image credit, Dodge
When you have kids, usually one of the first things to go is the sporty car. After having babies, most families usually swap one or more than one car out for a bigger, more family friendly version. I drove a mid-sized SUV all through college and it was the perfect size for one or two kids. When we had the third, we needed to upgrade. I got the new car and my poor husband got the old one, which was still in great shape thankfully! We needed something bigger and I wanted three rows of seats to accommodate three car seats.
A families size and situation lends to different car preferences but no matter your families size, there are four factors to consider when shopping for that new family ride.
1. Safety: I don’t even remember if my first car had air bags- and I didn’t care! All’s I knew was that it could take me and my friends to the beach and to Dairy Queen. When we had kids though, all bets were off. Does it have side curtain air bags? Rear view camera? All wheel drive? Four wheel drive? These and more are all things you have to consider when shopping for a new family car. Most families with kids drive a lot, between school, sports and errands, we are spending hours a week in that machine and you want your family to be safe. Do your research before you shop. Dealerships will have information online so you can check between models. Also, many well-known sites will list the most recent safety ratings. Check Edmonds, Kelly Blue Book, and SafeCar.gov are all reliable sites to get credible information.
2. Economy: When upgrading to a new car, budget it key. Obviously you don’t want to choose one that you can’t afford monthly. Having a trade-in or buying used would help save money. Most reliable dealerships only deal with used cars that are “certified”, where the cars they are selling meet a certain set of requirements. Buying used can save you oodles of money in the long run. Don’t just think sticker price, though, think the long term cost: how much is maintenance ? How frequently does routine maintenance need to be done? What about gas mileage? I now have a bigger SUV and it’s decent on gas but still costs more to fill up than most cars, but most of the places I drive to are fairly close so I don’t use too much gas. If you drive far each week for work or kids activates, gas mileage is extremely important. Perhaps going green is the best option for your family, these usually smaller sized cars are amazing on gas and for our environment! Keep all of these long-term costs in mind when making your choice.
3. Size: How many kids do you have? How many to do you plan on having? Are they in car seats? Boosters? Tweens or teens? Most cars list the number of people they are designed to fit, often three to a back seat, but that doesn’t consider car seats. My kids car seats are slightly bigger than the seat, so even though my husbands car fits three people if will not fit three car seats side-by-side. If you have one or two kids, a smaller SUV, crossover or four-door sedan may be a good option. If you have more than two kids, like me, a larger SUV or mini-van may be the best choice. Also think about space in the back. Can it fit a stroller? Does it have space for sports gear? When we purchased my car, we had a 4 and 2 year old and was pregnant with the third. Now we have two kids who play soccer and baseball. Think long term when looking at size, not just your current situation.
4. Special Features: Also known as: the fun stuff!! You will be spending lots of time in your car so you may as well make it as pleasurable as possible! Built in entertainment systems and a satellite radio can make long road trips (or just trips to the grocery store!) go more smoothly. Cup holders and cubbies and help store kids gear or blankets for when naps in the car are on tap. Built in navigation can help moms, like me, who easily get lost and modern technology like built in USB adaptors and AUX adaptors can let you charge your phone or stream the “Teen Beach Movie” soundtrack, when prompted to by your 8 year old. Rear air condition controls can be a life saver during the hot summer months. These, and many more, are just some of the fun features to consider when looking for a new family car.
There are always new technological and safety advancements being made in the car industry. Compare and research before you shop so you are prepared when you enter the dealership. Have a plan going in. While you are there ask as many questions as you can and test drive as many cars as you would like! Remember to choose the best option for your family and your wallet. This article here gives some additional great tips about buying the perfect family car.
What tips and features are important to you when shopping for a new family car? Next year we may upgrade my car, and I already have a long list of what I am looking for!
If you live in Arizona, Earnhardt Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram located in Gilbert, have an amazing selection of cars for all sized families. Check them out online and on facebook! You won’t be disappointed by their selection of new and used cars and friendly staff.
Disclosure: This is a paid sponsored post. All opinions are my own.