Having a family is a big step, which brings with it a lot of change and a lot of tough choices. One such decision is choosing your first family car, something which many people do not consider until they’ve had the experience of trying to fit a child-seat, a half-folded up pram and a bag of nappies into their beloved hot hatchback. Investing in a family car will set you up for the future, from going on adventures while on holiday, to just making life easier on a day-to-day basis.
There are so many cars out there that choosing a suitable family car can seem like walking through a minefield – but there is one simply thing that you can do to narrow down the number of cars to choose from, and that it to look at a vehicles Euro NCAP rating. Euro NCAP stands for European New Car Assessment Programme; the test assesses cars on how safe they are for adults, children, pedestrians, and how well the safety technology operates.
Something which is relatively new to car design is stadium seating. Stadium seating is great for family cars because it makes it easier for parents to keep an eye on their children whilst driving, as the rear seats are higher than the front, although you will need to make sure that you can take the headrest off to fit a child seat.
Another thing to consider is how wide the doors open, as doors that are too narrow can cause serious problems when trying to get a family, plus equipment, into the car.
It’s highly unlikely that you will ever have to fit a baby seat or a child’s booster seat in the front of the car, but if the situation ever arose, then you would need to be able to turn off the front airbags. Does your chosen car allow you to do this yourself without having to take it to a garage (which could lead to it not being turned back on to protect adult passengers)?
Sliding seats are another great advantage in a family car. Being able to move seats around creates more space, and can also provide more comfortable seating arrangements. If you opt for a people carrier, be aware that you will probably lose boot space if you choose to put the rear seats down.
There is no magic formula for choosing a family car, so keep safety in mind and think for the long term.