What Does it Really Mean to Choose a Family Car?
Guest Writer: Jen Garrison
As your family grows, you’ll inevitably ask yourself the question: Is it time to invest in a family car? It’s not something too many couples do before they have multiple children, but it can quickly become an appealing idea once the kids come along. But even if you decide it’s time to get a family car, it’s not quite as simple as heading to the nearest dealership and picking out a minivan. There’s more that goes into the decision, which is why we’re taking a little time to look into what it really mean to have a family car.
Making an Informed Decision
As stated, investing in a family car isn’t as simple as picking out the first minivan you happen to lay eyes on. There are actually a lot of factors that go into family-oriented vehicles: safety, performance, fuel efficiency, comfort, special features, price, potential trade-in value, and more. Really, this is the same as with any other car, but for the fact that you’ll likely be prioritizing safety even more than usual, and paying extra attention to storage space as well.
As of this writing, some of the best family cars available (as far as the experts and testers are concerned) include the likes of the Subaru Outback, the Chrysler Pacifica, the Volvo V90 Cross Country, and a handful of others. But really, buying a family car means doing research according to your family needs and making the most informed decision possible.
Considering Timing & Payment Structures
It’s always important to give careful consideration to the timing, cost, and structure of a major purchase like this. Since a family car is often an “extra” vehicle, it’s an added investment on top of your ordinary budget — and thus requires particularly careful attention from a financial perspective. This means considering not just the sticker price or your negotiation with a dealer, but also what deals might be available based on the market.
Recently for instance, tricky economic conditions have affected people’s decisions about buying new vehicles. The question of buying a car during a recession has given rise to interesting decisions — such as whether the 0% interest rate some dealers are offering outweighs the fact that other cash-back bonuses have not been available. A recession introduces some unusual situations of this nature, but this recent situation illustrates why it’s important to consider all the angles in evaluating your purchase. If a family car is an “extra” vehicle, you’ll want to get the best deal you can so as not to add too much to your expenses.
Optimizing Safety for the Kids
As we mentioned to before, much of your considering in choosing a family car will have to do with safety. You’ll undoubtedly seek out a car with top safety ratings, and particularly secure space in the back seats for your children. But even when you’ve made your initial choice and purchased a family car, owning and using that car will mean optimizing safety on a continual basis, in as many ways as you can. This means figuring out car seat safety with specific regard to how seats fit into the new vehicle. It means keeping track of safety-related upkeep such as brake quality, airbag integrity, and tire tread. It may even mean practicing more conservative driving habits than you may be used to in your own vehicle with no passengers.
Practicing Diligent Upkeep
Last but not least, having a family car also means doing everything you can to make the car last as long as possible. This essentially just means sticking to maintenance schedules, doing regular inspections, and practicing general upkeep — as you really ought to be doing with a personal vehicle as well! But we’re emphasizing this with regard to a family car because this is a vehicle you’ll want to last through your kids’ childhood. Between carrying around multiple kids, having their friends along for rides or carpools, or driving off on family trips, family cars are dependable for as long as parents have kids in their homes. Regular upkeep and maintenance will help you to make it through all of that time with a single, reliable family car.