Keeping children alive is a parent’s primary task. As cynical as this might sound, everything we do for our children is done with this end in sight.
Think about it: feeding them, clothing them, providing them a home, the life lessons we impart — all of these will ultimately preserve the life of the child. Thus, it comes as little surprise when this factor is among the chief considerations when choosing an automobile to drive them around.
With this in mind, here are four key questions to ask when buying a family car.
- How Many Children Need Accommodating?
Mom and Dad up front are a given in the traditional family structure. But how many kids are we talking here? If you have more than two, you’ll likely need something with a third row for those times the entire family is in the vehicle. If they’re younger, you’re also going to want to give them as much space as possible to avoid hearing, “Mom, Alex keeps touching me!”
Aside from preserving your sanity, you’ll also need a belted seating position for each child. This pretty much dictates a crossover utility vehicle, SUV or a minivan for larger families.
You must also think about child safety seats. If your offspring are too small to be belted in properly, you’ll have to provide supplemental seating to raise them to the height at which seatbelts are effective. Children weighing less than 80 pounds, as well as those who are under four feet, nine inches in height, require an entire seating apparatus.
You’ll want to make sure the car allows you to place and secure these devices quickly and easily. Imagine trying to belt a child safety seat into the back of a two-door coupe in the middle of a driving rainstorm.
Yeah — it’s an ugly thought.
- How Will it Impact Your Budget?
A full-size SUV is going to cost quite a bit of coin to purchase and it’s going to consume many gallons of gas over the course of a week. You’ll probably be getting new car loans to finance these vehicles too, so you also have to know how much the monthly payment is going to run.
It’s always a good idea to consult your budget before making any large purchase, but especially so when it comes to buying a car. In addition to the monthly payment and fuel, you’ll have insurance premiums, maintenance and registration expenses.
- Is Getting in and out Easily Accomplished?
You’ll want everyone to be able to get out of the car as quickly and easily as possible, especially in the event of a crash. This is more readily accomplished with four doors than two. Four or more doors also make it easy for everyone to get into the vehicle and get settled.
If you have smaller children, you’ll want something with a low step-in height too. Minivans with sliding doors on each side are particularly beneficial in this regard. Lifting children into your super-sized SUV with its skyscraping ground clearance is going to get old after a while.
- Will it Scale with Your Family?
If you currently have two children and planning for more, get a vehicle capable of obliging your family’s needs as it grows. After all, you’ll need to do more than drive the kids around. They’ll have friends, bikes and all sorts other gear as they get older and develop interests. The vehicle you choose must be able to keep pace as things evolve.
These four questions to ask when buying a family car will help you find the ideal vehicle for your specific needs. Living with it will be an easier proposition — your children will be safer too.