How To Choose A Car If You're An Active Family

Posted by Ben Davidson about 3 months ago
Choosing a family car is a big decision. After all, you’re going to need it to get around for the next few years. It needs to be comfortable, perform well, and be within budget. 

If you are (or are hoping to be) an active family, then this is going to dictate the family car you buy. You’ll need something that will keep up with you while also being an excellent everyday vehicle. 

When it comes to choosing your next car, keep the following in mind when making the decision. 

Is it your only car?
Are there any other vehicles in your household? If there are, then this can give you some extra choices. For example, if you really want to get a large SUV for your family car so that you can go on driving holidays or tackle tricky terrain, then having a second car can make this more realistic, plus you’ll save the smaller car from having to tackle tougher journeys and potentially becoming damaged or other overheating engine causes you to want to avoid. For example, while the large SUV may not be suitable for parking at the supermarket easily, or driving around the city, you can use your other car for these types of journeys. 

What will you use it for the most?
What will the day-to-day use of the car entail? Will you be commuting to work, doing the school drop-off, and trips to the shops? If this is the main use then huge utility vehicles might be overkill and aren’t particularly fuel-efficient. 

It could be a better idea to get a smaller car to handle the majority of your journeys and rent a specialist vehicle for your driving holidays. 

The area you live in
Where you live can have a huge impact on the type of vehicle you need. If you’re in a rural area, or somewhere the roads aren’t, particularly even, then a larger car built to deal with this type of impact on the suspension is the way to go. Cars built for smooth city driving will be very uncomfortable and will probably show signs of damage very quickly, making them a false economy. 

From another perspective, some towns and cities have tolls and charges for certain types of vehicles, especially if they use diesel or petrol. In this case, an electric vehicle might cost you a lot less in charges, while also being better for the environment. 

How old are your children?
When you’ve got newborns and toddlers, you might look for different features in a car. For example, a trunk that will accommodate prams and strollers alongside all of the other endless equipment that babies seem to need. 

As your kids get older, you might be looking for more internal features such as an entertainment system with comfortable seats. 

Alongside the age of your children, you’ll need to take into account how big everyone is too. If you’re a particularly tall family, you might need to sacrifice some trunk space for extra legroom or go with a model with a higher roof so that you don’t feel claustrophobic. 

The number of seats you need
It’s pretty obvious that you need to buy a car with enough seats to fit your family in. If you have more than five people, then you’re probably going to need a min-van or a seven-seater SUV. When considering which car to by, think about if you’re going to need extra space to bring relatives or friends. Some newer models are very clever and have additional seats in the back which can be folded back down for extra storage if necessary. 

Your budget
The amount of money you have to spend will play a huge role in your final choice of car. Not only will you need to consider how much money you have to spend upfront, but also the ongoing costs of running a car. These will include tax, insurance, fuel, servicing, maintenance, and repairs.  More reliable models can often be a little more expensive but cheaper overall for the life of the car. 

Buying or leasing a car from new can be more expensive, but will usually have fewer things that need to be repaired and will have a manufacturer’s warranty for a number of years. 
Choosing a car for an active family

If you are a family that takes regular road trips, packing outdoor equipment and other supplies, you’re probably going to need something a little more well-equipped and rugged. 

Storage
Not all SUVs have huge amounts of space in the back. Certainly not as much as you might expect. They do have more cabin space though, which is important for comfort. Look for models with clever storage ideas. Another option would be to fit the car with a roof rack, if it doesn’t already have one, and use a roof box to pack your things for a trip. 

Additionally, look at vehicles that can transport equipment such as bikes, canoes, camping, and climbing equipment. 

If you need to pull a trailer or caravan, then you’re going to need a vehicle with a little more power. 

Pets
If you have family pets that you need to transport around, you want to ensure that they’re safe and comfortable. Some manufacturers have dog cages you can buy specifically for their model or ramps that allow them to get into the back of the car easily. This is great if you have small dogs or dogs that are older and don’t have mobility.  After all, you want them to travel in style. 

Key points
When it comes to choosing your next family car, you need to choose wisely. The wrong decision could leave you with an unreliable vehicle that costs you a lot of money to keep it running. 

To give yourself the best chance of making the right choice, sit down as a family and really think about how the car is going to be used, what are essential features and which ones are nice to have. 

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