What to look for when choosing a family car

When it comes to buying your first family car, there are some very different features that need to be considered.

When motorists make the transition from being a carefree young adult to starting a family and climbing up the ladder in a long-term career, it is often the case that some of the factors that influence their decisions regarding a new car are suddenly very different.

As a teenager or 20-something who has recently passed their test, the objective is often to find the cheapest vehicle possible in an effort to offset the huge insurance costs that first-time drivers must contend with.

It's something of a trade-off as although a newer, more eco-friendly car might lead to insurance being a bit lower, the initial payment may often be a bridge too far for those with little disposable income.

This mentality of 'settling' for the cheapest option becomes a thing of the past when buyers have a family to consider though. Functionality and reliability are likely to become much more of a priority when a vehicle is required to get you from A to B in a quest to keep family life moving along smoothly.

Space

Whereas your first motor might have been all about cramming in the biggest speaker system possible, mulling over the needs of extra passengers means that ample space will be an essential feature.

This could mean having to ditch that speedy hatchback in favour of a saloon. When young children are involved, a three-door may simply prove too much hassle when trying to navigate the school run.

If bickering siblings are forced to be crammed into the back of tiny roadster every morning, this will inevitably lead to an extra headache that the vast majority of parents simply don't need.

Reliability

The family routine of the modern day is a little more chaotic than used to be the case. Financial pressures and improvements in childcare mean that most families now have two working parents.

Any family car must therefore be well-equipped to take the strain of this busy schedule. This could potentially involve trips to school, work, extracurricular activities, and of course any of your own leisurely pursuits (if you're lucky enough to have the spare time for such endeavours).

Obviously, one of the biggest pointers is to make sure you buy your new vehicle through a trusted dealer with a recognised reputation. If this is something you are unsure of, an online search will hopefully give access to a number of impartial customer reviews - something that will provide a much better insight.

There is nothing worse than having to trawl back and forth to garages in a bid to get those slight kinks sorted out when you have very little time to yourself as it is - and what's more, the cash involved will soon start to mount up.

Entertainment

Newer models have been the subject of much more innovation in terms of those little extras that can make a family journey easier.

Features such as in-car DVD players and mp3 ports can ensure that the kids stay entertained from the minute you leave your home to when you reach your destination. It will not only mean they have the most pleasant of journeys but also give you the peace and quiet needed to concentrate on the road.

These kinds of extras could also be the key to solving the age-old problem of arguments about what should go on the stereo. Many of the latest saloon ranges have built-in speaker systems dedicated to each passenger seat. It might seem like additional expense you don't need or want at the time, but could well save your sanity!

Security

When relying on a family vehicle on a daily basis, it is absolutely imperative to be protected from thieves and vandals. This can encompass a number of features including central locking, an adequate alarm system and a removable stereo.

But safety while in the car is just as important, so making sure a new vehicle has child locks installed is a must - this is an easy one to forget for new parents as they may never have had to think about this before, but the benefits could be potentially life-saving.

  • On: 16 February 2014
  • By: CarShop

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