Driveway Main Photo for November 7 2013

With more than 250 choices available to Canadians, the selection of cars and trucks can be somewhat overwhelming.

This week, the Driveway team hopes to steer you in the direction you may want to go in this 2014 New Model Preview edition.

It’s not a comprehensive list but a look at some key market segments, from which our featured writers have each made five picks. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider any other vehicles. The team members have picked examples that have caught their eye this year to help you start the car conversation at home.

Head test driver Zack Spencer scanned the entire market to come up with his tips, paying particular attention to the booming SUV/Crossover segment. Yours truly picks some premium brand offerings while Alexandra spots the sporty cars under $30,000.

Bob McHugh focuses on hybrid vehicles and we welcome Ian Harwood, who lives and breathes trucks be they utility vehicles, off roaders or pickups.

Okay, before you click away, here are some purchase preparation tips. Fix a top-price budget and, if financing will be required, figure out what you can truly afford in monthly payments. Insurance and maintenance are major costs in owning a car. Once you have a vehicle in mind, get an insurance quote. Regular maintenance costs are easily figured but some cars can be very expensive if parts have to be brought in from around the world.

Once you have a handle on the above, you can narrow your choice. It is important you like the looks of the second most expensive purchase of your life. However, make sure it serves its intended purpose by answering some questions. Typically, how many people do you need to transport and how far? Is there enough stowage space in the cabin and the trunk or luggage compartment? Do you need V8 power or will an economical four-cylinder suffice?

Now go and kick some tires at a variety of dealerships and consider multiple brands because they all have much to offer.

Email: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

Twitter: @ChangeGears

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