How to choose the car for your family

We look at choosing the best family car for you...

Choosing the best family car is one of the hardest decisions you will make when it comes to choosing cars. You can no longer think exclusively about what you want or what you need in a car, but you will also have to think about what is best suited to you and your family including your kids and even your dog.

However, with a bit of thought beforehand and some research along the way, there is no reason why you shouldn’t end up with a car that is perfectly suited to your needs.

So in this article, we are going to look at how to choose the best family car and look at some of the cars that might be suited to your needs.

Top tips for choosing the best car for your family

Budget

The first and most important factor when choosing the best family car has to be budget. While it stands to reason that you can only shop within your means it’s also important to consider the running costs, insurance and maintenance costs associated with the vehicle you choose.

These are some of the things that you should be considering when looking at your budget for your new family car;

  • How much are you willing to spend on your car monthly
    • If you are looking at getting your car on finance then you should look at how much you want to spend a month financing or leasing your vehicle
    • You should also take insurance and fuel costs into consideration as well as budgeting for servicing
    • If you are looking at getting a maintenance agreement then you will also have to take this into consideration when you are looking at your monthly costs
  • Do you have outstanding finance on your current vehicle?
    • If you do then this is another thing you will have to consider. Are you going to sell your current vehicle to pay off the remaining finance? If so, do you know how much your vehicle is worth in terms of trade price? Will this cover the remaining finance?
    • You will have to decide what you are going to do with your current vehicle before you buy a vehicle so you don’t have a car sitting on the driveway taking up space and potentially costing you money.
two adults and three young children in a convertible travelling on holiday with rubber rings and windmills
  • Are you going to go used or new?
    • Many think that getting a used car is more cost effective than a new one. However, this is not always the case. New cars are in warranty and are often more reliable than older cars. Having a look at reliability is advised here, as you might find that your ideal family car is unreliable after a few years.

Space

The second biggest factor you have to think about when getting a family car is space. This is space both on the inside and the outside. There is nothing worse than opting for a people carrier that can fit your family and your dog in comfortably but you cannot for the life of you find a parking space at the supermarket. So you will need to look at vehicle length and make sure that the vehicle itself is the perfect size for you and your family but is also not too big that it feels bulky and difficult to drive.

In terms of inside space, it is really important to analyse the amount of space and pick it apart as much as possible. You never know when you will need that extra space. Sit in all the seats, especially in the back, and check the legroom, headroom and the general comfort. While you might be comfortable in the driver’s seat with plenty of legroom and a cushy seat, your kids might be having a completely different experience in the back.

couple in white putting suitcases in the boot of a car

Speaking of children, you will have to make sure you can fit child seats in the space available and that these can be placed in the car and taken out easily. Also check that the doors open wide enough that you will be able to do this comfortably. You should also make sure there is enough space to store the myriad of things that come hand in hand with children. These include space for tablets or Gameboys, or sports equipment and kit such as football boots or tennis rackets. When looking at boot space make sure there is enough room for a pushchair and other things including shopping or school bags. Make sure you can also fit suitcases in the boot for when you go away. If not, would you be able to put a roof box on the top of the car? What about a rack to store bicycles? You will have to ask these questions when looking for a car that suits your whole family.

Another factor when it comes to space is pets. You might have a dog, or several dogs, and you will have to make sure that they can fit in your car comfortably. If they will be kept in the boot when you are transporting them make sure that they can hop in and out of the boot comfortably. Also remember that dogs, sadly, do get older. This means they might not be able to hop in and out of the boot as well as they once did when they were puppies. So take that into account as well, particularly if you have a big dog that you struggle to carry (I have a Greyhound and trust me, boot space is invaluable.)

Have you considered where you are going to place your dogs? Research all the dog-friendly vehicles here today 

Equipment

Cars come packed full of equipment and features nowadays, so it’s understandable that you would want some of these things in your family car.

Safety equipment is becoming more popular and is also more likely to come as standard now as it ever has been. Things such as lane-departure warnings, auto-braking and collision sensors are very popular in cars now and will benefit you and your family hugely. If your chosen family car comes with a safety pack then we recommend looking at investing in the pack as this could prove invaluable when driving your car with your family in it.

Are you aware of what safety features to look for when leasing a vehicle? If not we recommend you explore them here

Other equipment includes the likes of infotainment systems. These come with Bluetooth connectivity and the likes of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can link your phone up to the infotainment system. This means that you can play your kids favourite music or favourite audiobook while you are driving. Many cars also come with charging points so you can charge your phone or tablet up while on the go, perfect for long journeys. Another great feature that we think will become more common is that some cars these days turn themselves into a WiFi hotspot, meaning your teens can Snapchat and Tweet all car journey long without using up their data.

Where you are going to be driving

If you live out in the country, then naturally you will need a car that is capable on country roads and that can survive in bad weather. If you live off-road or you do a lot of off-roading, then you will want to look at a car that can survive this type of driving. Therefore, you will need to look at cars that come with four-wheel drive and suspension to cope with rough terrain.

Of course, if you live in an urban area and are mainly going to be driving around towns and cities then you won’t need a vehicle that can cope with rougher terrain. Instead, you might want to look at a hybrid or a vehicle with stop/start technology to reduce your COemissions.

Jeep Renegade back view driving through water

So those are some of the things you should be looking at when it comes to choosing the best family car.  Of course, you will have your individual needs and you might want something while your partner wants another and your kids might have a completely different idea as to what they want in a car. Sit down with your family and have a discussion about what you all want and hopefully you will be able to get an idea of what you are looking for. However, if you consider the above then you should be on your way to finding the best car for you and your family.

What are the best family cars of 2017?

From what we have seen this year, some of the most popular cars of 2017 for families include;

  • Ford Focus
  • Volkswagen Golf
  • Vauxhall Astra
  • Kia Sportage
  • Nissan Qashqai
  • Audi A6
  • Audi Q7
  • Volkswagen Passat
  • Volkswagen Touareg
  • Mitsubishi Outlander
Ford Focus Hatchback in blue parked

In conclusion, there are a few things you have to think about when looking at cars for your family. These include your budget, the size of the car and what you are going to be using it for. If you have an active family then you will need to be able to carry lots of equipment and sports kit, and you might want to look at a larger car that can carry your kids plus their friends if you need to take them to a sports game. If you have a dog then you will need to make sure they can fit in the car easily and comfortably, even as they get older. You should also take into consideration equipment including any safety features you think will be useful and technological features such as turning your car into a WiFi hotspot for those long journeys that could be made much easier with Netflix.

family smiling in back of their car

Holly Martin

Content Co-ordinator at OSV Ltd
Holly enjoys: Reading, music and spending time with friends.

Within a week of Holly starting work at OSV she became an indispensable part of the marketing team. She's very intuitive and gets on with the whole office effortlessly.
Holly Martin

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