the box which means it’s been approved by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association).

Because the safety technology improves so frequently, the most important thing you can do is buy a new car seat and not accept a hand-me-down.

5. Focus on the most important features

At the lower end of the price range ($80 to $200), whether you’re purchasing an infant car seat or a convertible car seat, look for a model that has a 5-point harness (two shoulder straps, two waist straps, and one strap between the legs that meet in the middle), side-impact protection (extra foam or air pads at the side of baby’s head), and compatibility with the LATCH system (a way to fasten the base tightly without using seatbelts).

If you can afford to buy a premium car seat, priced above $200, expect additional features, such as an anti-rebound bar at the foot of the seat that limits the amount of movement during a crash. Other features that bump up the price include cushier fabric, accessories such as a little “boot” around baby’s feet, and a larger canopy.

Another feature to size up are the straps: To save trouble, check to see if straps of the car seat you’re buying will be easy to adjust as your baby grows. Ideally, you want straps that will not have to be rethreaded. Many brands now have adjustment handles in the back of the seat, or a pull cord between baby’s legs, that make rethreading a thing of the past.

6. Choose something easy to clean

Seats made with a smooth fabric will wipe clean more easily than a textured fabric such as corduroy. This one’s more about cleanliness than safety — but easy-to-clean is a virtue, too. Just trust us.

7. Opt for one with installation diagrams as well as text

You’re not finished once you walk out of the store. Make use of all the instructions you can — those in the instruction booklet (which should always be kept with the seat), and the diagrams on the seat itself — to have the best possible chance of installing the seat correctly.

Although all companies continue to simplify the installation process — videos on YouTube supplement some instruction books — it’s still recommended that, after you install the car seat, you have your work checked by a professional. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration makes it easy for you to find an inspector near you: Just enter your location here at NHTSA to search.

The easiest way to ensure correct installation though? Have a Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician in your area do it for you. CPS technicians can be found at police stations, fire stations, hospitals, your local AAA, and more.

25 Amazing Statistics on How Consumers Shop for Cars

1. Car buyers spend 59% of their time online researching. (Autotrader)

2. When researching online, 46% of car shoppers use multiple devices. (Autotrader)

3. Most car buyers are undecided at the start of the shopping process. When they first begin to shop, 6 out of 10 them are open to considering multiple vehicle options. (Autotrader)

4. Third-party sites are the most used sites for car shopping, used by 78% of shoppers. (Autotrader)

How to choose the perfect first car

5. Walking in remains the common form of initial contact with a dealership by more than half of car shoppers. (Autotrader)

How to choose the perfect first car

6. The top five activities conducted online by car shoppers include researching car prices (71%), finding actual cars listed for sale (68%), comparing different models (64%), finding out what current car is worth (63%), and locating a dealer or getting dealer info (46%). (Autotrader)

7. When asked to rate their satisfaction on a scale of 1-10, 81% of car buyers gave the test-driving process an 8-10 rating. However, satisfaction declined to 67% when interactions with the F&I department were factored in. Of the 3-hours average time spent at the dealer during the purchase process, more than half of that time is spent negotiating or doing paperwork, resulting in a 56% satisfaction rate for the process. (Autotrader)

How to choose the perfect first car

8. Among automotive internet shoppers, 22% use a social media site as a source while shopping for their new vehicle, up from 16% in 2015. The most popular social media sites used by auto internet shoppers during the shopping process are YouTube (13%), DealerRater (7%) and Facebook (5%). (J.D. Power 2016 New Autoshopper Study)

9. Among automotive internet shoppers who use social media, only 13% indicate that the information posted on social media sites influenced their purchase decision, and only 2% say a social site was the “most useful site” they visited. (J.D. Power 2016 New Autoshopper Study)

10. Slightly more than one-third (34%) of new-vehicle buyers using social media for automotive information post a picture of their new vehicle on a social site. Facebook is by far the most posted site at 88%, followed by Instagram at 21%. (J.D. Power 2016 New Autoshopper Study)

11. Smartphones Surpass Tablets for Automotive Research: More than half (53%) of automotive internet shoppers use a mobile device in their quest for automotive information. For 2016, smartphone usage surpasses tablet usage (37% vs. 33%, respectively). The use of desktop or laptop computers remains most common at 92%, but has been steadily decreasing from 99% in 2012. Consequently, the proportion of time spent shopping on mobile devices continues to increase, with 33% of the total shopping time now conducted on a mobile device. (J.D. Power 2016 New Autoshopper Study)

12. When looking to buy, Millennials consider slightly more vehicles on average than Baby Boomers. Millennials also usually take longer to decide what car to buy than Baby Boomers, an average of 16.9 vs 15.7 weeks. Millennials invest more time in the actual buying process as well, almost four and a half hours more on average. (J.D. Power)

13. 87% of Americans dislike something about car shopping at dealerships and 61% feel they’re taken advantage of while there. (2016 Beepi Consumer Automotive Index)

14. 52% of car shoppers feel anxious or uncomfortable at dealerships. Millennials lead the pack in their dislike, with 56% saying they’d rather clean their homes than negotiate with a car dealer. Gen X-ers aren’t fans either, and faced with alternatives 24% say they’d rather have a root canal than get into car negotiation. Among millennial women, 62% feel pressured to buy right away and 49% said they felt tricked into buying features they didn’t need. (2016 Beepi Consumer Automotive Index)

15. When asked about newer car buying alternatives, 54% said they would “love” being able to sell or buy a car from home and 42% were fine buying a car without a test drive, as long as there was some form of guarantee. (2016 Beepi Consumer Automotive Index)

16. According to research from Facebook, US vehicle shoppers not only use mobile devices as they research new cars, they even prefer them for some activities. A majority of vehicle shoppers, for example, said mobile was a better way to ask friends and family about auto options, and about two in five preferred to book a test drive from a mobile device.

17. For automotive dealers, the biggest marketing priority by far is increasing lead volume and conversions. (9 Clouds, “The 2016 State of Automotive Marketing”)

How to choose the perfect first car

18. Dealerships are also utilizing the data they have on hand prior to contacting a prospect. The most common pieces of consumer data include basic contact details, vehicle interest, and purchase/service history. (9 Clouds, “The 2016 State of Automotive Marketing”)
How to choose the perfect first car

19. 54% of consumers would buy from a dealership that offers their preferred experience, even if it didn’t have the lowest price. ( Autotrader )

20. 72% would visit dealerships more often if the buying process was improved. (Autotrader)

21. Research that Google commissioned from Millward Brown Digital indicates that 70% of people who used YouTube as part of their car buying process were influenced by what they watched and views on YouTube of test drives, features and options, and walk-throughs have doubled in the past year.

22. A report by automotive research company, SBD provides evidence that these connected systems are important to younger, more digitally oriented consumers and will likely impact their next vehicle brand purchase decision. Cars play a key role in supporting Millennials’ need to stay connected, and in a study by Autotrader.com, 72% of younger millennials indicated that a car is important to their social life. Style and features, especially technology, are critically important to them. For example, more than 70% of younger millennials cite technology and infotainment features as “must-haves” when purchasing a car.

23. Integrated mobile apps and connected vehicle services deliver more value for the customer, enhancing customer loyalty after the initial car purchase. A study by DMEautomotive showed that vehicle buyers using a branded app were 73% more likely to make a purchase from the dealership, and after making a purchase, booked 25% more service appointments than shoppers without an app.

24. They also spent more money than non-app users when purchasing a vehicle, 7% more according to a study commissioned by Cars.com.

25. According to a study by Arthur D. Little, dealers average response time is 9.2 hours and OEMs average time is around 24 hours. This is a huge opportunity for improving the overall customer experience.