What Are Today’s Car Shoppers Looking For?

Oct 26, 2022

When selling cars, it is essential to know what car shoppers are looking for. If you can adapt your sales strategy and inventory acquisition to the needs and wants of today’s car shoppers, you’re in a much better position to succeed. 

This article looks at the top trends currently affecting the car-buying market and how you can use this information to your advantage when considering which used vehicles to acquire to stock your lot. 

Factors the modern car shopper is looking for 

In the past, the primary concern for most buyers was simply finding a vehicle that met their basic transportation needs. Today, however, the modern car shopper is much more concerned with getting good value for their money. 

With the advent of the internet, the modern car shopper is now better informed than ever before. They can easily compare prices and features of different models online and make an informed decision about which car to buy. This has put pressure on dealerships to offer competitively priced inventory with the features shoppers are looking for. 

Some of the top factors that car shoppers look for include: 

Fuel efficiency 

With relatively high gas prices, many shoppers are looking for cars that save them money at the pump. Fuel-efficient models are in high demand, and dealerships should stock a good selection of these vehicles. 

Fortunately, many different models of cars on the market today offer excellent fuel efficiency. Some of the most efficient models include: 

Hybrid cars: Hybrid vehicles are powered by a gasoline engine and an electric motor, making them highly efficient. 

Electric vehicles: Electric cars run exclusively on electricity and are becoming increasingly popular due to their low operating costs. 

Small cars: Small cars like hatchbacks and sedans often have better fuel economy than larger vehicles. 

Safety features 

Safety is always a top concern for most buyers when shopping for a new car, and many shoppers only consider models with various safety features. 

Some of the most common safety features include: 

Lane departure warning: This feature uses sensors to detect when a car is veering out of its lane and provides a warning to the driver. 

Automatic braking: This feature can automatically apply the brakes if it senses that a collision is imminent. 

Blind spot detection: Blind spot detection uses sensors to monitor an area around the car that is not visible to the driver. If another vehicle enters this area, the system also warns the driver. 

Low price 

When shopping for a new car, price is one of the most critical factors car shoppers look for. They want the best deal possible and are willing to shop around to find it. 

This has put a lot of pressure on dealerships to offer competitively priced inventory. To stay ahead of the competition and build dealerships and customer relationships, owners need to know what cars are in demand and adjust their prices accordingly. 

Suitability for everyday use 

When shopping for a new car, many buyers are looking for something that is not only affordable but also practical for everyday use. They want a flexible vehicle that can be used for various purposes. 

Some of the top features for buyers looking for practicality are: 

Spaciousness: Many buyers are looking for a car with plenty of space for passengers and cargo. 

Easy-to-use infotainment system: An infotainment system can provide various features like navigation, music playback, and hands-free calling. An infotainment system that is easy to use for even the most tech-challenged buyer is a must. 

Comfortable seating: Buyers want to be able to drive for long periods without feeling uncomfortable. Cars with comfortable, supportive seats are in high demand. 

High quality 

Even though shoppers are looking for a good deal, they still want to ensure they get a high-quality car. Exposure to luxury cars on social media and TV has made many buyers more demanding. Even if a buyer may opt for a cheaper model, they may want upgraded features that add to the quality of the car. 

Some of these features include: 

Leather upholstery: Leather upholstery is often seen as a sign of luxury, and many buyers are willing to pay extra for it. 

Heated seats: Heated seats provide a level of comfort not found in most cars. 

Large infotainment screens: Large infotainment touch screens offer a level of convenience and modernity appealing to many car shoppers. 

Driving comfort 

With cars becoming more and more like a second home for many people, comfort is also one of the most critical factors car shoppers look for. Features like heated seats, massaging seats, and adjustable lumbar support are all selling points that can make a car stand out from the competition. 

Some additional factors car shoppers look for in terms of comfortability include: 

Suspension: The car’s suspension is also essential for driving comfort. A good suspension keeps the car stable and level, even on rough roads. It also helps reduce noise and vibration, making for a more comfortable ride. 

Steering: The car’s steering should be easy to use and responsive. Responsive steering makes it easier for the driver to control the vehicle and make quick changes if needed. 

Sunroof: A sunroof can add a touch of luxury to a car and make it feel more spacious. It can also help to regulate the temperature inside the vehicle, making it more comfortable for passengers. 

Good warranty 

Vehicles are one of the most significant investments many people make, so it’s no surprise that a good warranty is one of the things car shoppers are looking for. A good warranty can give buyers peace of mind and strengthen dealership and customer relationships, resulting in potential future sales. 

When considering a car, buyers may look for the following: 

A manufacturer’s warranty: A basic manufacturer’s warranty covers the vehicle for a certain period or mileage. 

An extended warranty: An extended warranty that can provide coverage beyond the manufacturer’s warranty and can be purchased from the dealership or directly from the manufacturer. 

A certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle: CPO vehicles are used cars inspected by the manufacturer and come with an extended warranty. A CPO vehicle can give buyers the peace of mind of knowing that their car has been thoroughly checked and is covered by a warranty. 


Car manufacturers have recently designed their budget models to look much more like their luxury counterparts, making design one of the main factors car shoppers look for who want a car that looks good but doesn’t break the bank. 

Some modern design features that are appealing to many car shoppers include: 

LED headlights: LED headlights are becoming increasingly common, as they offer a brighter light and use less energy than traditional halogen bulbs. 

Tinted windows: Tinted windows can give a car a more luxurious look and feel. They can also help keep the car’s interior cooler in hot weather. 

Sleek lines: An aerodynamic design can make a car look more modern and stylish. Cars like the Hyundai Elantra and the Kia Forte are excellent examples of budget-friendly cars that offer many of the same design features as their more expensive counterparts. 

How Kelley Blue Book can help 

If you’re looking for more tips on attracting today’s car shoppers, Kelley Blue Book has a wealth of resources that can help. Some of the tools that we offer include: 

Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer: This tool allows car shoppers to get a real-time cash offer for their vehicle. 

Kelley Blue Book Price Advisor:  This tool provides car shoppers with fair market values for new and used cars, so they know how much they should expect to pay. 

Kelley Blue Book Trade-In Advisor:  This tool gives car shoppers an estimate of what their trade-in is worth to negotiate a fair price for their new car. 

No matter what factors car shoppers look for, Kelley Blue Book can help you attract them to your dealership and build dealerships and customer relationships. With our tools and resources, you’ll be able to provide the best possible experience for your customers.