The arrival of a new member of the family is stressful at the best of times. If you also have to start thinking about switching your car to something more practical, that’s just another headache. On the one hand, it’s great that there are so many options available to you, but at this point in your life you’d probably prefer a more straightforward decision. Here’s what you should be prioritising when you’re shopping for a family car.
Finding a vehicle that’s comfortable should be one of your main priorities. Complaining, seat kicking, and the inevitable “don’t make me turn this car around” speech won’t lead to a happy holiday. Bigger types of vehicles, like minivans or SUVs, will allow you to comfortably fit more people inside the car, but they also tend to be gas guzzlers as well as difficult for younger children to easily get in and out of. Crossover vehicles like the Nissan Qashqai make for a great middle-ground here, but you can still find comfortable cars in smaller frames like the Hyundai i30 too.
You’ll likely be driving a lot more often with young children, with daily school runs, weekly grocery shops, and even long journeys to visit family or holiday by the seaside. This means you’ll definitely be on the lookout for something that’s economical, and won’t require frequent stops at the fuel station. WhatCar tested many of the leading petrol and diesel family hatchbacks and found that the Honda Civic with a 1.6-litre diesel engine was the best in its class. While it didn’t match up to its official mpg of 78.5, it did score a respectable 67.2 in real world testing.
With a young child or two in the picture, most buyers looking for a family vehicle are usually shopping on a budget. If you can’t afford to buy a vehicle straight from the showroom floor, take a look at used outlets like Exchange & Mart to see if you can find yourself a bargain. When buying used, though, it’s important that you enquire about the service history of the vehicle so that you can get an idea if there’s been any consistent faults with the car. Take a look at sites like Honest John to find out if there are any common problems with that specific make and model.
Finding a vehicle that fits all of this criteria might seem difficult at first. Start by narrowing down what features you really need and work from there.