After a house, a car is one of the biggest purchases most people make. Buying one takes many people years of saving or years of debt to pay off. Although lots of people opt to maintain their asset by changing cars regularly before the value plummets selling or trading a vehicle and buying another one can be a costly exercise. It makes sense to consider your needs and options before committing to a purchase. In the case of a family car this is especially essential, as the needs of a growing family change over time.
- Number of seats
While it might seem like an obvious place to start, size matters How many people are in your family? Do you need an extra seat or two for friends to come along regularly or for Grandma to join the family on outings? Are you planning to add another member to the family at some stage? Answers to these questions are important because the type of car you buy will be determined largely by your size requirements. Al of the other considerations will be factored in later. Asa rule, the smaller your family, the more options you have. Although you might not need that large 4.WD that would be so much fun, it will still work for you if you decide that it’s the vehicle of choice for your family. On the other hand, a family with six children might not have too many other options; they need the number of seats it provides even though they might never use it for off-road driving.
- Age of your children How old are the members of your family?
Are they little children who are still in booster seats, or are they teenagerswho will soon be adult sized and require more space? Many small to medium-doe vehicles will be cramped with two booster seats in the rear, and adding a third will be impossible in many cases. Lanky teenagers are also likely to find a small to medium-doe sedan or SUV cramped.
- Cost of burying and Running
While buying your new car might seem like the biggest cash outlay, running costs can be surprisingly dose behind. The initial cost of buying a vehicle might be within your budget, but maintenance and servicing costs are harder to determine until you have owned the car for a while, and you might find the running costs prohibitive. It pays to do your homework. Research the service costs for the car of your choice and get some figures on the fuel consumption. Website forums are a good place to ask questions people who already own the model of car you are interested in are usually happy to talk about their experiences. bud out how much it costs for maintenance items such as new tyres, and ask about commonly replaced items such as fuel pumps and air filters Spare parts can be extremely expensive in some models, and it might be enough to make you think twice before you purchase one.
Once upon a time, safety might not have been a major consideration. But now, the lives of your children depend on the safety of your vehicle every time you go out in it. What safety features do you require? How do any extra features stack up against your budget? Will you have to compromise between cost and features? Understanding the vehicle five-star safety rating system will help make your choice easier. Try to decide what safety features are non-negotiable and which ones are desirable but not necessarily essential.
If you are planning to keep the vehicle for a while before you update again, you need one that is reliable. While there are undoubtedly individual vehicles that cause their owners grief from day one, it is more important to know if this is a trend for that particular model. Some models are notorious for having particular problems and you don’t want to get caught with an expensive repair bill. Again, web forums are a good place to ask current owners about the model you are interested in. You can also read car magazines and check out review sites A little sleuthing will soon tell you if there is a problem.
- Luggage space
Your chosen model might have enough seats and enough legroom for lanky teenagers but what about luggage space? To a degree, this depends on how you plan to use the car, but if it’s an all-purpose, go-everywhere family vehicle, luggage space is important. From vast quantities of shopping to enough room for luggage on a family vacation, luggage space is one of the top priorities for families. Knowing the overall volume of luggage space is sometimes not enough; knowing how that space is to be utilized is also important. For example, the floor area that is devoted to luggage space will were the difference between comfortably sliding luggage onto a flat surface or having to stack it vertically because the floor space is limited. It might be the same volume of space, but the way it can be used is different, and you might find it inconvenient.
Features are the obvious selling points of the car, the bells and whistles that make it stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, some buyers get excited about the technology or other features without doing their homework on the other aspects of the vehicle, and sometime later wish they had. Although you might love the features a vehicle offers, try to prioritize the must-haves and those that are desirable but not essential. Often extra features add extra cost, so be sure you are buying with your head first. Falling in love with a car for its features is fine as long as the other aspects of the vehicle also measure up.
How are you going to use your car? Do you mostly drive around the city? If so, you might be interested in looking at a vehicle that offers city-friendly features such as start/stop operation or buying an electric or hybrid vehicle to cut down on emissions and fuel consumption in city driving. If you use your vehicle for a lot of highway driving, you will probably want to consider one that is fuel efficient or offers features such as variable cylinder management, where some of the cylinders are dosed down under light load to save fuel.
There’s nothing quite like the nagging concern of a vehicle that is unreliable or unsuited to your needs. However, when you do your homework well, you will eliminate many of those possibilities You can ensure your choice will be a sound investment that you don’t have to worry about, leaving you free to enjoy your purchase and all the family adventures it will be part of.