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Homes on Wheels: First-Class Family Cars

September 25, 2014

Starting your own family can mean a big lifestyle change, in more ways than one! It can also mean it’s time to trade in your favourite two-seater for something a little more practical.
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Family considerations

Obviously your requirements will depend on the size of your family and the age of your children. However, other factors to consider include usage habits, budget, boot space and any extra capacity you might need for infrequent extra passengers. Five-door vehicles win hands down when it comes to kids – regardless of whether or not your children are young enough to require a car seat, rear doors are a godsend when it comes to getting in and out of the car with ease.

There’s a broad range of options when it comes to selecting a family car, with numerous types of vehicles being marketed towards the family market. Hatchbacks, MPVs (Multi-Purpose Vehicles), crossovers and estates all have their own set of benefits. The choice comes down to your requirements and personal preferences.

Size matters

Mid-size hatchbacks like the VW Golf and Ford Focus offer an ideal compromise between space and economy. They’re small enough to drive easily and they’re economical, but they also offer plenty of space for a family of 4 to travel in comfort – with plenty of room for luggage in the boot.If you’ve got a family of 5 or more, a larger MPV, crossover or estate car may be more suitable for your needs. Many of the MPVs and crossovers on the market today offer up to 7 seats, including the funky Citroen Grand Picasso and elegant Ford Grand C-Max offer plenty of interior space without sacrificing style – keeping both the driver and the kids happy.

Featured Expert: Becky Goddard-Hill of Family-Budgeting.co.uk shares her expert insights when it comes to finding a practical family car on a budget.

When investing in a car, it is important to emphasise practicality, particularly if you are on a budget. Substance over style is important, so it needs to be worth every penny. You also need to think about what is most important to you. Do you really need built in DVD players and a massive boot if you only have one child who already has a portable tablet? Don’t be swayed by extras and don’t get too fixed on colour or models…keep an open mind – that’s how you get the best bargain.

Keeping costs down

Family life can get expensive and, with that in mind, it’s important that your choice of car keeps within budget when it comes to running costs. Diesel engines generally offer better economy figures, especially on longer journeys. It may also be worth researching which of your top choices are the most reliable and have the lowest maintenance costs. Check out Cap.co.uk to calculate the expected running costs for your next vehicle. Make sure you budget for your car finance payments, fuel, tax, insurance and leave room to spare for any other unexpected bills.

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About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.