Choosing a new car is never easy because of the huge investment and time it needs. Al though many family cars are available (for example the Hyundai I30, Skoda Octavia Wagon, Skoda Yeti, Mazda CX-5 and Land Rover Discovery 4), you have to choose the one which is going to be best for your family. Are if you a small or large family, for example, and how much is the car going to be used? On what kind of roads. Do not just rely on safety ratings but do your homework thoroughly before selecting.
Here are some tips to consider before you go to the showroom.
Check the body
Family cars come in four different body styles: hatchback, sedan, wagon and people carrier. Decide on your preferred body style first, after considering things such as the number of children you have, any pets you need to accommodate and where you will be driving such as inner-city, suburbs or out in the country. Also check the rear doors; how wide do they open to allow easy access for people and luggage? Narrow car openings are not great for families carrying babies in car seats, for example.
Hatchbacks have bigger backs. Because of the wider space inside, they can easily accommodate big suitcases and travel cots. You can also have your pet inside by removing the parcel shelf. However, small hatchbacks are a different matter, as they are more compact inside. People carriers, as the name suggests, accommodate lots of people, or bigger families. Families with older children who do not need booster seats might like to choose the People carriers. The station wagon is good for a bigger family looking for a flexible space, which can accommodate extra passengers or two babies sitting in the back with enough room to also add bikes, prams and the family dog.
If you are a family of four, you might prefer a two-door or four-door vehicle with a wide opening. If you are a mother of babies, then make sure your family-car offers you enough room to take the child in and out of the car. If you choose an SUV with extra height, you will find this much easier than having to lean down to get them into a lower set two-wheel drive car.
The storage capacity
A family car should feel nothing less than an extra room in your house when you are on the road. So make sure it has enough storage spaces like water bottle holders, cup holders and a roomy glove box. And check whether the car boot can function as a nappy changing table when needed.
A family can needs to come with a four star rating for maximum reassurance. Check the EuroNCAP data, since they focus heavily on child safety during crash test assessments. EuroNCAP safety trials take in the four important areas of adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and safety assistance systems.
Your car usage
Your next question should be whether you prefer a petrol or diesel powered car. Diesel vehicles suit longer distances, while petrol cars are better for shorter journeys. A four-wheel drive car is suitable if it is going to be driven on uneven and dirty roads. If you live somewhere where it rains regularly, choose a car with rain-sensing wipers.
Test driving a family car is a must
Take your whole family along on the test drive. Make sure the car is fitted with the correct child seat(s). Practise getting get the child seats in and out. If the kids are older, ask them to get in and out of the car to check the flexibility for them. Also look at the windows; can the kids see out easily? Ask the kids for their thoughts too while you are on the test drive.