Buying a car is tough enough, but when you have little ones in the back, it gets even tougher. There’s so much to think about – mostly safety issues. Here’s a few things you need to consider before you make your next purchase.
Safety is obviously the first thing you think about when shopping for a family car. If it’s not safe, it’s not worth buying. Due to safety regulations, all new cars come very well-equipped with the standard features you expect, like airbags and anti-lock braking systems. In fact, most vehicles today now employ anti-skid systems, complete with traction control and anti-lock brakes.
But aside from the basics, look for extras like side-curtain airbags, and solid crash test ratings. Stability control, traction control, and a high-strength steel frame are also a plus.
What’s The Fuel Efficiency Look Like?
Fuel efficiency varies based on the size of your SUV. Compact vehicles, for example, typically get you 20 to 25 MPG. Midsized vehicles will get you somewhere in the mid teens. And, full-sized SUVs should get you between 12 and 20 MPG on average.
Some SUVs also come with hybrid engine that can boost fuel economy up to 15 percent or more. These models do tend to cost more, however, so weigh the advantage against a higher monthly car payment.
How Much Towing Capacity Do You Need?
Towing capacity is important if you’re an active family. So, if you enjoy camping, and you want to tow a camper, make sure your SUV can handle the load. SUVs like the Ford Explorer 2016 can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Not all vehicles are this capable, and the Explorer is built on a car chassis, which is incredible given its power. You’ll get decent towing capacity as well as a smooth ride.
Kids like creature comforts, like T.V.s, audio inputs for electronic gadgets, and accessory plugs so that they can play games.
Other creature comforts include fold away trays and cup holders for drinks. These are really great to have, since kids love to be able to reach out and get things for themselves. A good sound system that can be segregated by cabin areas is also a nice thing for children who might want to listen to, or watch, something on YouTube or Vimeo while you drive.
Seat warmers, and air conditioned seats are luxuries. But, for some families, they’re necessities. If these things are important to you, make sure that they’re included or at least offered as an upgrade.
How Easy Is It To Get In And Out Of?
This is probably the second-most important factor, next to safety, that directly impacts just how “family” your family vehicle is. If it’s difficult for your children to physically climb into and out of the SUV, then it’s going to be a hassle to go anywhere.
You probably don’t want to have to pick your children up each and every time they need to get in and out of the vehicle. Unless they’re toddlers, they should be able to get in without too much trouble.
Will Your Car Seats Fit?
For me this is a deal breaker when it comes to a family vehicle. I specifically looked for a mini van with the quick connect anchors for car seats so I could easily get them in and out without having to play with the safety belts. If you are buying a car and you need to fit 3 car seats, bring the car seats with you. Not all car seats will fit in every car, sadly! For us, the only car seats we could fit 3 of in the backseat of our Honda Civic was our Diono Radian RXT seats.