When middle age hits, life starts to change. First you settle down with the one. Next a big home purchase. After a few years, the patter of little feet join the ever expanding family. But the big life changer is making the change to a family car.
A family car comes in many shapes and sizes. When people think of a family car a minivan instantly comes into mind. But have no fear, you can still upgrade to a family car without sacrificing your style.
There is more to a family car than extra seats. Here are some things to look at when you purchase your new family car.
- Storage space. New families often forget to look for cars with adequate storage space in the trunk and between the seats. When you have kids you will have a lot of stuff to go with the kids. Think diaper bags, toys, snacks, change of clothes, etc. As kids get older, factor in sports bags and other things. If you are going on a trip, you will need to have enough space for luggage. Balance between seating and luggage to ensure that your family isn’t squished with any extra luggage.
- Seat covering. Cars come with a variety of seat covering. Some are conducive to kids and others are not. Darker colored seating is best for young kids as it masks any stains or spills. The downside with fabric seats is that moisture spills can be very difficult to clean up. Leather seats are usually not ideal for children as constant spills will damage the leather. Plus, leather seating is often more expensive in the initial cost of the car, and upkeep can be painful.
- Entertainment. Kids beg to be entertained constantly. And being restrained in a car seat with not entertainment is pure torture for a little kid. Family cars these days can come stocked with all of the latest technologies. You can all of the bells and whistles or just a few extras to make long car rides more enjoyable. Most family cars have at least a pull down television hooked to a DVD player. You can upgrade and get wireless headphones for a quieter car ride (no parent should have to listen to the same movie over and over in the car).
- Gas mileage. Because of the size and weight of a family car, the gas mileage efficiency will definitely be lower. Consider finding a car without a diesel engine or a clean engine.
- Safety. When trusting a vehicle to cart around you whole family, safety should be your biggest concern. Peruse safety ratings on Consumer Reports, an independent rating magazine of consumer products, to find which cars are up to snuff. If a car is constantly having problems, do not trust it to keep your family safe.
As your begin to find your family car, do not be overwhelmed. Make sure to do your research, test drive your selections and go with your gut.
Happy car shopping!