How do I know what type of car I can afford?

buying a new carThere are many different factors that play into what type of vehicle you ultimately buy, only one of which is how much you are willing to pay. But how much you are willing to pay for a car can be the deciding factor between two brands or between two models in the same brand. Knowing how much you should spend or how much you can spend may also help you shape your car search, immediately eliminating the vehicles that you know you cannot afford before you have an opportunity to get attached to them. Here are some tips for helping you determine what type of car you can afford:

Understand the Different Types of Cars

Compacts, subcompacts, and sedans are going to be the least expensive type of car in just about every brand. That is definitely true of Kia, whose cheapest sedan is usually the Kia Rio, which starts at around $14,000 new (which is what you’ll pay for a used car from most other brands). These cars usually have two to four doors, are the smallest cars on the road, and come in a huge variety of styles of and models. They are also the most popular, simply because they are the least expensive and the most versatile.

The next section of vehicles are crossovers, SUVs, and minivans. These vehicles are usually lumped together because they all start at around the same price and often play the same role. Minivans and SUVs are great alternatives to the sedan for families that need a little bit more room or that need a vehicle with a little more grit. Minivans will provide the highest number of seats, while SUVs will provide more leg room and cargo capacity.

The third strata of vehicle is the truck. Some people put SUVs in with trucks, but a truck is normally defined as a vehicle with a cab and an open bed. Only a few brands still carry trucks, as SUVs usually perform the same function, without the cramped leg room and high price. Trucks ae not necessarily the most expensive vehicles on the lot, but they will be more expensive than the average sedan.

Most brands also have a collection of performance vehicles. For Kia, this includes the Cadenza and the K900. These are sedans with luxurious styling and more power and are the most expensive vehicles in the lineup.

The average sedan or compact starts at around $14,000 and ranges up to around $22,000, with some brands being more expensive and some less expensive. Most crossovers will be north of $20,000, as will most vans, and definitely all trucks. These strata of prices are not definite, but they do reflect the averages, across most car brands. Which brand you ultimately decide to purchase from will affect these prices. Kia, for example, strives to provide high-quality vehicles at a much lower price than other brands offer.

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Understand Your Payments

Unless you have all of the cash on hand to buy the vehicle that you want to purchase, you probably will have to set up some kind of financing program with the dealership. This is how the average person buys a car and we have the system set up to provide you with the very best possible rates for your credit score.

We also have a tool that makes it easy, after building and pricing the vehicle you want to buy, to understand exactly what your monthly payments are likely to be. While the exact monthly payments will likely be slightly different from the number this tool gives you, you can get a general idea of what your payments would look like, based on your loan term, down payment, and credit score.

How Much of a Down Payment Do I Need to Make?

Your down payment will ultimately affect your monthly payments and how long you are paying for the car. While some brands do offer a no down payment option, if you want to pay your car off faster and see lower monthly payments, it is a good idea to make a sizeable down payment. The down payment itself is often an obstacle when it comes to purchasing a car—but it does not have to be. Putting down a large chunk of money when you actually purchase the car makes paying for that car cheaper in the long run.

You do not have to make a down payment, but if you do want to augment your monthly payments, being willing to put $1000 or $2000 down at the beginning of the process can certainly help.

Take Other Expenses into Consideration

The car itself is not the only payment you have to make in order to be a legal driver. Some states have certifications fees, as well as fees for running emissions tests. Almost all states require you to be fully insured, which might be a monthly payment on top of the price of your vehicle. One of the largest monthly costs associated with buying a car is paying for gas for that car. It might be worth your time to pay a little bit more for a car with better gas mileage, in order to avoid having to buy as much gas over the life of that vehicle.

There will all be maintenance costs. While these are not immediate, it is a good idea to plan for these costs, so that you have a cushion of cash to fall back on if you get into an accident or need unexpected maintenance.

Buying from our New Jersey Kia dealership is a great way to make sure that you get an affordable vehicle that you love!

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