The perfect family car has to balance a variety of different aspects. You need space and practicality to squeeze in the children (and maybe a dog!) You need a vehicle that’s cheap to run so you can keep on top of the family budget. Most importantly, it must be safe and reliable in the long-term. It’s a complicated balance to get right, and very few cars feature all of these features equally. With that in mind, let’s take a look at each element individually so you can start to narrow down your search.
Price – First of all, you’re looking for a car that is relatively cheap to buy and run. When looking after the whole family, money is invariably tight. Sometimes, it’s best to look at the used market for a bargain family car. Small, family cars at Thames Motor Group, for example, start at less than £5,000. You’ll also need to consider the cost of maintenance, fuel, parking, and insurance. Insurance and tax costs are contingent on the car you buy, so do your research here.
Fuel economy – When using the family car, you’ll clock up the miles faster than you think. Picking the kids up from school, getting to work, and nipping to the shops all rack up the miles. This sort of city driving drains petrol quickly too. Ideally, you’ll look for a car with a high miles per gallon value. Many small city cars now fetch 60-70 mpg, so look for something similar. The more money you save at the pumps, the better!
Space and practicality – As a parent, you’ll find yourself continually surprised at how much space you need in the car! Depending on the size of your family, you’ll need easy access to the back seats and plenty of boot space. Many families opt for the larger SUVs and people carriers when looking for extra space and practicality. You can find it in the smaller hatchbacks, but you’ll often compromise elsewhere.
Safety – Nothing is more important than the safety of your family while driving. Modern cars are particularly well kitted out, but be careful when looking at older cars on the used market. The marker for quality here is the Euro NCAP star rating. Every single car undergoes independent safety tests and receives a star marking. The best result is a 5-star award, and the safest car on the road is the Volvo V40.
Reliability – Finally, you need confidence and peace of mind when it comes to reliability. The last thing you need is an expensive and inconvenient breakdown on the school run! There are certain manufacturers that you can always trust. The likes of Volkswagen and Hyundai have an exceptional record. Make sure you research user reviews and reliability tables before you make your final decision. It’s also worth looking for a vehicle with a long warranty; at least five years is ideal.
Now you know what to look for, it’s time to hit the dealerships and find that perfect car. It’s a big decision so take your time and make the right choice for you.