Family Car Buying Guide: Finding the Best Vehicle for Your Family
Regardless of whether your primary concern is safety, leg room, reliability, affordability or style, the following family car buying guide can help you find the right car.
The Small Family Car Buying Guide
If you have a small family, and you plan on keeping it that way, your buying options are virtually endless. While you will want to stay away from vehicles with limited trunk space, or sports cars and trucks with no back seats, your choices will include a wide selection of affordably priced sedans, hatchbacks, station wagons, and crossovers.
Your Ideal Choice
When affordability and drivability are leading your family car buying decision, a used sedan is a great choice. Most families with one or two kids find that these vehicles have enough space to meet the day-to-day to challenges of getting their families where they need to be with all their accessories in tow. Adding to their appeal is the fact that many sedans are known for their maneuverability and fuel economy.
Features to look for:
- Safety: Safety can be the most important aspect of finding the best family car. You can find the safety ratings for many used vehicles at SaferCar.gov.
- Storage Space: Don’t underestimate the need for a large trunk or roof racks. Even small families of three need enough extra room for taking weekend trips and hauling groceries.
- Leg Room: If you plan to travel with adult-sized passengers, the car you choose should have the legroom to match.
The On-the-Go and Growing Family Car Buying Guide
Your family may be small today, but things may be dramatically different two years from now. If growth is in your family’s future, there is no need to run out and buy a new car every time your needs change. Instead with a little foresight, you can find a car that fits your needs today with enough versatility to expand with your family.
Your Ideal Choice
Today’s modern station wagons and hatchbacks – which have shed the boxy outdated exterior styling of past generations – can be a perfect match for a growing family. With roomy back seats and a versatile cargo area, many of these vehicles can quickly go from hauling band instruments to taking the entire family on a weekend trip to grandma’s house.
Features to look for:
- Car Seats: The Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system, which is designed to help parents safely secure their child’s car seat, has been a requirement in all new cars since 2002. When examining this feature, make sure the car has multiple LATCH anchors – this offers flexibility for the placement of car seats.
- When examining capacity, don’t just look at the number of people the vehicle can seat. Make sure there is enough trunk and cargo space for family vacations and car pools.
- Reliability: You may be handing over the keys of this car someday to one of your children. So look for a vehicle with a track-record of reliability.
The Large Family Car Buying Guide
It may be hard to admit, but the minivan is still one of the best choices for the large family with ever-expanding needs. Not only do most minivans comfortably seat families of six and sometimes more, but when compared to other the large scale options on the market, they are among some of the most affordable.
Your Ideal Choice:
If you want a car that offers a little more style than the average minivan, a crossover is a great alternative. Known for some of the most creative engineering on the car market, today’s modern crossovers are redefining the family car driving experience. Combining the space of a minivan, the drivability of a sedan, and the styling of an SUV, they are an ideal choice for larger families.
- Many crossovers and SUVs offer an optional third row of seating. While more expensive, this option may increase the vehicle’s seating capacity by up to eight people – sometimes more.
- Larger cars are notoriously bad in terms of fuel economy. To avoid this look for SUVs and crossovers that offer a clean diesel or hybrid option.
Family Ready Interior
- Don’t underestimate the importance of things like cup holders, side pockets, cargo nets and organizer trays. Other more high tech features to look for including multiple USB Ports, rear seat DVD players, and navigation systems.
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