How to pick the best car for you and your family

family_car

There are many very good cars on the market to choose from, so much so that choosing one can feel like a significant issue.

It’s important to establish your requirements and confine your search to cars that can meet them. A family car has to fulfil many functions from the school run, shopping, family holidays, long and short trips and maybe as a car for your teenagers to learn to drive in.

Having swotted up for their driving theory test it’ll help your teen considerably if the car they practice in is easy to drive so they can put their new-found knowledge of the rules of the road to the test.

What is a ‘family car?’

With cars in each class generally larger than their predecessors, the potential for a given vehicle to be the family transport is wider than before. For example, VW’s ‘supermini’ – the Polo – is now as big as the earlier generation Golf – the next size up in the range. Shoppers don’t necessarily have to think of the established ‘big’ models to transport their family around.

Small family cars

This class contains favourites such as the VW Golf, Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus. With decent cabin space and a hatchback, they may well be fine for your needs and, as suggested earlier, would still be a decent model to help a teenager to learn to drive in.

Family cars

Models such as the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia and Mazda 6 are what many would equate to the more traditional ‘family car’ size.

Estate cars

The estate car – more commonly available in the ‘family car’ bracket – takes load capacity a step further. Estate cars are usually very similar to their hatchback or saloon stablemates to drive – just with the all-important size advantage.

MPVs

MPVs (multi purpose vehicles) are also known as ‘multi-seaters’. Cars such as the Ford Galaxy and SEAT Alhambra are popular examples and allow a little more room for the bigger family.

SUVs

SUVs (sports utility vehicles) have the look of an off-road type of car even though they may not actually be off roaders. The very popular Nissan Qashqai is a good example and caters for families that fancy a sporty flavour.

Assessing your needs

Your requirements should point you in the direction of which class of car from the above will be most suitable.

Do you carry many people? If so, an MPV might be the best choice but beware of luggage space. If you have teenagers learning to drive – or about to – consider if it will prove a bit big and intimidating to learn in.

SUVs might sound appealing but be aware they’re not necessarily more durable or able to combat poor road conditions than other types of car. Some have four-wheel drive, but many have ‘ordinary’ car mechanicals.

A small family car might appeal from lower initial purchase prices and running costs, but will it really be big enough? If so, it’s a good choice of car that various members of the family can drive easily including young learners.

Draw up a list of requirements and make sure you tick off all the practical ‘essentials’ before moving on to style and taste considerations.

Safety is bound to be a key consideration, so plenty of air bags, anti-skid technology and – if you have very young children – facilities for the safe and easy fitting of child seats are important, although most modern models of all sizes should be good for this.

Once you’ve settled on a suitable class of car, buying information resources like this one will give you reviews and other data to help your research to narrow down your final choice of vehicle.

Getting on the road as a working parent?

As a parent working from home with children on the scene, you’ll already be struggling to find gaps in your agenda to fit things in. On top of your workload, looking after pre-school kids, cooking, cleaning and the many other day-to-day jobs that are involved, even just five minutes’ down time can be a luxury. However, if you’ve managed to keep on top of it all without the modern day convenience of a car then you should definitely be commended.

Many people take it for granted, having a car on the drive to nip to the shops or to ferry young ones around. Gone are the days when most people get by on foot. Maybe you’ve seen your friends packing babies, bags and accessories into the back seats and had a hint of jealousy. As a non-driving parent, of course there’d be positives to getting on the road.

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by brizzle born and bred

The first steps to time and money saving would be to start studying a small amount a day, even just 15 minutes, and allocating some time to trying out mock driving theory tests. This way you don’t get caught under an avalanche of work when you go to do the real thing and you can pass first time. It saves time, money and effort rather than going in unprepared. It’s also a good idea to get a full understanding of the medical guidelines of fitness to drive.

If you have a partner with a vehicle, save the funds and keep everyone involved by getting out on the road with them. I’d advise getting your first few lessons in with a qualified instructor until you’re at a reasonable driving capability and with enough confidence. But after that you can save the money and the time out of the house by doing it together. Set some ground rules to keep arguments to a minimum, though, as you don’t want in-car tension spilling back over into the house!
There are some useful tips for driving as a parent available on the internet that also come in nicely for learning to drive. It might seem daunting to start learning a completely new skill, and one that can seem insurmountable when you first take to the wheel. But it will be very fulfilling and useful for a family at any age.

The statistics say that women in their sixties are still passing driving tests at a good rate, so there’s no reason why you can’t. Speak to a few instructors on the phone, find a vibe that you like and just don’t put it off any longer. It never gets easier and, like having kids, the time will never be perfect. Just bite the bullet.

5 easy steps to cut the cost of driving

For many of us, driving is a necessary part of our everyday lives. But with the average car costing us around £3,000 per year, it can be a highly expensive necessity.

However, with a bit of careful driving, the right car and the right car insurance, you can ease the cost of driving considerably. So here is our easy five-point guide to cutting the cost of driving. [Read more…]

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