How auto shows can really help you shop for a car

With new models, concept cars and cutting edge designs, auto shows create a buzz and it’s easy to see why they’re magnets for car enthusiasts. The major shows in Detroit, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, held annually between November and April, attract international attention and feature some truly stunning vehicles.

But whether you’re an enthusiast or not, auto shows, from these big four to the many regional events across the country, can be extremely useful when shopping for a new car. And attending one of these events is a great exercise for both those who have only a general idea of what they’re looking for, and shoppers who already have several specific vehicles in mind.

Here’s how attending an auto show can help you shop for a car:

  • You can view a wide range of vehicles in one place, which makes life easier than clocking time and miles visiting numerous dealerships. And it’s an ideal place to make direct comparisons between vehicles you’re interested in, to see how competing models stack up against each other.
  • Checking out a car in person is invaluable and an auto show enables you to get a real feel for it, inside and out. Can you picture yourself driving it? Think about practicalities; try the driving position, assess the trunk and cargo space and take a look at the features. It should give you a better idea of how that car or truck meets your particular needs.
  • Depending on the size of the show, the main auto manufacturers will be there and knowledgeable representatives will be on hand to answer your questions without the sales atmosphere of a dealership. Take advantage and gather more information about the vehicles on your short list, from specifications to special offers. Keep an eye out for handy interactive display screens, positioned next to the models, to pick up more details too.
  • Technological change is accelerating in the auto industry, like others. Keep up with the pace setters by attending an auto show to understand just what the latest generation of cars can do for you, and get a glimpse of future innovations too.

Once you’ve completed your tour of the show, whether a targeted visit or a more leisurely lap, you’ll be better placed to visit a dealership. However, it pays to combine auto shows with some solid online research into the model or models you’re seriously considering. So follow up your show experience by looking over expert and customer reviews, pricing and incentives, as well as inventory at the lots. Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds are great resources for these.

And if you’re going to finance the car, apply online with RoadLoans for an instant decision. Once approved, you can shop with the power of a cash buyer knowing your car loan is already arranged.

For more information about auto shows across the United States, visit Edmunds’ auto show calendar.

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