Tips For Choosing a Family Car
How do you define a family car? It can be difficult as it is such a broad phrase. After all, a family car could be a hatchback, a saloon, an estate, and MPV, or a 4×4. With such a wide selection of types of vehicle to choose from, it can be hard to make a decision. This is particularly true if you are having your first child as you won’t have used a car for a family before. Here are our tips for choose a family car.
You have to carry lots of stuff when you have children. Just going on a short trip to the shops or a friend’s house still involves extra bags, changes of clothes, toys, prams, and more. You will need to fit all this in your car.
Start by thinking how long you will keep the car, and how big your family will be by then. Will you be able to fit all the car seats in, for example? Think about how much boot space you will need too.
We’ve already mentioned the various styles of car that can potentially be classified as family cars. Each has their advantages and disadvantages.
Hatchbacks are generally the most economical, but they are also often the smallest. Small saloons are similar so you will have to go for something bigger if you want to fit more than two carseats in the back. Estates are a favourite with many families as well because of the size of the boot and the ease of access.
Then you have MPVs. If there is a style of car that is most closely associated with families it is the MPV. They typically come in five and seven seat variations, so are an excellent choice if you have more than three children. They also maximise interior space, plus you usually sit higher making it easier to load children in and out of the car.
This is similar with 4x4s, as they are high too. They are a good alternative to MPVs if you want something more rugged or simply don’t like the style of an MPV.
You have to think about two main things when it comes to car seats. The first is fitting them in, as even though smaller cars technically have three seats in the back, it is not possible to fit three car seats into many of them. Also, even though the car seat does fit, it can often be very difficult accessing the seatbelt.
The other important thing to consider with car seats is how you fit them. There are two main options – with a seatbelt or with ISOFIX. Fitting with seatbelts is fairly universal so shouldn’t be a problem. ISOFIX is the safer option, but not all seats and fittings are compatible. If you have a car seat you should bring it with you when viewing the car. If buying a new seat make sure it fits by checking your car’s specification.
Technology and Features
The sorts of things that are beneficial in family cars are multiple power sockets and/or USB ports for charging phones and tablets. Satellite navigation can also be a stress reliever on family trips to places you are not familiar with. DVD screens in the back also make journeys for parents more comfortable.
You will need space for everything you accumulate in your car – examples include children’s books in the pockets behind the driver’s seat, wet wipes in the glovebox, and blankets in the boot for journeys home on cold evenings.
This probably won’t be a deal breaker, but it is surprising how useful the little storage areas in your car become when you have children.
Finally, get something you enjoy driving – it is a family car, but you are the one who will probably spend the most time in it.