Ed. note:  Jean Jennings is a nationally regarded automotive expert and the former editor and President of Automobile magazine.

How does shopping for a new car fit into your life? Is it right up there at the desirability level of a trip to the spa, or down low next to a root canal?

Let me tell you how I feel about new-car shopping: I believe that you should look forward to it as a joyful experience. I believe you should take your time and make the whole experience be about you. I believe the dealer owes it to you to listen to you and give you answers that make sense.

To get there, you need to put yourself into the right mindset. Then you will be able to put all the elements in place that will make the experience work for you.

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