Driving alone and driving with your family alongside you are two very different things. When you’re out on the road all by yourself, all you need your vehicle to do is get you from Point A to Point B safely. When your spouse and children are coming along for the ride, there are a staggering range of additional factors to consider. From comfort levels to concentration, travelling with family is a whole different ball game, and you’ll need a car that can compensate accordingly.
Here, we’ve outlined the five key features you ought to look for when purchasing a family car, as they can help to make each and every ride with your loved ones that little bit easier.
Family travel requires plenty of space – and your vehicle will need to allow for that. Baby seats. Gym clothes. School bags. Work stuff. It all equates to one big mess if you don’t have the room to store it. If your kids are left feeling squashed, there’s a chance World War III could break loose on the backseat as they cry out from discomfort and cause you to get distracted. You certainly don’t want items blocking up your rear window either, as this will obscure your view of anything behind you. The solution is to get a car that’s built specifically with storage space in mind. There’s a huge demand for roomy vehicles in the modern day, so you’ll have plenty on the market to choose from – including cars that come with flat-folding seat rows and extra boot space. When you’re shopping, make sure the front seats have storage options too, as this will allow your partner to quickly access essential items the kids may need (such as tissues or bags) and pass them across with ease. Get a good feel for the family car market by looking around showrooms. Car supermarkets such as Available Car are a great place to start as they usually have a wide variety of stock.
No, it’s true! A car with plenty of cup holders is one that’s ideal for family travel. Not only will you have a safe space to store your coffee to keep you alert, the kids will also have place to stow their water/juice bottles and snacks, ensuring they remain hydrated and healthy on long journeys and preventing you from having to pull over at every single petrol station to appease their thirst and hunger.
Darkened windows in the backseats are a God send for families. Not only will they keep the kids from complaining when the sunlight streams in, they also offer an added element of protection, preventing your children from being harmed by the effects of UV rays if you’ve been driving in the daylight for long periods of time. Be sure to check out the mechanisms of the windows themselves too. If your children are feeling a little nauseous or too hot, being able to open the window easily from your side of the car can help to make them feel a lot better, and prevents them from attempting to crack open the windows themselves – which may lead to disaster.
Entertainment & Tech
A screaming child is one of the worst possible distractions on the road. All it takes is for you to turn around for a split second to scold your troublesome children, and before you know it, everyone inside the car could be in danger. Opting for a vehicle that can accommodate entertainment systems (or has them installed already) is completely worth the money when you’re hunting a family car. DVDs have the ability to keep kids quiet for hours upon end. If possible, check to see if the vehicle has Bluetooth and/or a Wi-Fi hotspot built in, as this will allow you to link up TV shows/movies to the entertainment system if a DVD gets scratched and fails to load correctly. A system with headphone compatibility is also recommended, as this way, you won’t have to be exposed to audio noise coming from the back seat.
Last but certainly not least – you need a car that will keep your family safe in the event of an accident. Vehicles are often put through crash tests to determine how strong they are when they come into contact with a solid surface at high speeds, and subsequently given a safety rating as a result. When you’re shopping for a family vehicle, look for this number right away. Also be sure to check all the background information and history. If a car has had plenty of previous owners or has experienced bumps in the past, the chances are it won’t be quite as tough and resilient as it once was. Opt for a younger model that still has some steel about it. That way, you can help to keep your family protected. Effective child-locks and secure seatbelts are also an absolute must.
Be sure to keep an eye out for all of these features during your search for a family car, and you’ll help to make your road trips memorable for all the right reasons.