Choosing a Family Car: Everything You Need to Consider
Photo by Adam Stefanca
Originally Posted On: Car Safety 101: How to Stay Safe When Driving with Children | My Car Heaven
If you don’t have a family car yet, now may be the best time possible to invest in one. Of course, during normal times, public transport can be fine for families. It’s cheap. It means you don’t have any strict monthly outgoings that have to be stuck to in order to maintain your credit score and keep bailiffs at bay. It’s also good for the environment and will help you to reduce your footprint on the planet.
But 2020 hasn’t been a normal year. In fact, it’s been a pretty difficult one. The spread of coronavirus and Covid-19 around the world has meant that the majority of us want to keep away from areas where others could come into close contact with ourselves or our little ones. Having a car provides you with the opportunity to get from one place to another in order while keeping yourself to yourself and not having to touch any surfaces that others may have touched. Of course, even once this pandemic passes, your call will still be undeniably useful.
Public transport with kids can be difficult. Parents find themselves worrying about kids disrupting others during their commute. Public transport also poses the risk of your kid getting off at a stop before you. Plus, getting prams and pushchairs on and off public transport can be extremely difficult too! So, if you’re planning a family car, you’re not alone. Others have had the same thought process too! Now, you’re going to want to make sure that you choose the right vehicle the first time around. Here are some areas to focus on to achieve this!
Make Sure The Vehicle Has the Right Number of Seats
There are countless aspects of cars that may take your fancy. From nice rims to additional luxury features such as soft tops. But when it comes to family cars, these are additional bonuses and you do need to focus on the essentials first and foremost.
One major factor that can help to determine whether a vehicle is right for your family? The number of seats. Most cars come with either four or five seats. If you have two kids, four seats may well be plenty enough. There will be room for your kids as well as a passenger. However, if you have three kids, you are going to have to rule out four seat options and make sure that your car has five seats – enough for your three little ones and an extra passenger.
You also need to make sure that the seats in your chosen vehicle are big enough to fit in all of the different car seats your little ones may need. Children of different ages and sizes need different types of seats to ensure that they’re safe while travelling in the vehicle. Having the right seats properly fitted will ensure that they are supported and as safe as possible should you experience a car accident or other type of incident on the roads.
Babies need baby seats where they can lie comfortably, where their head is supported and where the seat is securely clipped in. Older children will have booster seats, which allow them to sit upright, but which give them a boost to increase their height. Make sure you know the measurements of your children’s necessary seats before buying any family vehicle to make sure that they can all fit in safely and properly at once.
Make Sure the Vehicle Has the Right Number of Doors
The number of doors you have in your vehicle can also be extremely important when you have children. Cars tend to have three doors or five doors. Three door cars have two doors to access the vehicle (with the front seats folding forward to help people access the back), while five door cars have two doors to access the back seats more easily.
Of course, five door vehicles tend to be a whole lot more suitable for families. These cars allow for much easier access to the back seats. This can help you to get your children in and out of the car more easily. So, why not consider a new vehicle that has five doors?
Prioritise Storage Space
Families tend to require a whole lot of storage space while they’re out of the house and on the roads. A single adult will probably have a coat, a bag and then any shopping that they pick up while they’re out. A small boot space is generally sufficient.
When you have kids, however, you can find yourself with all sorts. Whether that’s prams, strollers, baby bags, nappy bags, toys, bags of baby food or anything else. Plus, families tend to do bigger food and grocery shops, which means transporting more bags back from the supermarket or store. So, space should be a priority when it comes to your list of things you require in your vehicle. Look for large boot spaces and boot spaces that open up completely for easy access. Plenty of room in the back passenger footwells can be useful for toys and other bits and pieces.
Consider Entertainment Options
Of course, in car entertainment options are by no means an essential. But many parents vouch for them as a huge benefit when it comes to buying a family car. Kids can start to squabble or exhibit bad behaviour when they’ve been in the car for a long journey. They can get bored and start acting in a way that could prove a distraction while you’re driving. In car entertainment options are a great distraction that will help them to stay still, remain more quiet and keep them better occupied during journeys.
Bear Your Budget in Mind
Of course, you’re going to have to keep your budget at the forefront of your mind when it comes to buying your family car. You could find the perfect vehicle that suits all of your needs, but if it’s way out of your budget, there’s not much use in setting your heart on it. Instead, start by figuring out your budget and start searching for cars after. This way, you can look at viable options that tick your boxes and that you’ll love.
Remember when making your budget that you need to consider more than the cost of the car alone. Search comparison sites for the best insurance option, make sure to determine how many miles you’re likely to drive and how much fuel will cost during this time and determine how much tax will be on the vehicle over the course of the year.
Could Used Be Better than New?
Sure, getting a brand new car is nice. But is it necessary? When you buy a new car, you’ll find that it loses thousands in value as soon as you drive it off the courtyard, as it shifts from new to used. You could buy an almost new car with low mileage and minimal use that will be almost identical to a brand new version, but cost a whole lot less. Of course, when buying a used car, you need to be wary.
Use a reliable dealership that is trusted and has good recommendations and reviews. Make sure to check the vehicle’s history. This will show up any damage or issues that it has had and that need to be repaired. You should get someone who knows about cars to check it over. You should make sure to meticulously inspect it, inside and out, when you first go to view it.
Perhaps most importantly, you need to take it on a test drive. A test drive will allow you to get a feel for the car and to ensure that it drives well. Also make sure that all features are working. Test the lights. See whether the radio works. Check that the USB works. Try the windows. Try to sunroof. Check beneath the floor mats to ensure that everything is as it seems.
Test Driving a Vehicle
Now, we’ve briefly touched on test driving a vehicle above. But test driving is about so much more than determining whether a vehicle is genuinely working well or not and that everything is in working order. It’s an opportunity to see whether you actually like driving the vehicle. Is it comfortable? Can you drive it and park it easily? Does it handle well? Test driving will quickly allow you to determine whether this is a car that you want to call your own or not.
Sure, this may all seem like quite a lot to take into account. But it’s all essential. A family car is an investment that you’re making for your whole family. It’s also likely to be one of the larger purchases you make during your lifetime. So, don’t treat it lightly. Take the situation seriously and be thorough in your research and decision making!