Prior to having children our needs were far different, holidays could be taken last minute with no thoughts of school holidays, we would think nothing of going out on a Friday night with friends and partying into the early hours and then sleeping all day on Saturday, eating out all the time was an option and our cars were purchased just because we liked them!
Paul was a bit of a boy racer and loved his Saxo, while as I worked as a Nanny for 3 and a half days a week I did need something more practical but I did go for something I had always wanted – a Landrover, it was actually very practical as I worked in a rural village which flooded often and when it snowed was almost impassable in places.
When our children came along we were down to just the one car as I was at home with the children and walked everywhere, it made no sense to have two cars.
Only last year we decided it was time for a new car, one which met all our family needs:
- Big enough for 2 car seats
- A large boot which can fit Barney in, suitcases and the kids bikes if we went on a bike ride
- We wanted a build-in Sat Nav and Bluetooth for our phones
- Wanted something new with as many mod-cons as we could afford
- Leather seats for easy wiping down
- Extra leg room in the back as Paul has his seat all the way back due to being tall and the kids get squashed otherwise
Luckily we didn’t have the worry of needing to fit in a buggy any more but while we looked around at showrooms and online at sites such as Unbeatablecar I asked a few others what they looked for when buying a family car.
“We just needed something that we could get two normal car seats and a booster seat in. We also needed a big boot having three kids and one in a pram still, so we bought a Vauxhall Zafira. It was 15 years old when we bought in in May 2015, £600 and still going strong. It’s been the perfect car for us.” Rachel – Coffeecakeskids.com
“5 doors… FIVE DOOR!! can’t say it enough! For years we struggled with a 3 door car and it was just a total nightmare with kids so if you can spare the cash then pay a bit more for a 5 door car as it will pay off for you in the end” Jon – Blog.themoneyshed.co.uk
Sarah: “We have three children, all in car seats so it was important that we could fit all three seats in the back. We purchased a seven seater car so that we would still be able to take friends and family with us on days out. So a versatile car is a must for family life” Sarah – Boorooandtiggertoo.com
“5 doors were a must for us. Second thing was boot space, babies come with a lot of baggage so a big boot was essential. But I didn’t want a car that was too big or clunky. We went for a Mercedes GLA in the end and it’s perfect for our family of 3” – Jo – Miraclemax.co.uk
“We have a Citroën C4 Picasso and the main selling point was the 3 separate seats in the back. Having 3 kids meant we could comfortably fit 3 car seats with the isofix fittings. Not many cars offered this feature so this was the car we specifically searched for, plus the boot space is huge” Liz – Hartofthemunchkinpatch.co.uk
“I wanted a car that doesn’t scream “family coming!” so have a Volkswagen Golf. It’s a nice, normal sized car that isn’t too large when I’m on my own (very rare) but still holds all three children, a buggy and shopping in the boot and a husband in the front. I love it. I don’t like “family cars” and wanted to retain a bit of individual choice. I wasn’t willing to buy a car I felt wasn’t attractive or “me” just because I had children. Before this, I had a Mini for the same reasons – only changed it when my third child was about six months old because it was just too small. The Golf doesn’t feel ridiculously bus-like and still nips about the roads” Alice – Livingwithajude.co.uk
“We have seven children, the only one big enough is a Ford Tourneo (basically a transit with seats and windows!) our next choice is an actual minibus! We had no particular requirements, other than to be able to fit nine people in!” Mandi – Hexmumblog.com
“We picked our car based on its safety ratings, we also paid extra to have airbags fitted in the back so it was even safer for the boys, we have a Skoda Octavia” Karen – Thereluctanttraveller.com
It seems we really weren’t alone in our requirements and boot space and car seat options were the forefront of most family decisions when it came to looking for new family cars, of course when looking at secondhand cars you should check to see when the MOT is due.
We decided to actually go down the lease hire route in the end and last August took delivery of a brand new Nissan Insignia which is perfect for all our family needs – well we can’t easily fit in 3 car seats in the back which is the only niggle but having only two children with no plans for anymore it’s not often a problem and a tight squeeze can be managed for short journeys.
What did you look for when purchasing your new family car?
“This is a collaborative post”