Parents have a host of options at their disposal when the time comes to buy new cars for their families. While dad might have long dreamed of driving the fastest sports car on the market, such a vehicle does not make much practical sense when car trips figure to be made with kids in tow.
Finding the right car for a family depends on a host of factors, as what makes a good vehicle for one family will not always make a great choice for another family right down the street. When choosing a car for their families, parents can consider the following factors to ensure they choose the vehicles that best suit the needs of their broods.
While cost should not be the only consideration when choosing a family vehicle, parents must determine their budget before beginning their search for a new ride. Aside from a home, cars are the most expensive purchase many people will ever make, which only highlights the importance parents must place on finding the right vehicles for their families. Luxury cars, SUVs and sports cars tend to be the most expensive vehicles on the market, and young parents just starting out or parents of school-aged kids with college educations to consider might find that less expensive vehicles make the most practical sense for their families. Parents also must determine if they are financing or leasing their vehicles or buying them outright. Financing and leasing often requires full insurance coverage, which can be pricey, while buying outright affords vehicle owners to choose the level of coverage they are most comfortable with. Determine insurance costs on a given model before driving off the lot with the pedal to the metal.
The size and potential size of the family also must be considered before buying a new car. Kids grow up and get bigger, and parents who want to have more children down the road should consider just how big they want their family to be before buying a new car. Look for a car that not only suits your family now, but one that will cater to your family's needs down the road as well. Overlooking this important factor now may force you to replace the car you ultimately buy sooner than you had hoped.
Safety is the top priority for many parents as they purchase new cars for their families. Look for a car with a high safety rating and a proven track record of ensuring passengers survive accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (www.iihs.org) as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www.nhtsa.gov) test and rate new vehicles for safety, and parents should look up the results of these tests and ratings on any vehicle they are considering purchasing for their families.
Family cars are rarely limited to getting mom or dad to and from work and for trips to the grocery store. Today's kids are more active than ever before, and chances are their schedules are as packed as their parents'. Consider the many chauffeuring trips you will have to make in the years to come, and choose a car that is equipped to handle those trips. Parents who double as soccer coaches may benefit from buying minivans that can easily store all that sports equipment, while those whose children participate in activities that take them far and wide may want a car that's especially fuel efficient.
Luxury vehicles may provide the most comfortable ride, but parents who are not yet ready to go that route need not sacrifice comfort in favor of practicality. Families spend lots of time in their vehicles, and summer vacations or winter holiday road trips are that much more enjoyable when everyone is riding in comfort. While comfort might not be the foremost priority for parents, it is something to consider when buying new family vehicles.