How to choose the best family car


Whether you’re about to start a family or simply adding to an existing one, finding the ideal family car to carry a mixture of children of all ages, along with all the associated paraphernalia such as Moses baskets, pushchairs and changing bags, can be a tricky prospect.


The key to choosing the right vehicle is to be fully aware of the specific needs of your individual family, and then to match these to the best possible car that falls within your budget.



New or used

Although there are many benefits to buying a new car, such as a lengthy manufacturer’s warranty, access to the most modern, fuel-efficient engines and no requirement for an MoT for the first three years, you can obtain almost all of these benefits when buying a nearly new car, but at a fraction of the cost.


There was a time when the only place you could look for a new car was on the forecourt of your local second-hand dealer but today you can search online for vehicles across the country and beyond. Whether you’re searching for cars for sale in Gauteng or somewhere closer to home, you’ll be able to choose from a wide selection of models, so you’ll easily find a car that suits your family down to the ground.



Model choice

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether to purchase a hatchback, estate, SUV or people carrier. Hatchbacks offer great versatility, estates give you significantly more storage space, SUVs are also spacious and have a commanding driving position but can be costly. Many people carriers have an extra row of seats allowing you to carry up to seven people at a time, though usually at the expense of boot space.


Power unit

Diesel was once touted as the best type of car to purchase if you wanted the best of both worlds when it comes to reliability and economy, but in recent years such vehicles have been shown to be extremely polluting and now face additional parking and congestion charges in some parts of the country. Many manufacturers also offer scrappage schemes where significant discounts are available for those trading in their older diesel cars.


Electric vehicles used to be relatively rare but with more being sold each, the number available on the second-hand market is increasing fast. If you want a car that is as future proof as possible, consider all-electric, plug-in-hybrid and basic hybrid models.


Consider ease of access

If your child or children still require a pushchair, research the exact measurements of the boot of your chosen vehicle to ensure if fits before you make your purchase.


Always avoid cars with only three doors as this will make it far more difficult for you to secure a child in their car seat and is far less convenient to the school run as you’ll have to get in and out of the vehicle to let the rear occupants out.


If you are using a rear-facing child seat in the front of the vehicle, make sure the vehicle allows you to switch off the passenger airbag. Many of the MPV-style vehicles are fitted with sliding doors which make accessing the rear a breeze, especially in a crowded car park.


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