Even though a car is a big financial investment, we will usually have several throughout our lives, changing them according to our needs, life stages, and income level. But since it's a big financial investment, you need to choose one according to both your present situation as well as your plans for the future.
Maybe you're expecting your first child or your fifth. Either way, it means you will have to adjust, and getting a new car might be part of that adjustment. But keep in mind that there's more to a family car than how many seats it has.
Our cars tend to be at the center of modern family life. Whether we're going grocery shopping, chaperoning our kids around town, or taking them on a family trip, all your plans will revolve around your car.
Fortunately, choosing a car nowadays has never been easier. You can buy a brand new vehicle from pretty much any brand, and you can rest assured that it won't turn into a bucket of rust in a few years. Thanks to significant improvements in quality control, that sort of thing no longer happens.
The family cars you find on the market these days are packed with fancy features and automatic everything. We bet that when you were a kid, you never would have thought that your kids would be able to watch movies in the backseat or that a woman's voice would give you directions through the car's speakers.
Manufacturers know that driving a car full of kids is one of the most stressful things a sleep-deprived and emotionally drained parent can do. To attract customers, they design cars with features that can make life a little bit easier.
When choosing a family car, you'll, of course, want to pay attention to the overall cost, fuel efficiency, and safety ratings. But you'll also want to keep these family-friendly features in mind.
You first want to figure out what you can afford. This will also help you decide if it's better to get a brand new car, a used car, or to lease a new car, which will usually give you lower monthly payments.
Family cars usually cost more than smaller city cars, so it will take quite a bit of research to find the perfect match for your budget, family size, and list of requirements.
Calculating your budget before you start shopping will keep you from getting carried away and overspending. It will also narrow down your list of options to choose from. Keep in mind that compromising is part of the process, so don't waste your time obsessing and feeling bad over the features you're not getting. Accept that this is the right financial decision and move on to the next step of the process.
You'll also want to decide on a down payment. To reduce your car loan duration and save on interest, your down payment should be at least 20% of the value of the car you want. You can use the money you get from selling your current car for the down payment.
You'll also want to consider running costs like fuel consumption, road tax, insurance, and maintenance.
Once you know your budget, start looking online for deals to see what kind of cars you can afford. Even if you're buying a brand new car, it's better to check several dealerships since there are always special offers that can help you save some money. When you have to take care of a growing family, every penny counts. For example, let's say you've decided you want to buy a ford. Simply look for ford dealership near me and see what comes up.
Safety is always an important criterion when choosing a car, but when we're talking about choosing a family car, it becomes paramount. Lucky for you, due to technological advancements, most cars on the market these days have good safety specifications, so you shouldn't have any problem finding the right car.
The easiest way to check how safe a car is to look up its safety rating on NHTSA's Vehicle Comparison Tool. It's also worth checking the Euro NCAP rating since the crash test assessments focus on child safety.
In general, the more recent the model, the better the safety features. Many of the new cars on the market today have the maximum five-star safety rating, which means that they maintain the cabin's integrity and protect the passengers from the forces generated by a collision.
Besides the standard collision mitigation technology and airbags, you may also want to look for additional features like blind-spot assist and lane warning systems.
To familiarize yourself with the most important safety features on a family car, you can check the NHTSA's "A Parent's Guide to Playing it Safe With Kids and Cars" - a free downloadable booklet that explains features such as advanced frontal airbags, rearview cameras, automatic door locks and so on.
Size is one of the issues that will make new or expecting parents look for a family car. When it was just the two of you, a compact city car might have been enough but babies, although tiny, come with a lot of extras like strollers, portable playpens, toys, and diaper bags.
And it's not just the size. You'll have to think about the design of the interior as well. For example, in the beginning, you'll need to accommodate a reverse-facing child safety seat. This sort of seat needs more space than forward-facing seats, and there has to be enough room for an adult to sit next to the baby while the seat is in the center of the backseat.
When your baby becomes a toddler and sits in a forward-facing seat, you'll be thriller do discover how much they enjoy kicking the car seat in front of them. Making sure that you get a car with a layout where their small legs can't reach the front seat will spare you months of aggravation.
Maybe you have or want to have several kids. This means you'll need a lot of cargo space for school bags, sports equipment, or luggage for family trips.
Fortunately, car manufacturers have blessed you with plenty of options. Just be careful and don't choose a family car only by looking at the storage volume statistics since they can be misleading. Some seem large on paper, but they don't mention that you need to take some seats down to reach that capacity, or they have a large capacity, but because of the space of the trunk, it's not that practical.