The problem of choosing a family car is that every member of the family wants something different. Dad wants something affordable and stylish, Mom looks for something handy and safe and children somewhat well equipped with technological entertainment gadgets. Fortunately, today there are products that fit very well to all these requirements.
Everyone wants to find the perfect vehicle; it does not matter if it is the first child that is on the way or if it was long ago that the large family was reached. Each person will have an opinion that will be taken into account at the time of the decision, but we will try to make the car search effort fruitful:
- Your needs
Before you look at the large amount offered, think what you want in your new vehicle. If you already have children, you will know more exactly how much space you need. If for now you only have intentions to form one you should think about seats, number of doors and extra storage space for things you will need to carry: strollers, toys and diapers. If the children are already of school age think that you will have to transport laptops, music, sports equipment … and often, to their friends.
- Make a budget
It makes no sense to look for the best family car if you cannot afford it later. Set a realistic budget and, if you think about financing the purchase, determine how much you can comfortably spend on a monthly payment. Do not forget to include the cost of insurance. When it comes time to buy, keep your budget. It’s easy to spend more than you plan. The 20/4/10 rule can help you not have economic burdens in the future.
- Look for the best price
Once you have a budget, it is time to compare the prices of these cars. In sites like coches.com you will be able to search among new vehicles, km 0 and used selected for its best price. As you begin to look, observe as many vehicles as possible and then narrow your search. With our application you can also coroner the evolution of the prices of the cars and optimize the moment of purchase.
- Test it conscientiously
When you have a small list of models, it’s time to knock the dealership doors and try the cars. If you already have a child safety seat, take it with you. And the stroller, too. There is no better way to know if it fits in the trunk … and the space that is left free when you insert it into it.
Car safety should be your main concern. In addition, the safer the car, the more likely it is for Mom to approve the purchase. Do not skimp on anti-lock braking systems, braking or traction sharing, electronic stability or traction safety systems. When you do not have them and try a car that you do have (or disconnect) you notice an outrage.
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You also have to be smart enough to know that bigger does not always mean more insurance. The vehicles that worse note have in the tests of rollover are the great SUVs and the big vans.
Make sure there is a seatbelt for everyone (especially in used cars, in new ones it will always be that way). Using a safety chair is always better than carrying the child tied with the belt. Children’s car seats with the Isofix anchorage system are the safest (also the easiest to install and the most expensive ones, as some models exceed 500 euros), but not all the cars have the corresponding Isofix locks necessary to install them. Watch that aspect.
Type of car
When it comes to choosing the type of car, the most important thing is to have an open mind. Sometimes it’s hard not to fall in love with a particular car, but do not limit the options too soon: There are many brands and dealers willing to offer juicy discounts on their models.
Nowadays it seems that having a family is synonymous with driving a minivan. Its okay if that’s what you really need: They offer more space and comfort in family travel, without burden when loading the trunk. These buying guides can help you:
- Buying guide: small minivans: They are the best alternative to move around town with children.
- Buying guide: Compact MPVs: Based on compact cars, they offer a minivan (height, comfort for children) in a more compressed space. They are the perfect ally of urban families with two children or less, although they do not have the sedan’s highway aplomb when making a long trip.
- Buying Guide: Large MPVs: If one has three or more children, it is time to consider this alternative.
That yes, the dealer may be able to offer greater discounts on these other vehicles:
These are the typical saloons of three bodies “of the whole life”. They are a little underrated in recent years, but they are still very comfortable and safe cars. These buying guides will help you decide the best option:
- Buying guide compact sedans: Derivatives of the compact, they offer a larger trunk than these, but an interior space virtually identical.
- Buying guide: Average sedans: They are those of segment D. The problem is that generalist manufacturers abandon this segment … and premium brands are more expensive. In his favor, the great aplomb on the road.
- Buying guide: large saloons: Its price is much higher, since here only the brands that offer more luxury have representatives. These are fabulous cars on the road, although they do not add much trunk to the previous ones.
Almost all sedan models (and some compact and utilitarian) have “break”, “station wagon” or familiar versions with a lot of luggage. Against you, you are not wide enough behind to install three children’s chairs comfortably … And you have to bend over when it comes to putting the kids.
- Buying guide: compact family: They are the most interesting bodies. Good dynamic behavior, enough space for four passengers … and if you have a second child you will not find that the trunk of your compact is not enough for all the paraphernalia that carries a baby.
- Buying guide: middle-aged family: They gain aplom on the road and some trunk, but in city they lose agility with respect to the previous ones.
- Buying guide: large family: It is the same as with saloons. Practically only premium brands play this game … And the result is excellent cars, luxurious and practical, but very expensive.
- Buying guide: family crossover: These are cars with a familiar body and all its advantages, but with the ability to get off the road. That raises its free distance to the ground … and its price.
SUV and SUV
They have multiplied like mushrooms lately, especially those without too many capacities to leave paved roads (called SUV or todocamino). You gain in aesthetics, height and size, but you will spend more on fuel and wheels. They are the eternal favorite of many mothers since their size gives a false sense of security. There is an irrefutable physical rule: at more height and more weight, the center of gravity of the vehicle is higher. There will be more inertia that causes more tipping or loss of control of the rear in curves than in a saloon … keep this in mind. If you want to know more, read our tips for buying SUVs. The most suitable to transport four or five passengers (some have 7 seats), you can find them here:
- Buying Guide: Compact SUV: The fashion segment, which grows the most. Little by little, they are gaining in habitability and trunk, although they continue behind the compact minibuses.
- Buying Guide: Family SUV: They are somewhat larger than the previous ones. The premium brands doniman the market, reason why some alternatives are very expensive.
Seats, doors and storage
Standard number one: Forget the three doors and coupe body in family cars: The comfort of the driver is always welcome, but for a family you should look at the ergonomics of all seats. Very important: Make it easy to get in and out of all the squares. That is why the sliding doors in the minivans have so many acceptances. Find out also if it suits you more a four or five doors.
Look for cars with space for three passengers behind. If the seats are high it will be easier to place child safety seats (and your back will suffer less). There are cars with a third row of seats that can be interesting: They can be folded and you will only use them when you really need them (perfect if you usually take your friends to your children, if you have a pet or you carry large bundles). If when you fold the seats the boot is completely flat, the better.
The bigger the better, always. Keep in mind that in cars with a tailgate (five doors) there are usually larger bumps than in four-door cars.
In addition to the classic glove compartments, the more interior recesses there are the better. The hidden chests under the seats or the floor for children to store their toys are almost essential in a family.
Equipment and extras
Family vehicles come with all kinds of DVD player options, multiple displays, remote door opener, and navigation systems, rear view camera shows … Everything is fine, but there are things more essential than others.
It may interest you: Guide to the equipment of the car.
Much of the equipment will depend on the age of your children. If they are very small you forget the upholstery of luxury and difficult to clean (also if you have pet). To carry older children, drink stands are essential and the lights and air conditioning can be controlled from the rear.
Regardless of age, it is important that the trip is entertaining. If the optional DVD is very expensive, there are non-integrated options more accessible. And the older the kids are, the more power outlets in the car will need to connect all their technological gadgets … and Bluetooth connectivity for their phones if they’re close to adolescence, of course. Do not forget the GPS. Integrated or a support to use the mobile. Getting lost with a screaming child is not that it can be a nightmare … It is.
The first big question: Do you need a lot of power? The more power, the car will be more expensive. So watch how you’re going to use it. You may need more horses if you travel a lot and especially if you do with a caravan or trailer: then an SUV might be your best choice. Keep in mind also that, to more power, more emissions and you will pay more registration and circulation tax. The insurance will cost more also year after year, but you will be able to locate the best insurance offers in internet comparators.
But a car has many other expenses beyond buying. Remember that maintaining a car for three years (90,000 km) costs about 8,300 euros. The biggest expense is the fuel, two-thirds of that amount, but if you do not do more than 20,000 km a year do not discard to buy a car of gasoline.
Experience tells us that there are no cars more reliable than others. Its reliability depends on the maintenance you do, how you treat the car so that the TCO (the total cost of ownership) is as low as possible.