There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a new car, but choosing a new family car is a whole different animal. To find the best family car, you need to consider a lot more factors than horsepower and torque. Those things might be important to you, but they probably don't mean a thing to your kids. Here are some of the main considerations when trying to select the best family car, and a few tips for doing so successfully.
Family Car Considerations: Safety
Many parents feel the best family car is the safest family car, and there's definitely a great argument to be made for this. Car accidents happen, and no matter how careful a driver you are, there are some cases in which they cannot be avoided. You want to make sure that should the unexpected occur, you and your children are protected. For this reason, you may want to make safety your number one priority.
How do you assess a car's safety? Well, there's some common sense involved. A sedan is generally safer than a compact, simply because it has a bigger, stronger body. But bigger is not always better. The biggest SUVs may come with some significant roll danger, and rollover crashes have a high fatality rate. In terms purely of the body of a car, the safest is probably a crossover, which has the strength of an SUV without the same level of instability.
Beyond the body type, different makes and models of cars may provide different levels of safety. Fortunately, all of these cars are crash tested for safety, and those tests, or at least their results, are accessible to you before you buy a car. Be sure to familiarize yourself with safety ratings in general and the safety rating of the car you're considering buying before you put your child in it.
Also, you can find a fairly comprehensive list of safety features that different cars provide. Types of safety features you will be looking for include child seat anchors for car seats, rear door child safety locks, rear center three point belts, stability and traction control and some kind of emergency assist communications system. There are a lot of great safety features out there today to protect you and your child, be sure to research online and shop around and see what all your options are.
Family Car Considerations: Size
Once you've got the safety angle handled, the next thing you need to consider is the size of your new family car. Yes, it's no mystery that you're going to have to give up your dream of that sporty two-seater. But a car that seats four is probably not going to do the trick, even if you have only one child. Leaving aside the fact that you may end up with more children of your own than you initially planned for, keep in mind that your child will make a few friends, and you may end up transporting those friends around town. If your child joins the soccer team or has a bunch of classmates in your neighborhood whose parents are looking to save a few dollars on gas, you may be recruited to carpool. All in all, you should probably consider a car that can seat five or six, or a minivan or SUV with multiple rows of seating is usually ideal.
And don't forget the cargo space. Kids have toys, games, books, sports equipment and who knows what else. Whatever car you buy, you need to make sure it's got plenty of space to carry all the extras that come with active children.
Family Car Considerations: Entertainment
Let's not forget the issue of how important it is to keep kids entertained on long journeys. In addition to features like satellite radio with rear speakers, many cars also have DVD entertainment systems rear seat viewing of movies, which can be a godsend when you've got a restless child and many miles to go.
Family Car Considerations: You
When you're choosing your new family car, it's also important that you don't forget to put yourself in the equation. Sure, you want to make sure your car is big and safe enough for your kids, but you also want a car that you'll enjoy driving, not to mention one that won't shatter your budget. It is possible to have it all. If you're willing to do the research, all the information is there to help you find an affordable car that's perfect for your kids and that you'll enjoy driving as well. It may not be the Maserati you dreamed of tearing up the roads with when you were a teenager, but you can definitely find a great car that will bring you and your loved ones closer together on family drives.