That’s a tough question, isn’t it?
This is an area where a large portion of buyers make their biggest mistakes. They go into the buying process with good intentions but don’t wind up purchasing the vehicle that is best for their needs, but instead get smitten with something that doesn’t fulfill their requirements, costs far too much money or, typically, both. Deciding how much you want to spend then becomes the easy part of the equation, and the hard part winds up being that of finding the right vehicle for you.
However, most buyers aren’t really all that sure of what’s out there or even what they need and want. So, here’s some suggestions to help you get off on the right foot: First, make a list of all the things you absolutely need your vehicle to do (haul kids, go off-road, get good gas mileage, be absolutely reliable, maintain good re-sale value, be easy to park) and then make a second list of all the things you’d love to have in your dream vehicle (body style, colors, luxury options, etc). Now, cross-reference the two. You’ll then end up with a list of required and desired characteristics, which you can use to eliminate models that won’t work for you (because, of course, as much as you’d like to try, you simply can’t haul kids in a two-seat sports car, or operate a full-size sport utility vehicle on an economy-car fuel budget).
Once you’ve done your homework, you’ll be at a great point to start looking for that perfect car for you!