As a family household – whether you have just welcomed a new baby into your life, or you already have a vibrant home full of young ones – having a car can be nothing short of a godsend. From doing the morning school run to taking the whole family on holiday, an MPV, or Multi-Purpose Vehicle, is your best bet. But what should you be looking at when choosing your first?
The single most important aspect of choosing a family car is space. For one, your family car should have ample seat space for every member of your family, ideally with room for a spare or two. If you have a large family, then you would benefit from investing in a larger vehicle with optional seating in the boot – i.e.: a nine-seat MPV like the Vauxhall Zafira.
Speaking of boot space, having ample room for more than the weekly shop is a strong merit for family cars to have – and not one that all possess. A big boot makes holiday trips simpler and can be useful in other ways too.
Unfortunately, price is one of the predominant factors that need to be considered when weighing up family cars. Running a household is expensive enough at present, and for many the prospect of shelling out on a new MPV is a difficult one to reconcile.
The difficulty lies in the relationship between price and quality. New cars at a budget price point often have corners cut in noticeable and impactful ways; for example, a bottom-range Dacia might not have power windows or central locking, let alone modern conveniences like air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity.
However, the solution to this problem lies in the market from which you choose to buy. The used car market is much more accessible than the average car showroom, and can also see highly reliable vehicles up for sale at affordable prices. A used Kia Sportage would be a much better choice than a new vehicle from a less reputable manufacturer.
Price can infiltrate other areas of car ownership, though, with fuel economy being a particularly important metric to track. Larger family vehicles are a little heavier, and designed to carry heavier loads; as such, they can often have poor fuel economy, which can be difficult to manage budget-wise when fuel prices fluctuate. A car with higher fuel efficiency gets further on a smaller tank, saving money – and, crucially, saving the planet in the process.
Last but not least, we come to safety. Every modern car has safety features aplenty, but when you are putting your children in the passenger seat you want to know that your car is safe as can be. The Euro NCAP rating system is a useful yardstick by which to measure the safety of the cars you are looking at, but modern features like brake sensors and reversing cameras can also be useful in this regard.