Buying a Sedan

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Chances are if you have owned more than one car in your life, you have probably owned a sedan. Sedans are the most common type of car on the road, and for good reason. With so many options available, there is a perfect sedan available for just about all drivers.

Keep reading to learn more about buying a sedan.

What Are Sedans?

Simply put, a sedan is the basic passenger vehicle you see on the highway.

Like many vehicles, sedans come with three parts:

  • Engine area.
  • Passenger seating (generally two rows).
  • Cargo section (which, for a sedan, is normally a basic trunk area).

As with most vehicles, types of sedans can range from smaller, modest sedans to more upscale, luxury model sedans. Naturally, such factors affect cost.

Why Buy a Sedan?

From a high school student buying his first car to a small family looking for a safe, reasonably priced vehicle, sedans are the perfect cars for many drivers. Many models are small enough for easy navigation (think: beginner drivers as well as drivers operating on tight, busy streets), but many also are large enough to accommodate the seating and cargo needs of average-sized families.

However, sedans won't work for everyone.

For example, if your family is large and/or is involved in many extracurricular activities (carpooling and hauling around all that sports equipment can take a lot of space), you might not find a large enough sedan. (Actually, buying a minivan might be in your better interest.)

Similarly, if you enjoy activities like off-roading, or live in an area with rough weather or sketchy terrain, most sedans aren't up to those challenges. You might consider a sports utility vehicle (SUV) or pickup truck in these cases.

Shopping for the Right Sedan

Before visiting any dealership, consider the following factors to help you choose the right sedan for you:

Size

Again, sedans come in various sizes. If you're a single individual who's not planning on having a family anytime soon, you might consider a compact sedan; on the other hand, if you have a family or even frequently travel with guests and luggage, a midsize or full-size sedan might be best for you.

Safety

Regardless of how many people your sedan must accommodate, safety features are a must, and in today's world, those features seem endless. Check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) safercar.gov website for detailed information about vehicles' safety features and ratings.

Price

Price varies widely depending on sedan size (and, of course, whether or not it's a luxury model). Stay within your budget by visiting various dealerships and considering some of our shopping tips listed here.

Fuel Economy

When it comes to gasoline, you want the most bang for your buck (and depending on your environmental concerns, you might even want to take it a step further with a hybrid or electric vehicle). Find a vehicle's fuel economy information at the U.S. Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov.

Space

We've covered that sedans come in various sizes, but so do their interiors and trunk spaces. Consider how many passengers you have (or will have) as well as cargo space needs.

Drivetrain

Like other vehicles, sedans are available in various drivetrains. Think about your typical driving conditions when you decide on this feature. For example, do you normally drive in snowy or slippery conditions? Four-wheel or all-wheel drive might be options for you.

Transmission

You can get a sedan as a manual or automatic transmission. Simply choose the transmission option you're most comfortable driving.

Extra Features

Generally, extra features like navigation systems, heated seats, and Bluetooth capability mean extra costs; however, these days, convenience features aren't limited to just luxury models. Shop around for sedans with the convenience features that interest you and fit within your budget.

Where to Buy Your Sedan

Most dealerships sell sedans; the trick is to find the dealership that sells the sedan you need at a price you can afford.

Consider these tips before you begin shopping for your sedan:

  • Research dealer prices.
    • Use websites such as Kelley Blue Book (KBB) and Edmunds to determine how much the dealer pays for the sedan, and use this price as a base negotiating tool.
  • Visit multiple dealerships.
    • First, shopping around just makes sense when you're buying a car -- especially when you're simply testing the roadways, so to speak, to see what's out there for your needs.
    • Second, you can get quotes from various salespeople and even use these quotes as price negotiating tools at other dealerships.
  • Look for manufacturer rebates.
    • Often, manufacturers offer rebates and other buyer incentives when you purchase their sedans brand new (of course, this might mean used sedans aren't options anymore). Sometimes, this means you must finance with the manufacturer or dealership, rather than getting a bank auto loan, but depending on how good the deal is, this could save you up to thousands of dollars.
  • Consider dealer incentives.
    • Sometimes, manufacturers offer incentives to dealers for selling their vehicles; this means a salesperson might try to push a particular make or model in your direction. Simply put, if you feel the salesperson is trying to sway you in a certain direction, assume there's a dealer incentive involved and start negotiating a lower price.
  • Look at the warranties.
    • Carefully consider all available warranties, including any dealership-offered service contracts (commonly referred to as extended warranties). While these cost extra (they're not included in the purchase price, like manufacturer warranties), they could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in vehicle repairs down the road. Learn more about the Extended Warranty.
  • Consider all costs.
    • Finally, whenever you buy a car, be sure to consider all costs in addition to the purchase price. For example, how much sales tax will you pay? Will your insurance increase? Learn more about these and other related costs in our section on New Car Taxes and Fees.

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