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4 practical essentials when buying a family car

Posted on 23 February 2016

If you’re looking to buy a family car, there’s an almost overwhelming range of options. That’s why it’s essential to prioritise the features that are important to you. Then you can review the makes and models available in the market and work out what will best suit your needs. To help out, we’ve taken a look at four key things for families to consider when shortlisting the make and model of their next car.

1. Buying a family car and safety 
Could anything be more important than the safety of the vehicle you choose for your family? There are a wide range of features that are included in cars to maximise the safety of the driver and passengers. Part of the process of choosing your family vehicle is working out which safety features you need to have, and which safety features are just nice to have.

It’s important to find the safety features that work for you. For example if you’re going to be regularly reversing down a driveway then you might want to include features like rear parking sensors and mounted cameras. Other safety features like airbags are now more standard across vehicles, but it’s still important to explore them in relation to your needs. If you are likely to need to use the front passenger seat for a small child or infant, you will need to be able to easily disable the air bag. The air bag will need to be reactivated when an adult is in the seat. Some cars make this easier to switch on and off than others. 

If you’re looking for a more holistic review of the safety of different family vehicles, it’s worth checking out crash statistics and safety ratings online. These will give you a high level reference point for both the safety of driving the car, and the features that are built into the car to protect your family.

2. How big is it?
Size is very important when it comes to buying a family car. But while bigger is often better, it’s not always necessary to jump to the biggest model on the market to get the car size that you are looking for.

Seating
Start by being very clear about your needs. If you need to fit car seats for young children, plan for the maximum number you may need. If you know you’re going to have a third child in a couple of years you won’t want to have to trade your car in just so you can get the capsule in. 

Will you have to move car seats regularly? Consider the attachments that the car has available for anchoring car seats - older models may make it more challenging and in turn will make it more difficult to remove seats easily too. Stadium seating elevates the rear seats and both makes it easier to manage car seats and can help deal with car sickness. Take a look at how wide the doors open too as this will be key for maneovering children in and out of the car.

As children grow additional seating can become an important consideration, especially when planning playdates or trips out. Online research will again allow you to review the options to include additional seating. Just remember that seats that are normally folded away in the rear of the vehicle will take up a lot of your boot space when in use.

Storage
Review car specifications online and you will be able to review the dimensions of the interior and the exterior of the car. Make time to visit some car dealers and get familiar with how the space translates from measurements to reality. It’s a good idea to take something bulky with you, like a pushchair, so that you can get a feel for how much boot space you will have left once you start loading up all your essential family equipment. 

Interior storage can make a huge difference to the feeling of space within a car. It can also reduce the feeling of chaos in a family vehicle. Keep an eye out for pockets, trays, cubby holes and spaces where things can be stored when you are on a long journey.

 3. Will your new family car work for your world?
When buying a family car it’s also important to remember the environment in which you will be driving it. This should include consideration for specific needs like four-wheel drive if you regularly drive on icy or snowy roads, or the shape/height of the vehicle if you need to manage regular trips on gravel or dirt tracks. 

If your family car is going to be larger than your current model, remember that bigger cars can be more challenging to manoeuvre and park around town.

Storage of the family car itself is also an important consideration. If you have a narrow driveway or a garage with a low roof, take the time to sense check the dimensions of the car before you complete your purchase. You don’t want to discover that you’ve committed to a daily 10 turn manoeuvre just to get your car onto the road.

4. The family car budget
Buying a family car is less a question of how much it costs and more a consideration of whether you can afford it. A great way to start the process of looking for your family car is by setting a budget that ensures that your purchase will not leave your family struggling to meet the cost of the car. 

Your budget should ideally take into consideration the cost of running the vehicle as well as any repayment costs if you need finance in order to complete the purchase. Upgrading to a bigger family car can often have an increased fuel cost attached to it. If you already have a car you can compare its fuel efficiency levels with those of your preferred models and make some estimates about what your new fuel bills are likely to look like.

If you would like to explore finance options for your family car loan then contact Online Car Loans. The team at Online Car Loans is always happy to help you to explore your car loan options and understand your potential repayment levels. We can even arrange pre-approval of your car loan so that you can feel confident in your buying power when you decide to complete the purchase.