Buying a family car presents an entirely different experience compared with finding a vehicle for a single person’s use. For one thing, the needs of an entire family – including parents, children and even pets need to be considered in the purchasing decision.
Additionally, there are now more makes and models than ever that claim to be suitable for use as family transport. While lists of the latest recommendations for the best family cars may provide a good starting point to identify what is currently available, how do you go about finding the car most appropriate your family?
Traditional car requirements
The criteria for choosing a car normally involves budget, safety, reliability, performance and fuel economy. While this list of requirements is also valid for selecting a family car, there is an additional consideration to contend with – child-friendliness.
Consumer champion Which? recently published car buying tips with particular focus on motor vehicle features that are child-friendly. These can be broken down into two categories: practical attributes that make life easier for parents when travelling with their children, and aspects that enhance the enjoyment of car journeys for the little ones.
Making Life Easier for Parents
To make your own life easier as a parent, you may wish to consider the following attributes of a prospective vehicle:
- Boot space – this is particularly important if you need to fit into your boot a pram, portable cot, portable high chair and/or the myriad of other equipment your child will need.
- Doors – choosing a five door over a three door car is a good starting point; you also want to make sure the door opens wide enough for you to put in child car seats as well as get the kids in and out of the car.
- Storage space – a car with good storage will ensure you can store all the toys, food, clothes and other bits and pieces that come with having children.
Making the Journey More Enjoyable for Your Children
Let’s face it, it is stressful for driver and passengers alike to have a child (or two) crying at the back of the car when you are on the road. Some manufacturers have come up with additional features that are meant to increase the enjoyment of the journey for your children. Examples of these include:
- integrated sun-blinds so your children won’t get too hot on long journeys;
- DVD screens mounted at the back of a seat or on the ceiling;
- power sockets to plug in game consoles; and
- higher rear ‘stadium seating’ to give your children a better view out of the window.
Of course, these nice-to-have features may not come as standard and will cost you more to get them. One way to increase your budget is to scrap your existing vehicle. You can easily do this by contacting National Scrap Car, the UK’s premier marketplace for scrap and damaged repairable vehicles. If you think your vehicle may be salvageable, talk to one of their advisors who may be able to help you get a better rate than the current scrap car value, depending on age and condition of your vehicle.