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05/08/14

Driving force: Why smaller cars make travel a breeze

The appeal of the large scale trucks or hybrid, spacious SUVs isn't hard to see. Lots of leg room, plenty of space for the kids and even a back hatch that houses the family pet.
But packing the family into the Suburban or Escalade often carries with it more than just heated seats, backing cameras and flat screen TVs built into the seats. Above and beyond the perks and extras with these vehicles are enormous repair amounts and yearly maintenance that often isn't considered wholeheartedly when you're about to make that purchase.
No one is going to argue that hitting the open road in an oversized car or truck makes the road traveled less cramped, but this means of transportation isn't just a fixed monthly car payment. Far too many consumers start budgeting with that lone number in the front of their mind. Sure, you can afford $300 or $400 per month, but have you factored in the extra cost associated with oil changes, tires and annual upkeep that is more expensive than smaller cars or vehicles.
Think about spending $200 per tire for example on that truck or SUV, when perhaps that amount on a car could pay for all four wheels. These types of variables might be the proverbial red flag you need to start thinking small to save big.
Even before you start hitting the car lots, you have to ask yourself if a truck or SUV is more about posturing and less about practicality. Cars are the ultimate impulse buy, especially if you have always thought about having a pickup or an SUV that could lead to plenty of ski trips, getaways or vacations that making stuffing your suitcase into a small trunk a moot point.

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Then again, ask yourself this question: are you really going to use the space in your vehicle as much as you think? Furthermore, if you are spending a ton on not only your car payment but repairs, will you have enough money leftover to actually pay for a vacation?
These questions are valid and should be addressed well before you start testing driving or contemplating a purchase. A good car salesman, if you're not 100% sure of what you can afford and what you actually need, will have you sitting in a car that is out of your price range and showcases benefits that you'll never need.
But don't worry, it has that new car smell, right?
Another scent you may pick up is one of regret if you ultimately buy something that in time you never truly use to its fullest capability. That's not to suggest that some day you may be in the market for a car that is larger, but until that day arrives, keep is simple.
And small.

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