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6 questions to ask yourself when purchasing a family car

4 min read
14 Jul 2015

Whether it’s the first or the fourth, a new addition to the family can often result in the need for more space – especially in the car! As a parent, a run-down small car may no longer be sufficient, and as a parent you usually seek security, safety and plenty of room to grow. If you’re  in need of a family car upgrade, then this list may be for you.

Does the car have the desired safety features?

Safety is a key priority in any vehicle, and even more so when there’s kids in tow. As much as we don’t like to think about it, accidents can happen and although it’s impossible to predict when and if an incident will ever occur, it’s important to ensure the vehicle has the right safety features to protect everyone from injury.

The obvious features to look for are multiple airbags, especially ones that surround where the little ones sit, as well as stability control and ABS brakes. also recommends the following features as “essentials”:

  • A strong and sturdy cabin which can tolerate severe impacts.
  • Crumple zones – areas which can absorb certain forces as a result of a car crash.
  • Functional restraints for drivers and passengers to reduce the severity of injuries sustained in a car accident.

You can check the cars safety rating in Australia through the Australasian New Car Assessment Program website. Here you’ll find star ratings for thousands of cars, indicating the level of safety they provide when faced in a crash.

Related: How you can reduce your car insurance premiums

Will everything fit in the car?

Seat capacity is important, but there’s more than how many passengers can fit in the vehicle to consider. Think about the items you’ll likely take with you on a car trip: Is the cargo area likely to fit a stroller as well as a boot full of groceries? If the car is used for vacations, will everything fit securely and safely? When deciding if a car has enough space, consider what kind of trips the car will be used for and how large you intend your family to be, and work from there. Keep in mind that the bigger the car may not necessarily mean more leg room. If you’re not comfortable driving a large car, there may be plenty of mid-sized vehicles that meet the brief.

How easy is it to access?

It can be hard enough trying to get a baby out a car seat, let alone trying to get one out of a two door car. When deciding on the right car for your family, consider how easy it is for everyone to get in and out of the vehicle. Some parents prefer sliding doors with automatic locking, while others prefer the arrangement that a four door offers. The decision will come down to what works best for you.

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Is everyone comfortable?

Comfort is the key to ensuring every family member maintains their sanity on a long trip. When searching for a new car, look out for air conditioning points – is it well ventilated in the back seat? And do the long legged children fit comfortably in their seat, or are they wedged between the door and the front seat? Consider taking a test drive with the entire family in tow, to ensure everyone’s comfort.

How fuel efficient is the vehicle?

A fuel efficient car is better for the environment and helps your wallet at the same time. Many new parents are always looking for ways to save, and constantly needing to fill up at the pump doesn’t help the weekly budget. While a fuel efficient car could cost you more initially, consider the long term benefits and cost savings associated with a petrol tank which lasts longer.

Does the vehicle have any kid-friendly special features?

Special features will always vary according to personal preference, but there may be some kid-friendly features you’d like to include. It could be something as simple as cup holders or window shades or down the other end of the tech spectrum like power sockets for electronic gadgets or built in entertainment.

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