What Kind of Used Vehicle is Right for Me?

April 17th, 2020 by

A red and a white 2018 Nissan Altima are passing one another in a tunnel at night.

When searching for used cars for sale vs used SUVs for sale, there are specific considerations to keep in mind. Both sedans and SUVs have their advantages, and finding the right vehicle for your family is important. You don’t want to spend more money than you have to on features that you might not need. Digging into the advantages and disadvantages of each can be helpful in your search. So let’s take a look at some of the questions you should consider and if a car or SUV might best fit each potential situation.

The first thing you and your family should talk about is the primary function of the vehicle. What will you be using this vehicle for? We all want our cars to have the capability to do anything, such as travel far off-road while getting excellent gas mileage, all while towing a trailer. But let’s be realistic, while some vehicles may claim to have this kind of utility, it’s not always practical to buy such a car. Most likely, you have more pressing needs, such as commuting or carpooling and need to budget accordingly. You might like the look of an SUV; the allure of a high-profile, off-road vehicle inspires confidence in your ride, but does the cost justify the functionality?

Towing

Sometimes, sure. But not always. If towing a boat to the lake is something you often do, then you should be looking at SUVs. But if the boat has been sitting in the side yard for a couple of years now, you might want to consider a sedan. It’s important to be honest with yourself. Maybe you need more cargo room and passenger space. You should probably consider an SUV then. But if you find yourself commuting alone most of the time, maybe you should be looking at a sedan. More specifically, you should be looking at a crossover or hatchback. Here you’ll find the extra cargo and passenger space with the added benefit of good gas mileage for your commute. You’ll also leave open the possibility of towing the boat to the lake someday.

Bad Weather

A white 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is driving through sand dunes outside Mesa, AZ.

Adapting your vehicle to where you live is also important. Do you routinely have to deal with inclement weather? Do you live in a mountainous or rural area? If so, then you should be looking at an SUV with an excellent off-road reputation. SUVs to consider would be a Jeep Wrangler, Toyota 4Runner, or Subaru Outback. If you buy an SUV, be sure that it is equipped for severe driving conditions. Not all SUVs are off-road capable, even if they look like they are. While an SUV might have the aggressive stylings of an off-road vehicle, they are often no more capable than a front-wheel-drive sedan.

Cost of Ownership

Conversely, fuel efficiency might be what your decision hinges on. It’s true that SUVs are getting more and more efficient, but are they efficient enough to turn to one for your daily driver needs? SUVs are heavier, generally, so regardless of their fuel efficiency, they’re more expensive to own and operate. You’ll have additional expenses for breaks and tires and replacement parts. Plus, while fuel efficiency is getting better, it’s still not as good as what you’ll find in most sedans. An excellent sedan to consider when looking for solid fuel economy is a Honda Civic, with a combined 36 MPG. The Civic is known for its value, and part of this is due to its low cost of ownership. While every car or SUV has significant ongoing costs for repairs, fuel, and insurance, trying to keep these costs down as much as possible is important.

Carbon Footprint

Maybe you prioritize your carbon footprint above all else. If that’s the case, there are a lot of options these days for you to choose from. Even if your family needs the utility of an SUV, there are options. Consider a Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid that gets 46 mpg. Or a Toyota Camry Hybrid LE that returns 52 mpg. Non-hybrid options that are also budget-friendly include the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, and Chevrolet Cruze. If you need the utility of an SUV but are also environmentally conscious, good options include the Subaru Crosstrek, Honda C-HR, and Ford Escape.

Ride Height and Safety

Another consideration is your preference in ride height. This can impact your comfort level and safety. Being higher off the ground allows for better visibility in SUVs. A sport utility vehicle is also easier for loading gear and groceries, and if you have children, car seats are generally easier to use in the higher-profile SUVs. While you might feel safer in an SUV because they are larger vehicles, they are also more prone to rolling over than sedans. However, stability and traction control systems have significantly reduced that risk. Knowing how to outfit your vehicle with the appropriate safety features for your family should be part of the discussion as well.

Value

A red 2016 Subaru Legacy Premium is driving on a bridge in front of water.

Of course, choosing a vehicle that holds its value is another important consideration. SUVs tend to hold their value better than sedans, due to their popularity and the added functionality. But there are lots of sedans that are also known to hold their value. The Subaru Legacy, Kia Optima and Nissan Altima are sedans that regularly find themselves on best-value lists. And more and more, these sedans are available with all-wheel drive, so you have the added functionality of off-road capability. Generally, sedans are cheaper initially than SUVs. And while SUVs cost more upfront, it’s important to consider their resale value, which is usually higher than sedans.

Long-Term Value for Your Life

One of the harder things to account for when making a decision, such as buying a vehicle, is your long-term needs. Are you planning on expanding your family? While you might not need the extra cargo or passenger space now, will you need more space in the near future? If you need an extra row of seats, you might want to consider buying a three-row SUV. This will avoid the hassle of trading in your vehicle too early and will give you the extra space without having to buy a second car. But if your kids are about to head off to school, maybe a fuel-efficient sedan is the better option.

Experience the Difference Today!

Finding the perfect combination of these traits should be your goal, and our expert staff at Arizona Car Sales in Mesa, AZ, can help you in narrowing down your options. We have the industry know-how to get you on the road in the vehicle of your dreams at the right price for any budget. This is a no-pressure environment where you can move at your own pace to find a car that you are excited to drive home in.

No matter which vehicle you decide on, you’ll find many options at Arizona Car Sales. We have an extensive inventory of used cars and SUVs, and crossovers too. And we have the knowledge to answer any questions you might have. You will be surprised at how far your money goes when shopping at Arizona Car Sales. We pride ourselves in offering the best prices around and providing the most transparent experience. Find the car or SUV you never knew you wanted without the exorbitant price tag, and experience the Arizona Car Sales difference today!