9 Things to Consider When Buying a Family Car for Six
Our family expanded to six people (four children) a little over a year ago and one of the financial effects of this was an outlay on a new car. We managed with one car for many years because the kid’s school is a five-minute walk from our house and we are lucky that it is also surrounded by all of the day-to-day necessities (shops, pharmacy…..chip shop etc!), and so it made financial sense to just run one car. With the family set to grow by one more, the car that I use for work became unworkable for the family as it only catered for 5 people and despite my wife’s suggestion that I should take a seat in the boot (the new addition to the family was my fault after all), we decided to invest in a new car for the family. Here are my 9 things to consider when buying a family car fox six.
Unlike the stereotypical bloke, I have absolutely no interest in cars whatsoever; I don’t care what it looks like, what colour it is, or how fast it goes. The following are a list of things that were important to me when I was making the purchase:
Are the seats easy to access?
Six or seven seater cars invariably still only have 5 doors. If you have 4 children, depending on their ages they will require different size seats. The car needs to be big enough to accommodate them first of all, but also provide access to be able to easily move them in and out – particularly if you have a baby seat. In the end, we opted for a sliding door solution which made all of this easy. The 7 seater car also provides access to the back two seats through the boot – which is fun for the older kids to access/disembark from.
Is there enough space for everyone?
This was a major consideration. We are generally only in the car altogether as a family once a week, on a Sunday when we attend church and visit family. The journey is a round trip of about an hour and with 3 girls sat too close to each other this is a recipe for disaster. Make sure that there is enough space between the booster seats so that they are comfortable and not irritating each other. It won’t stop the arguments, but at least it will vary them!
Is the car reliable?
For me, the most important thing was that the car was reliable. Myself excluded, the car transports my most precious cargo (my wife and kids) and therefore safety and reliability of the car are of uppermost importance. I don’t think there is any guarantee (without paying a warranty premium) that something won’t go wrong once you make a purchase, but you can certainly reduce your risks by checking it has a full-service history and paying attention to the most recent MOT.
Is the car fuel efficient?
Often bigger cars come with bigger engines – it takes more power to move them. If the engine is bigger it costs more to fuel it. That’s the logic I followed. After a lot of research, I opted for a 1.6 cc engine on a 7 seater car. It is pretty fuel efficient and if you are buying through a dealer they will generally give you an indication of fuel efficiency. Don’t forget that in addition to fuel costs, tax and insurance costs can also vary considerably.
What extras does it have
Not the most important thing for me, but there are a couple of things worth considering. The first one is the seats. Leather seats are ideal for kids with spills and stains etc but can lead to an increased purchase price. A cheaper alternative is to opt for a treatment for seats that will help provide a barrier to stains….and smells!
The second extra I would recommend you have at the very least is Bluetooth. Not just for the conventional safety issues around answering phone calls when driving – I never answer calls when the kids are in the car. No, it’s so that you can access the right music! There doesn’t appear to be any child-proofing on the radio these days and additionally if you can control the content by streaming music through a Bluetooth system, you can go a long way to defusing tension – certainly on longer trips.
Know your budget – and stick to it
This one is simple. Don’t let optional extras lure you into paying more. Have a firm monetary amount in mind and don’t break. Its too easy to get carried away with extras that you, your wife or the kids want. Get what you NEED, not necessarily what you WANT.
Don’t rush the decision
The car industry is notoriously pushy, so don’t feel pushed into making any decision. If you need to make a snap decision, then walk away as it is more likely to be the wrong one.
Can you fit everything in?
When you have kids, you have a lot of other ‘Stuff’ to fit in. The amount will vary depending on the journey. We ended up buying a 7 seater to fit six people. This provided the extra room to fit in baby bags etc and whatever other vital accessories (i.e. mobile phones and tablets) that were required for everyday journeys. Since making the purchase, however, we have been fortunate to enjoy a couple of weekend breaks, which have required the installation of a roof box. At £300 or so, this was still a lot cheaper than opting for a bigger car when it is only required a few times a year.
Ok, what colour is it?
I put this in because as trivial as it may sound, you are spending a lot of money on a car that will hopefully last you a long time, you want to feel comfortable. The car that we eventually bought ticked every box above, but I admit I don’t like the colour. I won’t go as far as to provide the details of the car, but it is long and black and if I’m having a bad day reminds me of a hearse! Would I change the car, no, would I have paid an extra couple of hundred pounds for the colour….yes.
They were my 9 things to consider when buying a family car for 6. Do you have anything to add to our list? We would love your opinions.