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The Women's Guide to Family Car Buying

Tips to put mom in the driver's seat of a family car



(page 1 of 2)

More than half of vehicles sold in the US are purchased and driven home by women. Women also have input into over 80 percent of all vehicle sales. Given those statistics, you would think that car shopping ranks up there with shoe shopping — but women reportedly dread the task. A Capital One study indicated that four out of five women take a man with them to shop for a car, a hedge against feeling intimidated and pressured. 

“We understand the reservations some women have when it comes to making a large purchase,” says Shana Snowden, a sales consultant at Diver Chevrolet in Wilmington, DE, a Certified Women-
Drivers Friendly Dealership. But she also notes that women who shop with a male partner “have a lot to say about whether they purchase or not,” proving that moms have more purchasing power than they may realize. Follow our tips to harness that (horse)power and drive a deal home.

Do your car-buying research.

Start online. Carsdirect.com and Edmunds.com allow you to compare vehicles, options, prices, financing options and deals. You’ll want to know the market value — not the MSRP or invoice price — of the car you’re considering. Market value is the average price the car is selling for in your area. Also know your credit score and set a budget — then stick to it.

Decide what kind of car you want.

What kind of car will you choose? Have an idea before you visit the dealer, then test-drive several models to narrow down your choices.

Thinking of a minivan, the 21st-century pinnacle of family car-dom? According to Edmunds, focus on the second-row seat and go with the car whose second-row configuration (does it rotate to face the third row or fold down flat?) and features (are there built-in footrests?) best benefit your family’s size and kids’ ages.

Next page: The pros & cons of new vs. used, lease vs. buy + great features every driver want

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