If you need help deciding which car will best suit your child’s needs (and yours), consider these back-to-school car buying tips from Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com:

  • Safety first. It’s hard to imagine anything more important than the safety of your children, so choosing a safe car is of the utmost importance. It is also wise to look for more than just crash survivability, although that is very important. These days, active safety equipment in the form of electronic driving aids can be equally important to your child’s overall safety. Lane departure warning, cross-traffic alert, back-up cameras and forward collision warning are all vital new technologies.
  • Reliability. Among the last things you want is to have your child stranded because her or his car quit. This is not only inconvenient; it could also be unsafe, so choosing a reliable vehicle is a key factor.
  • Economy of purchase and operation. You might think that choosing a cheap car would give you a leg up on economical transportation, but a cheap vehicle that guzzles gas and has frequent mechanical problems can be more expensive over the long haul than a car that costs a bit more to purchase. The KBB 5-Year Cost-to-Own data can help in this area.
  • New or used. Buying a new car has the obvious advantages of offering the newest technology, typically the best fuel economy and lengthy warranty coverage. Buying a used car can be significantly more economical. A good compromise solution is a  Pre-Owned Car.
  • Fun! A car is more than an appliance; it is often an expression of one’s personality. Choosing a car that your child can be proud of has many advantages, and getting a new car should be fun.