As a younger person in this day and age, a first vehicle likely ticks a few boxes; almost as old as you are, covered in blemishes and dents, and a money pit so deep you're likely to spend more on repairs than you paid to buy the vehicle in the first place.

Above all that, though, a first vehicle represents freedom, excitement and fun! But like all things, the fun of a first vehicle must come to an end, and such was the case when my "beautiful" Mazda truck kicked the bucket this August.

Here's The Truck Getting Stuck In A Parking Lot Because It Refused To Reverse. Credit: Nico Berrios

So then, I needed a new vehicle.  I decided to go NEW new, and check out my options.  Here's what I learned...

Credit: Nico Berrios
  • #5 - Know what you want before you set foot in a dealership! - This was something I figured out on my own, but I didn't realize how true it would be.  I knew that I wanted a subcompact car with punch, and had read good things about the Ford Fiesta, so I went to the dealer with this info and made the sales experience more painless.
  • #4 - Make sure you can afford it! - This one is a no-brainer, but there's a lot more thought that needs to be put into your financial calculations beyond the sticker price of the car.  Taxes and fees are going to be there of course, but also consider the fact that your insurance is likely to go up significantly if your previous vehicle was old. Speaking of finances, that leads us to...
  • #3 - If you're buying new from a dealership, check your credit! - Having good credit is something many people struggle with, and even more so if you are young.  Young people often have less-than-perfect credit simply because their credit history isn't very long, and that is something that makes lenders nervous.
  • #2 - Be willing to make compromises! - I'll be honest, while I am very happy with my purchase, no vehicle is perfect. For cost reasons, I didn't get the fanciest and newest dashboard multimedia system, and the one included is a little old and confusing at times. And I would have REALLY loved to have gotten the hatchback version of the Fiesta, but they didn't have any on the lot and I needed the vehicle ASAP. Car buying, as in life, is a game of give and take.
  • #1 - Above all, get something you love! - as I said in #2, no car is perfect.  But if you're going to make a major purchase like a vehicle, you need to make sure that you are satisfied with your choice.  Don't make an impulse buy! Carefully consider your options, and referring to #5, make sure to do your research.
Credit: Nico Berrios

This whole car buying experience certainly was an adventure, and it was intimidating at times.  But I am certainly glad with the way things turned out!