Step 3. Consider ownership costs.
Find out in advance what you’ll pay for insurance on competing models, and shop around to find the lowest rates. While premiums are based largely on an owner’s age, marital status, address and driving record, some vehicles are inherently cheaper to insure than others, based on their claims histories. For example, sports cars and pricey luxury models are typically the most-expensive types of vehicles to insure, with family-minded minivans and crossovers generally being the cheapest. Also consider the cash you’ll sink into a car or truck’s gas tank by comparing various models’ fuel economy ratings at www.fueleconomy.gov. For example, the difference between a car that gets an estimated 26 mpg in combined city/highway driving and one that nets 33 mpg, will amount to a savings of $450 a year, based on 15,000 miles driven and gas at $3.67 per gallon. That amounts to a difference of $2,250 over five years.