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There is something that seems rather unglamorous about the family car. Perhaps it is the practical decision making process that goes into choosing it. Or maybe it’s the knowledge that what was once pristine will soon be filled with toys, apple cores and discarded clothing…
Whichever is true, there is no doubt that choosing a family car is an important decision. Start by being realistic about your needs for the duration of your ownership. Families grow quite rapidly, so if you’re only starting out but you’re planning to keep your car for five years or more, consider just how big your family is going to get.
The needs of small children differ quite considerably from the needs of teenagers as well. Space requirements are certainly different. For small children, you’re going to have to be able to securely fit the car seats and make sure the pushchair will fit in the back of the car. For teenagers, you may have to consider the implications of them driving the family, and entertainment for long journeys will be a bigger consideration.
Take some time to review your family’s lifestyle as well. This will be another key driver for the features you’re looking for in your family car. If you have any kind of hobbies that require large equipment like kayaking, surfing or biking, then you’re going to have to plan in the transportation logistics. It won't be just people that your family car will be tasked with moving.
Safety is key with a vehicle tasked with transporting your children. Ideally, you should be looking for a car with an ANCAP 5-star rating so your family has the maximum protection available. If you’re looking at an older model then you may be able to go for a 4 star rating or above.
What type of car?
When it comes down to choosing a car for your family, any car can be considered a family wagon. But there are three specific vehicle types that are often the preferred pick. The Sports Utility Vehicle or SUV is the current favourite - families have recognised that the features of these cars that were designed to meet sporting requirements also fit very well with family needs.
The people mover is another preferred choice. People movers work especially well for larger families due to their additional seating. There are lots of great new and used options so it is worth exploring the range of models available and choose one that’s right for you.
Finally, there’s the old favourite - the station wagon. The station wagon has more recently been usurped from the position of favourite family car, but provides a winning combination of car space and boot space that fits well with a family’s needs.
What’s your budget?
Once you’ve had time to review your needs and consider what they’re going to be for the life of the car, it’s time to swing into action. Start by setting a budget for how much you want to spend on your family car. You can get a pretty quick idea in the budget setting process of the age of car you’re likely to be looking at, so if you want a newer model be prepared to tweak your funds upwards as long if you can afford to.
Size has a big impact on the comfort of your family and the running costs of the car. Take a look at fuel consumption and take the time to carry out some rough calculations about your monthly fuel bill. It is important to consider the running costs of your vehicle in your budget as well as the upfront costs. Consider additional elements like registration, warrants, services, and ongoing maintenance.
Setting a budget for your family car loan is an important step in the process of getting the right car for you. The repayment cost will need to be affordable for the duration of your car loan.
Narrow down the search
Now is a good time to narrow your search down to your preferred make and model. You can research the space, fuel consumption, safety features and any other elements that will be key to meeting your needs. Once you’ve found the model that’s right for you it is time to see what is available and take a closer look.
Choosing the right car for your family requires a broad look at all the factors that could influence the needs of your car. You’re going to be thinking in terms of space, entertainment, comfort, and efficiency. It may not be the most exciting car search you ever perform but doing it right will help to set you up nicely in the years to come for many comfortable family road trips.
If you’re thinking of buying a new car or you already have a car and are taking a closer look at your car loan, give Enterprise Cars a call. Our team can help you to work out the best loan for your situation. We also offer support with working out your car loan budget when you need it.
Contact us today to find out more.