Consider your car-buying options as tax filing deadline approaches


The deadline for filing tax returns, April 18, is just ahead, and if you’re expecting money back, keep in mind the difference a refund can make to a car purchase.

Millions of Americans use their refunds, which averaged $2,777 in 2016, for a down payment on a new vehicle, and all or part of a check from the IRS may help you qualify for financing.

If approved, it might even enhance the loan terms, enabling you to sit back and drive towards summer with savings, style and comfort.

What kind of vehicle is at the top your list?

Here are some key car-buying factors and award-winning vehicles to help the shopping process:


It’s the most important factor in many car-buying decisions, and J.D. Power’s 2017 vehicle dependability study provides insights into the most reliable three-year-old cars by brand and segment. Based on problems experienced by original owners in the past 12 months, it reveals Toyota to be the most dependable mainstream car brand. Toyota Motor Corporation as a whole, accounting for both Toyota and Lexus, actually scooped 10 out of 18 segment awards, including America’s best-selling car, the Camry, for mid-size car.

See the list of most dependable brands and vehicles.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently highlighted 87 new vehicles that top its criteria for crash tests, crash avoidance and crash mitigation. These 2017 model-year vehicles include 43 Top Safety Pick and 44 Top Safety Pick+ winners in 12 vehicle categories. Among them is the Subaru Impreza, when equipped with EyeSight safety features and adaptive LED highlights, which is a Top Safety Pick+ for the fifth year running.

Read more about some of the safest new cars on the road.

Cost to own

You might want to look beyond a new car’s sticker price to see how the cost of ownership adds up over time. Kelley Blue Book’s cost-to-own awards identify the least expensive vehicles to own over five years based on factors such as depreciation, fuel and maintenance costs, financing, insurance and state fees.

Check out the 2017 model-year winners in 21 categories, from the subcompact Chevrolet Spark, with the lowest cost to own overall, to the Lexus LS, winner of the high-end luxury car segment.

Whatever your car-shopping needs and wants, and whatever vehicles you have in mind, consider how using a tax refund as a down payment might help your position, and apply for financing with RoadLoans.


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