[Part One] Buying the perfect family car

This is a two part series, the first of which I will have a look at factors affecting purchasing a car for your family and the second will examine several options that fit the bill.

A picture of a family buying a new car

Buying a new family car is a big task. Lots of different factors to consider. [source: dreamstime.com]

In Australia, there are currently 6 million families with school aged children. Families need to get to places therefore, they need a car. At the moment, we are a two car family however Christine’s car has been riddled with problems and it’s worth two fifths of stuff all, so there isn’t any reason to fix it.

As some people would put it, I drive a woman’s car.  I bought my Ford from John Hughes in Perth, (second hand, which would normally mean it would be a horrible experience) however, it was actually an amazing buying experience. Not only was the buying experience awesome, but so is the Focus. It is small and with three growing girls, it won’t be long before we need a larger car.

Picture this.

You decide to not once, not twice, but three times drive across the country in a car that is made for midgets. Not only is it tiny and when you have 5 people in it, it’s insanely tight and the close proximity of three girls who love to have a whinge (more than the English cricket team), it well…  it drives you up the wall.

So why not sell “Fanny Focus” and buy a bigger car? Good point, except I still owe money on it and we are not in the position to borrow money for a car just yet. Why doesn’t Christine drive it then? Well good citizen, she is as stubborn as a rock and refuses to learn how to drive a manual. Many an argument has been had over this topic. She always wins.

Okay, so what makes a perfect family car then James?

Well first off, it needs to be practical. Practical enough that I can take a sleeping bag and sleep in it if the kids drive me up the wall, or if I’m in the doghouse! I’ve never wanted a family van before, until recently when we hired a Kia Grand Carnival. We had 5 adults and three kids in it and we still had enough room to kick the footy. It’s huge! Drives like a bus but it sat beautifully on the road and was comfortable.

So we’ve got practical as the first requirement. Next in my list of requirements is, budget friendly. Like a lot of families, we are a one income family so we can’t afford to spend $90,000 on a Land Cruiser. I’m not talking just budget friendly in the price tag, but in fuel consumption and service costs as well. Last thing we need is to have a beautiful new car and no money to fill the bugger up!

Practical, budget friendly are the first two requirements in my list and for the third I am going to say, future proof. By future proof I mean that if you choose to/accidentally have more kids in the future, there is room or if you are playing car pool, you can fit other brats in the car. Also, if your kids are getting close to that age where you’ll have the lovely experience of teaching them how to drive, you want a car that is going to be good for them to learn in.

– Practical,

– Budget friendly, and

– Future proof.

As a family man, safety is top priority. So when looking for a suitable family car, a good safety rating is a must. Here in Australia, we use the ANCAP (Australiasian New Car Assessment Program) ratingwhich is determined by an independent vehicle safety advocate. Boldly on their website, ANCAP states “ANCAP recommends 5 star rated vehicles. Accept nothing less”. So I’m going to add the ANCAP safety rating as one of my requirements because when it comes to those little devils, you can never be too safe.

– Practical,

– Budget friendly,

– Future proof, and,

– 5 star ANCAP safety rating.

With these four requirements I am going to begin my search! But before I do, these are a few nice ‘must haves’ in my opinion.

– Cruise control,

– Tow ball,

– Bluetooth, and,

– A proper spare tyre not a space saver.

Now, I also asked my Twitter followers the following question to see if they had similar views when buying a car as me.

 

A couple of my wonderful followers took some time out to answer the question, some seriously and some not so much. Amongst their answers were, bullet proof panels (never know when you’ll find yourself in the hood having a shoot out), boot size (for stuffing bodies in from said shoot out), how easy it is to get the kids in/out and how easy it is getting a double pram in and out (won’t need this when you’re in a shoot out). All relevant answers in my opinion, especially the bullet proof panels! You never know what’ll happen in the future or in the hood.

Everyone is going to have their own requirements when buying a car and that is dependent on their family situation. Obviously a single bloke like Justin Bieber could drive a lambo, hopefully whilst not hyped up on cough syrup.Where as a the Brady bunch would probably need a 12 seater bus. So don’t take my requirements as gospel, adjust them as you see fit to your family’s situation.

But come back next week, where I’ll examine a few cars that I think will fit the bill (for my family) and tick all my boxes . In the mean time, I’d love it if you would sign up to join the Raising3daughters.com family where you’ll receive emails from me each week detailing my top posts and in the future, I’ll work to bring you exclusive content and giveaways.

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What is something you look for when buying a new car? Let me know in the comments below!