Our 3 top tips to help you choose the right family car

Top Tip 1 – write a “must have” list

Sit down with a cuppa and make a list of everything you want your car to include. This is what we did originally when we first thought about starting the website. Our list, compared to that of our other halves, was completely different and really highlighted the difference between what mums’ feel is important to that of some dads! If an enormous boot is a top priority, put that down.  You’ll immediately have narrowed down your search. Other priorities might be the number of ISOFIX points, how large the rear bench is (you might need it to accommodate 3 child seats), in-car storage, 360°camera to help with parking. The list goes on. We would even go as far as to say – sit in your current car and write your list!  What has your current car got you couldn’t live without, or what do you desperately want your car to have that would make life easier? I do a lot of long-distance driving to see family and go abroad – storage to accommodate things to keep the kiddies amused and the position of the cupholders was high up on my list! Kates new addition to the family, a lovely labrador named Henry, meant that a huge boot was essential, to provide space for the dog, school bags, football kits, shopping etc.

You’ll also need to consider which fuel type you want. This in itself can be intimidating as it’s such a minefield. What’s the difference between plug-in hybrid, hybrid and electric I hear you cry! In all honesty I didn’t know either until we started the website. This was one of the main reasons we decided to include a glossary on the site, so that all the car jargon is explained in one place. Advice on which fuel type would suit your family is a whole separate entity and for further help with this we’ve written a separate blog.

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Top Tip 2 – take your car seats, prams, pushchairs to the dealerships

The last thing any of us want to do is purchase a car, to then discover it doesn’t work for your family.  With first hand experience of this, I would have appreciated this piece of advice. Buying a large soft top whilst pregnant with my first child was a huge mistake – seriously, what were we thinking???  Not only did we discover getting the car seat in and out was an absolute nightmare, we soon realised that with the boot door being on the small side due to the nature of the car, it meant we also had issues getting the pram in and out. Needless to say, after an expensive lesson learnt, we switched to a hatchback!

As part of the test drive process, Kate and I take a variety of car seats, prams and pushchairs to get a true idea of what will/won’t fit in a car. We’ve never been told we couldn’t do this by the dealerships, in fact although surprised when asked, the sales team encourage us to bring them and even help us get them in and out – anything for a sale!

Don’t be afraid to do the same and take yours with you.

Coco Chanel once said,

“I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.”

Remember this when you’re dealing with the salesman!

Top Tip 3 – Test drive at least 3 family cars

To help you make an informed decision, it really is worth test driving at least 3 family cars. Hatchbacks, saloons, estates, SUVs all have their pros and cons and what will work for one family may not necessarily work for another. You may have decided that a hatchback is the car you want, but having a look at an SUV for example, may confirm this or change your mind. Families with small children often opt for SUVs, as the height allows you to get children in and out of their car seats without having to bend. Families whose priority is a large boot may discover that opting for a 7-seater (even if they’re a family of 4) provides the flexibility to help with car shares and playdates but also ticks the box with a boot that can accommodate everything but the kitchen sink!

Having reviewed over 60 of the best family cars, we’ve discovered that it is not always the most expensive that offer the best practicalities. Take for example the Skoda Kodiaq, it is one of the more affordable large SUVs out there and the glove box doubles up as an in-car fridge – genius! Having something to keep those picnics cool is a great addition on longer journeys and there’s not many family cars out there that include this feature. The BMW X5 has cupholders that at the touch of a button, will keep your water bottle chilled or the baby formula (or your coffee) warm! Such a simple idea and again one that many manufacturers have failed to include – yet essential to some families.

These game changing family features are exciting to discover and by test driving several cars, you’ll really gain a feel for what is right for your family.

Choosing a family car is an expensive decision you don’t want to get wrong. We hope these tips help to make the decision-making process that little bit easier. Kate and I are constantly test driving the best family cars and by having a look at our website alongside following our top tips, we hope you find your perfect family car.

We’d also love to hear if you have discovered any further pieces of advice. You can get in touch with us by dropping us an email at hello@kateandclaire.co.uk

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