New car sales are up. People who’ve owned their vehicles for a long time seem ready to spend the money on a new set of wheels.
Buying a car is a complicated transaction. You need to find the right vehicle, negotiate a good price and shop for a loan.
During a TODAY Money web chat on Wednesday, Jack Gillis, author of The Car Book 2013 and the public affairs director for the Consumer Federation of America, covered all that and much more.
TODAY: What’s new and exciting for 2013?
Jack Gillis: There are three things consumers will note.
Increased fuel economy: Car makers are responding to both consumer demand as well as the impending new 54.5 mpg standard.
More 4-cylinder engines: While engines are getting smaller, their horse power is increasing, so it will save at the pump while not seriously compromising performance.
Automation: I call them technological safety belts. Crash avoidance, lane changing warnings, and even cars that park themselves.
TODAY: If you’re in the market for a new vehicle right now and you’re not sold on electric, is a hybrid the smart way to go?
Jack Gillis: Hybrids are great because you get the benefits of electric with the fact that your gas engine will keep you going long after the battery dies. And there are a large variety of hybrids to choose from.
JoAnne: My daughter wants a car for graduation. What's the best low-cost car for teens that are SAFEST!?
Jack Gillis: The key is finding a car that is comfortable to handle and safe. Here are some good choices: Chevrolet Sonic, Chevrolet Cruze, Dodge Dart and Hyundai Elantra. All are good, economical safe choices. JoAnne, be sure your daughter takes a test drive and feels confident driving the vehicle.
Read the rest of the Q & A below: