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Shopping for a New Car? Be Sure to Compare Safety Features & Warranty

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Did you compare car safety features and warranties at the dealership?

April 23, 2018

Today's new cars are the safest ever. That's due, in large part, to a growing list of hi-tech safety features, such as lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic warnings, blind spot monitors and adaptive cruise control.

When you go shopping, you need to take the time to check which safety features are standard and which are optional, if available at all.

Jack Gillis, director of public affairs at the Consumer Federation of America and Author of The Car Book 2018, says the range of safety features varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and vehicle to vehicle.

"Some of the manufacturers are putting more and more of them in as standard features, such as back-up cameras. But other features, such as blind-spot detection, lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking, may only be optional. So be sure you check to see what's available on the vehicles you're interested in," Gillis said.

Yes, some of these safety features will drive up the price of that vehicle, but they could save your life, Gillis said.

Compare Warranties

You've got a lot to think about aside from price when buying a new car. Besides safety, there's comfort, fuel economy and reliability.

One of the most overlooked aspects of car buying is comparing warranties. And since most of us keep our vehicles longer these days, a good warranty is more important than ever.

"Warranties do vary considerably from company to company and that's why it's good to check the fine print before you sign on the dotted line," Gillis said. "Today's warranties can last anywhere from three years to in some cases, 10 years. And that's a big difference, especially if a major problem occurs four or five years down the road, which is how long I recommend that you keep your car."

There's the basic warranty and the all-important power train warranty that covers the engine and transmission.

Most manufacturers offer 50 to 70-thousand miles on the power train. But with Genesis, Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi it's 100,000 miles. With Tesla it's unlimited.

The Car Book's Best Bets for 2018:

COMPACT CAR:

BMW 3 Series

Kia Sou

Toyota Prius

INTERMEDIATE:

Acura TLX

Hyundai Sonata

Toyota Avalon

Toyota Camry

Audi A6

Subaru Legacy

LARGE CAR:

Tesla Model S

Cadillac XTS

MINIVAN:

Honda Odyssey

SMALL SUV:

Buick Encore

Chevrolet Trax

Honda CR-V

Mazda CX-3

Acura RDX

Kia Sportage

Ford Escape

MID-SIZE SUV:

Tesla Model X

Ford Edge

Toyota Highlander

Honda Pilot

Subaru Outback

Acura MDX

LARGE SUV:

Volvo XC90

For the past 38 years, Jack Gillis and the Center for Auto Safety have partnered to publish The Car Book. This year, in addition to the traditional print version, The Car Book 2018 is available in-full online at TheCarBook.com.

Both the print and online versions provide unique crash test ratings, comparative complaint ratings. In addition to in-depth ratings of the 2018 vehicles, the site includes over 1,000 used car ratings going back five years.

TheCarBook.com also features the Decision Wizard, an easy-to-use search function based on specific aspects of the vehicle, such as size, price range, crash test results, warranty ratings and safety features.

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