Big vs. small cars

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Updated: 3/28/2003 1:53 pm
The size car you should buy depends on a number of factors. First, consider your particular driving needs when analyzing different vehicles. Are you a soccer mom who needs a big van? Are you an older person who has trouble getting in and out of cars? Will you be carrying a lot of cargo? Is there an item you routinely carry that must fit inside the car? Do you live in a big city where parking is minimal and the spaces are small? If you need a lot of trunk space for hauling groceries, baseball equipment, boxes of supplies for your office, or even a wheelchair or walker, choose a car with a larger trunk, a Sport Utility Vehicle, or a van. It's easier for some older drivers to get in and out of bigger vehicles because of the additional head and leg room. Will other people be riding in the back seat? You may want to choose a four-door model over a two-door one. Smaller engines may give better fuel economy, but larger engines can give better performance. Larger vehicles can be more expensive to operate, and they require more space to maneuver and park. Safety is also a factor. Larger cars generally have lower fatality and injury rates than smaller ones, although they don't deliver the fuel economy of compacts. Before buying, try out the car to make sure it 'fits.' If family members often ride in the back, make sure they can enter and exit the vehicle with ease and that the seats are comfortable for them. Have your family sit in the car where they'd typically ride, and make sure everyone is comfortable. If you have a young child, you'll need adequate space for a safety seat, along with everything else that must fit into the car.

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