9 things to check when buying your new family car!
1. Is it big enough for your carseats?
If you have (or plan to have) three kids under 7 years old you'll need to fit three carseats/boosters in the backseat. Will your new car be wide enough?
Also, consider the length of your car. If you fit a capsule or rear-facing seat in the back, will you have to pull your front seat so far forward that there is no legroom? This is one to think about for any tall members of the family.
2. Where are the carseat anchor points?
Most sedans have the anchor point behind the backseat but vans, hatchbacks and 4WDs can vary in anchor seat position (some are on the car's ceiling, which can obstruct your view). What you don't want though, are anchor points in the boot as the strap will reduce the amount of storage space you need.
3. Will all your things fit?
The best way to make sure your new car has enough space is to take everything you normally fit into your car to the caryard. No point in buying a car then realising your pram doesn't fit in the boot!!
And don't forget that you'll always want to take more! You don't want to find yourself in the shopping centre carpark having to choose between the stroller and the groceries.
4. Is the backseat easy to access?
Cross off anything that doesn't have at least four doors. It is hard enough getting a baby out of its carseat ... you don't want to have to do it over the folded-up front seat of a two-door hatchback!
Also consider the height of the car. Will your back survive years of bending down to get the kids out?
5. Is everyone comfortable?
Check the car's air-conditioning, are there vents into the back seats? Is the back well ventilated (this is particularly important if your little ones are prone to travel sickness). Does everyone fit comfortably or is the driver squished up against the steering wheel and your eight-year-old wedged against the door, pushed out by the two car seats. Consider how comfortable this car would be on a long drive.
6. Is this a safe car?
Check out the car's ANCAP's Safety Rating. The Australasian New Car Assessment Program rates cars according to the level of safety in an accident.
They recommend you steer clear of any car with less than a four-star rating and that you look at built-in safety features such as airbags, antilock braking systems (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC) and set belt pre-tensioners.
7. How fuel-efficient is the new car?
There is no point in spending heaps of money on a lovely car if it is too expensive to fill it with fuel! You can now check fuel-efficiency as all new light vehicles sold in Australia have to display a fuel-consumption rating.
You can also check out the Australian Government's Green Vehicle Guide which rates new Australian vehicles based on greenhouse and air pollution emissions.
8. Does the car have extra features?
There are some extra features that you can look out for when you are buying your new car.
Additional safety features that might be worth considering are, child locks on the doors, rear seatbelt warning devices (to let you know if one of the kids has taken off their seatbelt) and reversing cameras, so you can see exactly what is happening behind you when you reverse.
Other luxury inclusions could be leather seats (much easier to clean than fabric), cupholders, built-in DVD players and other rear-seat entertainment options (individual audio jacks, 12V power outlets etc).
9. Does the car suit you?
Don't forget that even though you have a family you are still you! And your car should be something that you will enjoy driving and be proud to own.
Thanks to all our wonderful Facebook fans who helped compile this article!!
want to know more?
For more articles, local directories of shops and services, checklists, calculators and more visit our...:: family travel info hub