What Do You Need From a Family Car?
At Country Vehicles it’s easy to tell when we’ve got a family car in for a service or MOT, simply by looking at the level of wear and tear. A family car is a workhorse that needs to keep your children safe, deliver them promptly to school each day, and offer reliability no matter the weather. Our 12 tips for choosing a family car are based on experience, and a keen observation of the way different cars stand up to the stresses and strains of family life.
12 Tips for Choosing a Family Car
1. What Do You Need Your Family Car to Do?
If this is your first family car – congratulations! One of the things you’ll discover, as a new parent, is that your concept of what a car is for will change enormously once you put child into the back seat. It’s worth having a think about this before you go out to buy your family car.
- You’ll need room for your new passenger, but you’ll also need storage space for all the equipment that goes with them.
- What kind of driving will you be doing? Expect to spend more time with families, especially at Christmas, which may involve more motorway driving.
- Do you need a dual-purpose car for family and work?
- Are you planning more children?
2. Safety Features
The cars we drive our children around in today are safer than at any other time. Tech developments and modern materials mean that all passengers are well protected. When it comes to specific protection for children, check that your car is fitted with a child-proof locking system, and that it is enabled. You can check the overall safety rating of your car by visiting the Euro NCAP website.
Another thing to check out are the fittings for a child seat. You may choose to use a version of a child seat right up until they’re 10, so the fittings need to be in good condition. The guidelines for what kind of child seat to buy are fairly precise, so take a look at these too.
3. Storage Space
You’ll wonder at the sheer volume of ‘stuff’ a new baby generates. Your family car will become the repository of extra shopping, different types of buggies, and foldaway cots. A family car will normally offer a good amount of storage space but check out how flexible the storage space offered is. Remember that you’ll need to be able to fit in a folded-up buggy, which is not always easy in a standard boot.
4. User-Friendly Family Cars
Children create a mess – so think about this when choosing which car to buy. Easy to clean upholstery is definitely an advantage for dealing with spills and accidents. You might also want to think about ways to keep children entertained as they get older – especially if long car journeys are likely. There’s always the option of cars with integrated entertainment options, for when you don’t have it in you to play another game of I-Spy!
5. What Kind of Doors?
Parents build a number of skills when they are dealing with babies every day, including transferring a sleeping child into or out of the car. This is made much easier though, if you have sliding doors, rather than having to manage a traditional door system. Sliding doors also give you more room for manoeuvre with bags, buggies, or shopping.
6. What About the Grown-Ups?
Whilst your focus will be on your child’s comfort, don’t forget to check out the seats and leg-room for your own comfort too. Think about the features that could make your life easier as a parent in the car, such as a reversing camera, hands-free Bluetooth, and air conditioning with front and rear control.
7. Give Yourself Time to Buy
If you’re expecting your first child, give yourself plenty of time to research, and look at family cars before the baby arrives. A car bought in a hurry will cost you a lot more, and it will take you time to refine your requirements as you get to know what you need.
8. How Reliable Is It?
Reliability is all-important with a family car. Getting out of the house is difficult enough without wondering whether your car is up to the job. Research the reliability of any car that you are thinking of buying and ask a friendly mechanic for their advice. The Country Vehicle team is always happy to share our knowledge and experience.
9. What’s the MPG?
It’s other parents, in the end, who can offer you the best guidance when it comes to the family car offering the greatest value. They’ll have road-tested all the features we’ve covered in this list, and a few more we haven’t thought of. So, ask the question online, or talk to family members, or friends about their car experiences.
11. Petrol or EV?
Parents now have the choice of petrol or EV family cars. If you have a tight budget, then an EV may not be the best option for your family car. They are, however, the more sustainable option, so it may be worth watching the market for when prices start to come down. Most important for parents, is the development of a reliable charging system across the UK; we’re not there yet, but it should develop rapidly over the next decade.
12. Where Will You Get It Serviced?
As well as researching the family car you want to buy, research the local garage where you’ll have it serviced and MOT’d. It’s likely you’ll be buying a car with a warranty, but approved garages, such as Country Vehicles Shefford, Bedfordshire, can carry out work on your car without affecting your warranty – and we’ll be cheaper than a dealership!
Having a garage near to where you live is useful, should you hit a problem and need local help. It’s also somewhere you can call in if there’s an issue with your car that you want a mechanic to check out.
Country Vehicles is a Local Independent Garage in South Beds
Country Vehicles is ideally placed for local vehicle servicing in Shefford, Cotton End, Haynes, Shortstown, Wilstead, Cardington, Wixams and all surrounding areas. We moved to our current premises in 1995, and since then we’ve built a reputation for being a local independent garage you can depend on for quality services at affordable prices.
Want to check us out? Call Country Vehicles in Shefford on 01234 381555, drop in to see us, or contact us online.