How to Choose a Family Vehicle

Deciding on a new family vehicle is a tough decision process, and you’ll likely have a lot to consider before coming to a final decision. Before you buy, take time to weigh the options so that you purchase the car that you can enjoy and that will fit your needs. Here are some important points to ponder before setting out to get that new car.

Budget

Families are expensive, and it’s a good idea to avoid getting too carried away when making a major purchase like a vehicle. You want something that’s going to be reliable and that will meet all your needs, but it also needs to fit firmly within the budget. A responsible buyer should figure out what they can afford to spend on such purchases and then work out an accurate price range to shop in. With a firm idea of what you can spend, paying for the vehicle will be as comfortable as riding in it.

Safety Rating

Since the vehicle will primarily be used to transport your loved ones, safety features and overall safety rating should play a huge role in the decision-making process. Take a look at safety ratings from trusted sources like the IIHS and NHTSA. For the highest levels of safety, examine the list of safety features and look for things like curtain airbags, adaptive cruise control and braking assistance. The best vehicles for families are often some of the safest as well.

Interior Features

Family vehicles tend to get a lot of use, so it’s important to make sure that you’re going to enjoy your time behind the wheel. What are the components of the media system? Look for things like Bluetooth connectivity, built-in TV’s and DVD players and also an Aux-in connection. Pay attention to added comfort features like multi-adjustable, ventilated or heated seats. All these perks will enhance those regular family trips, will make in-town driving more pleasurable and possibly increase resale value when it's time to sell.

Is the Interior Durable?

When you have children, interior quality is another concern that really matters. Consider how it will stand up to wear and hard use.  Cloth seats likely are hard to maintain. Leather or vinyl can be washed easily, especially if your busy life features eating in the car. Also look for vehicles with rubber or hard flooring instead of standard carpeting. One day of heavy rain and muddy feet can add a memory to your car that can last a long time.

Interior Space

Families typically need seating for four or more people, and plenty of space for cargo to boot. That’s why you need to consider seating arrangements and whether the rear seats will accommodate car seats and other items that must be moved in and out regularly. Also, think about trunk size and available storage compartments to determine whether they will large enough for your needs or not.

Fuel Efficiency

Families travel quite a bit, so fuel economy is a valid consideration. Pay attention to how much gas that van, mid-sized sedan, station wagon or SUV is going to use each week. Don't let the added cost of extra trips to the gas pump through your budget into a spin.

For a growing family, buying the right family car is a big decision. Spending a few hours to do your research up front will likely give you many hours of satisfaction down the road.