It is estimated that over 93% of US households have access to at least one vehicle, a trend that has been rising in the past decade. America has a high car ownership at 1.95 per household in 2015 according to a University of Michigan report. Whether you’re planning on getting a family car because you’re expecting kids, or you’re exchanging an older model for better mileage, there are important features in a vehicle that you need to look at before parting with your money.
Safety Features And Family Features Are Vital
Putting in DVD players or child seats does not automatically turn a vehicle into a family car. When researching a family vehicle, consider size and safety features such as lane assist, automatic forward and rear braking. A 360-degree camera is also fantastic for ensuring that the environment around your vehicle is free of obstructions, including small children that are too close and who you might not spot easily. Nowadays, some of these features are standard in new purchases. However, by 2022 automatic emergency braking will be standard in new vehicles in the US.
If your teens are going to use your car, the ability to control the vehicle, either through its key or using an app or telematics system, can help you teach kids to develop good driving habits. Some models of cars are fitted with systems that gather speed and hard braking data. Others like the Ford Edge won’t let the stereo on until all the seat belts are fastened, while some cars send you alerts if they are driven above a set speed or brought to another area. This means that if you have caregivers using the family car, it will allow you to monitor where they are.
Equally important is a hands-free cargo door if you have lots of groceries in your hand or are carrying a sleeping toddler. A big cargo space is also ideal to have enough room to stow away strollers, while a high step-in height allows you to get in and out of the vehicle easily.
Budget And Financing
Once you know which features are important to you and the family, it’s time to look at your finances and set a budget that you can realistically afford. Even though you may want all the extras and trimmings of a new vehicle, it may be that a used or certified pre-owned vehicle is more practical.
Don’t forget that you should also include fuel economy, warranty coverage and auto insurance costs in calculating your vehicle purchase budget. If you end up buying a used car that has been modified, check to see if an oil catch can is installed in the car, because this can increase the longevity of the engine. Test driving the car is also as critical as finding the right dealership that can give you a good deal and after sales service.
Buying or replacing a family car can easily turn into a disastrous experience. However, if you’re prepared, know what you need, and make a reasonable budget, the chances of getting a reasonably-priced car are high.