What to look for in a family car

If you're in the market for a new family car, there are a few things you need to consider before you buy anything.

When in the market for a new family car there are a few points that should be considered before parting with any hard earned cash.

The size and structure of your family will largely dictate how big the new vehicle must be, but cars can come with perks and quirks that can suit the personality of your family.

Before visiting a car dealership or searching online, ask yourself a few questions. Could you cope with a small and pocket-friendly hatchback or is your family big enough to warrant an MPV or people carrier? Do you need extra room for luggage as well as passenger space? Is practicality your priority or are you looking for something a bit sportier?

Once you have a basic idea of what boxes your new family car needs to tick you can have a think about what you will need to look for your when purchasing the vehicle.

Number of doors

How old are your children? If they are still babies or toddlers then a five-door car is generally the more practical option. This will allow easy access to the back seat when securing an infant into a child seat and will provide them with plenty of space.

If your children are old enough to get themselves in an out of the vehicle without any assistance then you could save a bit of money by purchasing a three-door car, as older passengers should find it easier to climb out.

How the doors open is also something to consider. Sliding doors can prove to be incredibly useful if you have small infants or babies, as you don’t have to worry about the door getting damaged or hitting another car when parked as you secure your child.

How many passengers will you be carrying?

Having enough seats to carry your family is obviously incredibly important, but you may want to plan ahead to make sure your car will be big enough in the long-term.

Your children may fit comfortably into a five-seater now, but it could become a squeeze if you’re planning on having more. Are you planning on keeping this car for an extended period of time? If yes, then it might be a good idea to buy a car with more seats than you currently need.

Cars that have fold down seats could be a good investment as you could add and remove seats when you need them, depending on how many passengers you need to carry.

Safety

Possibly the most important thing to consider when buying a new family car is the safety features the vehicle comes with.

Before buying you should consult the Euro NCAP website to compare each model’s performance during crash tests. The rating given to each vehicle takes adult protection, child protection, pedestrian protection and safety assist into consideration.

If you need to fit one or multiple car seats into the back of the vehicle then you should check that any prospective purchase has Isofix mounting points, which makes installing the seat a faster and safer process.

How affordable is it?

Do your homework before you buy your new family car, you don’t want to end up purchasing something that is too expensive to insure and has terrible fuel efficiency.

Each insurance company will have a different number of price categories, based on engine size, how often the model is involved in an accident or stolen, cost and availability of parts and what demographic uses that particular car the most. For example, if your purchase a car that is popular with young people, you will pay more compared to one that is mostly used by an older generation.

It might be a good idea input some information into a price comparison website, using the details of a few makes and models you’re interested in, to get an idea of how much you’ll likely pay.

Extras

Some family cars come with added extras that will keep your children entertained, especially on long journeys.

You can invest in a vehicle that has in-built DVD players, either on the ceiling or on the back of the front headrests. A few even have sockets to plug phones and games consoles, or cleverly hidden storage that could hold toys and books.

However, these are not necessities and are likely to add to the purchase price of your new car.

 

 

  • On: 19 March 2014
  • By: CarShop

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