Top 10 Tips For Buying The Perfect Family Car
A family car is used differently than other types of car. It is a taxi, a baby changing facility, a dining room, a place to throw temper tantrums, and a place to sleep. Family cars are multi-tasking experts, but how do you choose the right one? Here are our top 10 tips for choosing the best family car.
Size should be your first consideration. Some of this is obvious – you should not get a car with five seats if you have a family with six people, for example. However you also have to think of other things when it comes to size, such as how much you need to carry in the boot, and how many car seats you need to fit into the backseat.
2. Body Style
You will also have to decide on the type of body style to go for:
- Hatchbacks – these are a good family option with easy to access the boot
- Saloons – often come with lots of space inside, but the boot is usually more awkward to get at
- Estates – come with loads of room in the back
- MPV – bigger again, and they sometimes come with more than three seats in the back so are good for large families
- SUV – good family choice because of the ride height and interior space, but check the boot is big enough
3. Doors That Open Wide
This is particularly important if your children are still in car seats as it makes strapping them in easier.
4. Seat Height
Some family cars come with stadium-style seats. This is where the back seats are higher than the front seats. It is easier to put children into car seats with this design, and children have a better view out of the front window, which can help to reduce car sickness.
5. Get Isofix mounting points
Fitting car seats is never fun, but Isofix mounting points makes it quicker and easier. Plus it is a safer option.
6. Safety Rating
Speaking of safety, you should check the safety rating of the vehicle you are planning to buy. The rating is called the Euro NCAP rating. Most modern cars get five star ratings, but you can go into further detail with each model.
7. Boot Size
This is very important when you have children, particularly if yours are still in a pram. The best advice is to bring your pram with you when looking at cars to see if it fits. And make sure there is enough room for everything else when the pram is in place, like school bags, shopping and sports gear.
8. Features for Children
Good child friendly features include sun blinds, tinted rear windows, DVD screens and 12V power sockets in the back for charging tablets and hand-held game consoles.
9. Features for You
But this is not just a car for the children, so it is important you get features that will make you comfortable and enjoy owning the car as well. Unfortunately this is unlikely to mean a cream leather interior, but try to get a car that has the equipment that you need – cruise control, heated seats, Sat-nav, Bluetooth etc.
Finally, work out your budget, and remember the initial cost of the car is only part of the equation. You also need to look at running, maintenance and insurance costs to ensure you don’t go over budget.
One final bonus tip is to take the children with you when you are looking at the car. This might sound like hard work when there are babysitting alternatives, but it will give you a good feel for what it will be like actually owning the car as a family.