Cars are either a necessity, luxury, or both, depending on your lifestyle, travelling preferences, location, accessibility to places you frequent, and purchasing power, among others.
When you’re single, you can afford to cut your car budget in half, and go for a more economic choice, and cut your discernment time as well since the choice is technically yours alone to make.
However, if you’re in the market for a family car, suddenly, there are far more things to consider, and more opinions, priorities, and preferences to weigh.
This is why we’ve come up with a list of things you should definitely consider, or look for when buying a car for your new, or growing family.
1. Safety Ratings & Features
In the recent years, safety standards for cars have increased and are strictly implemented thus choosing the new family car in this age won’t be much of a hassle.
The Active & Passive Safety features of a vehicle should always be a top consideration when you’re looking to purchase a family car. Active Safety refer to the technology assisting in the prevention of a crash and Passive Safety to components of the vehicle (primarily airbags, seatbelts and the physical structure of the vehicle) that help to protect occupants during a crash.
As we are looking for a family friendly car, cars with child safety locks and driver-controlled power window lockout controls should be on top of the list – to prevent children from opening doors and windows from inside the vehicle.
With all the safety features of a car to consider, a proper car safety practice should still always be kept in mind – from using the proper car seats for the little ones, to buckling up, to car tires maintenance and more.
2. Flexible Seating
A perfect family car should have a backseat that accommodates your child’s car seat.
When you test drive a car take with you a child’s car seat and check to make sure they easily fit. According to NHTSA, a properly installed child seat should move no more than an inch in any direction.
If you’re going to have more than one child in your car, avoid cars with deep bucket seats in the back or a hump in the rear middle seat. These features can make it nearly impossible to install any car seat snugly. Make sure that multiple seats will fit across the back of your car safely. You can also use online car fitting sites which can help you match car models with child car seats.
Airbags protect passengers from hitting the interior of a vehicle but it can be dangerous especially to a child if they’re too close to an airbag when it inflates. Consider a car with a wider space in the passenger back seat to make sure a child’s seat is as far back as possible especially when you use a forward-facing car seat on it.
3. Automatic Doors and Easy-Access Features
Automatic doors provide both convenience and assurance to your child’s safety especially when you have too much in hand – you don’t have to physically close the door or worse, forget it!
Keyless entry is an easy-access feature that’ll help reduce hassle when bringing your kids to the car. Whether it’s 2 kids or 5 kids and a dog or when you’re holding bags of grocery – easy access features take the stress off the many things you have to consider before finally starting the engine.
4. Entertainment features
A 3-5 year old child’s average attention span lasts only for 5-10 minutes. It can be stressful when they start their temper tantrums.
Entertainment features is not the top priority when searching for a family car but it’ll help your trips, especially long drives, become less stressful (like big time). DVD players, CD changers, and satellite radios all play a part in deciding which family car to purchase.
5. Location and Weather Conditions
Taking into consideration the location and weather conditions where your car will be used can help maximize your car’s performance.
If your family love going on long drives, there are several cars that pack power. If your commute is minimal, fuel economy may not be your top priority, which can minimize the initial payment of your chosen car – although those gallons can add up quickly.
With a Keyless entry feature, you can start your car while still inside the comfort of your home or even before you reach the car after a long walk from the store helping cool the car if it’s too hot outside or heat when it’s cold – before you and your kids go in and drive.
6. How Much is Too Much?
Without a doubt we would only want the best for our family – but sometimes, best can be too much. Before purchasing your new family car, you should provide a checklist of your top priorities, weigh them, and match it with your budget.
There are car models that may be too luxurious (ones with refrigerators, massage seats, even diamond headlights!) which would only cost you more, providing you with features you don’t really need. Researching, and making calculated decisions are essential to smart car shopping. Make a list of your non-negotiable features, set a bugdet, do your research and focus on what you can get.
7. Make A Mindful Purchase
There are pros and cons to both Petrol and Diesel cars. They differ in running costs, fuel consumption costs and its effects to the environment, one better than the other.
Until recently, the reputation of diesel engines were always pulled down by concerns of its effects on the environment. Today’s diesel cars (those sold from September 2015 onwards) now run quietly, and don’t spew black smoke all over the road.
But if you want to be extra environment friendly – electric cars are now in the market! New car models offers a variety of electric and hybrid vehicles that put gas stations in your rear view, plus they’re way more eco-friendly! Newer models also won’t be a hassle when your charge runs out as they can seamlessly switch to a gasoline-powered generator.
In this day and age, almost all of the latest models can accommodate our basic car needs with only a few features differentiating one from the other – so don’t worry, with enough research and consideration from the list we have provided – you can rest assured you will find your ideal family car.
Check out the infographic to see our top recommendations for the ideal family car this 2017!