Are you expecting twins or triplets? Then you might be thinking about how you’re all going to fit into your car. When I was pregnant with my boys we spent hours deciding which double buggy to buy, but we didn’t think about whether our Rover was going to be big enough for four of us. It was only when our buggy arrived and wouldn’t fit in the boot that we started to think about changing it. Husband had to remove some of the boot, take out his speakers and the parcel shelf, and it ended up *just* squeezing in, but it meant nothing else could fit in there. Within a couple of months we realised it was time to upgrade.
We made a list of things we were looking for to help us decide. Here are a few things that mattered to us:
1) Sliding doors.
When getting multiple babies out of car seats on either side of the car it’s useful if at least one of the doors slides so you don’t always have to get them out on the roadside with the door wide open.
2) Reliability and cost of repairs.
We decided on a car, but after speaking to a few garages and friends of friends who had the car, we realised that particular make was prone to problems and the parts were costly #backtothedrawingboard.
3) Future family size.
As we knew we wanted more children, we felt there was no point buying an estate car as that wouldn’t work for us in the long-term.
4) Boot size.
When you have a double buggy in your boot, it can leave you with little space for anything else. Also, some people carriers have a seat in the boot which means if all of your seats are occupied, you can’t fit a buggy in too.
We had a shoestring budget which really limited our options, as most people carriers cost £££££.
In the end we went for a Toyota Granvia – a Japanese imported vehicle that’s the size of a campervan. It has seven seats, a huge boot that can be made smaller or larger, a big sliding door and it has a great head height. We’ve had picnics inside it on rainy days, fed the babies in it on long car journeys and it can easily fit the five of us, our dog, luggage for a week away and a buggy in there. I LOVE it and changing our car has made our lives so much easier and less stressful!
If you’re thinking of buying a family car, here is a guest post from Joel Dowling, blogging on behalf of the Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matters website, with some more useful advice. *
Tips for choosing a family car
Choosing a car for your family is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Here are a few tips on how to make the process easier and more successful.
Take your time
As with so many things, it pays not to leave this task until you’re desperate. Give yourself time to reflect while not under pressure to choose. And get yourself mentally oriented to the task. It’s boring but crucial, and so must be viewed as work rather than a chore; something that, though arduous, must be undertaken painstakingly. Open yourself up to the information you need, watch out for cars on the road, and listen when people talk, as they often do, about their own experiences.
Compare your notes
You could look at some of the many comparison sites – like Which – that will give you all the relevant scientific data, as well as subjective opinion on the cars you are considering buying. Perhaps most usefully there are chat sites where drivers share experiences and reveal the flaws of all kinds of vehicles.
Value for money
One of the most important factors is, of course, value for money. You’ll have to consider not only whether to buy new or used, but also the range of finance options available to you. Of course, the cheapest way to buy anything is outright, but many dealerships will offer surprisingly good rates, especially during these leaner times.
Check running costs
Then there are the running costs. Miles per gallon isn’t always straightforward and can depend on the kind of driving you plan on doing. It’s well worth studying this.But it’s not just the fuel consumption that sets the costs. You’ll find that premiums vary widely between makes and models that otherwise seem relatively similar.
Storage is another key factor. As any parent knows, moving a modern family from A to B is a logistical nightmare requiring an enormous amount of stuff. However, exactly what and how much stuff you’re transporting could dictate whether you need a people carrier – with a good deal of internal storage for toys and clothes and DVD players – or an estate with boot space for outdoor kit and dogs, or a 4×4 with both.
Last, but most important, is safety. The European Union publishes data annually comparing the safety features of family and other cars – whether they fit passenger-side airbags as standard and so on. But there is also reliability to consider; breaking down with a family on board might not just be inconvenient – it could be dangerous. Once your list of priorities is established – hopefully with safety at the top – you’re ready to translate the jargon, analyse the figures, and track down your ideal family vehicle.
Author’s Bio: Joel Dowling is a guest blogger for Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matters. He writes about subjects such as car insurance and family tourism. After much soul-searching he has recently swapped his camper van for an estate car.