Growing a family comes with many responsibilities. Where you might have once covered a high octane, sleek beast of a car, your priorities have changed. Today, reliability, space, safety rating and affordability are more likely to feature on your “must-have” list.
Sleep-deprived and emotionally drained, transporting the whole family around can be one of the most stressful situations life can offer. Fortunately, the motor industry has heard your cries and has been perfecting family-friendly vehicles that can make life on the road a bit easier.
With that in mind, here’s our guide to choosing the right family car that you won’t regret buying.
Affordability & reliability
Raising a family is expensive. Throw in the added extras like running costs, fuel economy and how often your car is going to spend time in the garage, and your new set of wheels better be worth it!
Fortunately, newer vehicles offer better reliability, have no or fewer previous owners and less wear and tear than older models. If you decide to go down the finance route, you can make your money stretch much further than before on the showroom floor, giving you more access and better options than your standard private sales lists. You are also protected by a warranty guarantee that will cut costs and unnecessary time at the garage.
Don’t think that having a poor credit score will stop you either! Carvine’s bad credit financing option welcomes customers who have struggled to get financing elsewhere. Whether you have faced difficult circumstances, are self-employed or received defaults in the past, Carvine’s friendly team understands that everyone is different.
Your family is precious cargo. Whether it’s a quick trip to the shops or a full-scale road trip, ensuring their safety is paramount. Fortunately, all modern-day cars have a safety standard that they have to stick to, so you shouldn’t struggle to find the perfect vehicle that meets your needs.
Want to find the safest car around? The best way to check a vehicle’s safety credentials is to find out its Euro NCAP rating. Graded from 0-5, each vehicle is checked against the strict European standard to determine how safe their onboard safety features are and how well they perform in a crash test. The higher the rating, the safer the vehicle. So for total peace of mind, stick to cars with a 5 Euro NCAP rating.
Ever had a family trip to the beach? Yes! Then you know how much baggage comes with a simple stroll to the sea. Everything from swimming costumes to suncream, towels to beach tents are all part of the deal. For such adventures, you need a vehicle that is not only big enough for all its passengers but has enough space for all the extras that come with family life.
Look for cars that have a spacious boot – anything under 300 litres is going to make life on the road more squashed! Especially when you consider prams, shopping bags, bikes and the dog coming along for the ride.
There’s nothing worse than buying a car that welcomes wear and tear, stains easily and has the potential to rust with the lightest scratch. Choosing a vehicle with a decent build quality at an affordable price is hard to come by, but paying a bit more on top can help keep your interiors and exteriors looking cleaner for longer.
With tiny hands and snacks working their sprinkling magic in the backseat, it’s worth buying a car that is easy to clean, with minimal nooks and crannies for dirt and grime to build up. Then you need to consider interior materials. Are they leather? Plastic? Fabric? Will they stain easily? Are they water-resistant? Will they scuff more than other materials?
Are there enough seats?
If you are already a family of five and another little one is on its way, then there is no point in buying a five-seater! So before signing the dotted line and making a long-lasting decision, think carefully about how many seats you need now and later down the road.
SUVs and estates are an excellent choice for growing families. Most come with an optional six or seven-seat configuration, and a lot of SUVs have folding rear seats for extra space when needed. A VW Polo or Seat Leon are fuss-free for smaller families and come with enough room to get you from A to B.
Practical & functional
When buying a family car, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of the features onboard. For older children, having the added bonus of infotainment systems and smartphone integration is useful for long journeys. But they may also rack up the all-round buying cost.
Future-proofing your family car is also part of the process. With the upcoming UK ban on new petrol and diesel-fueled car sales in 2030, it’s worth considering an electric vehicle (EV). Most have exceptional safety features, staggering onboard technology and can average 200 miles on a single charge.
What’s more, since London’s successful Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) initiative has reduced toxic fumes and increased air quality in the capital, other cities are preparing their own Low Emission Zones. Bath, Bristol, Birmingham, Oxford and Glasgow will have their own initiatives in place by 2022.
Any vehicle that meets the strict ULEZ and future emission zone standards are exempt from the daily charge to travel within the zone. Currently, Euro 5 (petrol) and Euro 6 (petrol) vehicles make the cut, but post-2030, they will no longer fit the low emissions criteria, and drivers will have to pay the fee.
As you’ve probably guessed, EVs meet the high emissions standards. As we get closer to the impending deadline, they will become more in demand. With the advances in EV technology and their growing popularity, EVs are far more affordable than ever before.
Choosing the right car for your family doesn’t have to be overwhelming! What will your next set of wheels look like?
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