Whether you are buying a second family car, you’ve purchased before or you’ve simply just started your family there are a number of important considerations you’ll need to make before buying. As there are so many family car options on the market, buying a family car can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If you do your research right, you’ll end up with the perfect vehicle for your entire family.
Your first consideration when buying a family car should of course be your budget. Your budget is going to be the top consideration when compromising on all the other considerations in this list. Unfortunately your budget always needs to come first. You’ll need to factor in petrol costs to your budget (which means knowing how much of a gas-guzzler you’re buying) and of course costs for servicing and maintenance. If your budget doesn’t fit the type of make and model you want, consider buying second-hand instead to save you a small fortune. Cars lose around 20% of their value as soon as you drive out of the dealership. Also your car will lose around 20% of its value each year, so buying a second-hand car that was initially purchased only one or two years ago will save you a lot of money.
Safety should obviously be a top consideration when buying a family car. According to NRMA, realistically you shouldn’t have any wiggle room below an ANCAP rating of 5, as it’s the top of the line. ANCAP on the other hand recommend that you stay away from any vehicle with a rating below 4 stars. It’s important to look closely at the ANCAP ratings as not all feature the same safety standards. Basically a rating of 1-2 shouldn’t even be considered. Make sure to check for built-in safety features including airbags, antilock braking systems (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC) and set belt pre-tensioners.
The car you buy today needs to last. When considering your top needs and wants today you should be looking more than 5 years into the future. Instead of simply considering if it has enough room for your immediate family now, consider if you’ll be adding to your brood in the future. Is there enough room for a dog or dogs if you decide to add fur kids to the family? Will it suit your children into their primary school and high school years? A car shouldn’t be simply used for a few years at a time. Remember that all important budget we talked about? Longevity should always be factored into your budget as well.
When buying a family car you should always consider that functionality trumps prestige. There’s nothing wrong with buying a vehicle with a certain badge on the hood but is it in your budget and does is meet all of your other, more important requirements like functionality? Consider the size of the car, what it will mostly be used for, 5 minute drives in the city or large family getaways? Maybe both? Check the car seat anchor points, does this suit your needs? If you’re going to be using it for your own purposes rather than just family outings then consider those needs as well. Remember our longevity point when factoring in your own needs.