Choosing a car that’s practical for family life can save you a lot of stress. When choosing a family car, here are just several important factors to consider.
Most families have a tight budget to work with. Choosing an economical vehicle could save you from getting into unnecessary debt.
Used cars can usually be cheaper to buy than new cars, however, they may be more costly to maintain and possibly less fuel-efficient. Ideally, you want something that’s used – but not too old. This is likely to give you a good balance of low upfront costs, reliability and fuel economy.
Some dealerships such as Crystal Motor Company offer the ability to buy on finance. This can save you money initially, but you should take into the monthly costs. Having a good credit score could help you to pay less interest and possibly allow you to pay over a longer period.
Insurance is also an important cost to consider. If you have older kids and plan to teach them to drive in your car, this could be particularly important. New cars can be more expensive to insure, however, so can very old cars due to a higher risk of faults that could lead to an accident. Cars with good in-built security and low engine size can also be cheaper to insure. You can research the insurance band of a car at sites like MoneySupermarket.
A family car needs to be spacious. There should be ample passenger space including enough legroom in the back and possibly a working rear middle seat. If you’ve got more than three kids, you may even have to consider a people carrier. Coupes will generally have less rear passenger space and may be harder to access (which could be a pain when putting children in car seats), so try to avoid these if you can.
Boot space is also important – especially if you’ve got young kids that require a pram. This could be something worth testing out before you make a purchase. A large boot could also be a priority if you also have a dog.
Safety is paramount when choosing a family car. The ideal car should come with child-lock features, rear airbags and a middle seatbelt as well as other standard safety features. Newer cars are more likely to have these safety features.
The Euro NCAP site lists some of the safest family cars on the market. Brands like Volvo, Ford and Mazda tend to generally fare well when it comes to a good safety rating.
Whilst not a necessity, having an easy-to-clean interior can be convenient. Kids are prone to spilling things and being messy (especially young kids), and having easy-to-clean seating could help to prevent permanent stains and maintain the value of your car.
Dark leather upholstery can often be the best suited – most spillages can be wiped off easily and those that do stain are less likely to be noticeable. Another option could be to simply buy seat covers to preserve the seats.