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Purchasing a Family Car Beyond Utility and Options

  • By Niccolo Serengeti
  • 31 October 2015
  • Comments Off on Purchasing a Family Car Beyond Utility and Options

family carAny parent who’s tried to easily stow a baby buggy into the trunk of a sports car or artfully maneuver a wriggly toddler into his car seat of a two-door saloon will soon come to realize that it just might be time to buy a family car! Here some tips on buying the perfect family vehicle.

Choose a Family Car Style

For parents who have always been a coupe couple, it’s going to take some adjustment to get behind the wheel of a station wagon. Spend some time looking around at what other families drive. Identify a similar sized family and visualize your family in the car they drive.

Cut out some pictures and put them on the fridge to get used to the idea. Involve older kids in the decision – they just might be more motivated to help keep the car clean, or even enjoy longer trips more if they helped choose the chariot.

Determine Use of Family Car

The type of family car to choose, and whether to go for a petrol or diesel engine depends on what it will be used for. Driving long distances? Then diesel might turn out to be cheaper option.

For nippy city-driving don’t get anything too bulky as parking will be a hassle and consider a hybrid – better for the environment and better for the wallet too. The Toyota Prius is the best example of a hybrid. It might not be necessary to supersize to a SUV or MPV just yet, perhaps a large saloon or hatchback will be big enough?

If extra additions to the family are planned then factor in room for the future baby and their paraphernalia (car seats, buggy, nappy bag). For older children consider space for book bags, sporting gear and friends of course!

Child-friendly Vehicle Options

Once the size and shape of the family car have been determined, it’s time to think about options. For opening the car doors in tight spaces or on busy roads then sliding doors are best. For moms and dads who have to buckle more than one child in at a time, then a vehicle higher off the ground, like the Nissan Qashqai, will spare aching backs.

Sun roofs and glass ceiling panels increase the feeling of space and swivel seats add to convenience. In hot climates, tinted or shaded windows and individual cooling controls can keep your little ones cooler and less irritable.

Then of course, things like built-in DVD players and televisions to help fend off endless “are we there yet?” questions. As some of these are extras, make a wish-list and try using them as bargaining chips at the car dealer when negotiating the price.

Safety First

Off course no matter what type of family vehicle mom or dad choose, safety should always be first priority. Make sure there are enough seat belts, and the middle console seat will be used for a child, ensure that the belt is adequate – not just a lap-belt but a diagonal harness too.

For children in booster seats or car seats, look out for the LATCH feature (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), which makes car seats and booster seats more secure.

Also, pay attention to how many air bags the car has and where they are located. If a rear-facing baby seat will be used in the front passenger seat, make sure the car does not have a passenger airbag or that the airbag can be switched off.

Check there are child-locks on the doors – there is nothing quite as heart-stopping as hearing a toddler open the door on the highway!

Tips for Parents Purchasing a Family Vehicle

When buying a family car, parents should consider the style of the vehicle, where it will driven, what options the car has to make car trips with children smoother and vehicle safety habits!

Categories: Autos

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