The 5 features to look for in a family car
We know. It’s not just on the verge of upsetting; it’s well beyond that point smack-bang in the middle of ‘totally devastatingly heartbreaking’ country. You’ve finally reached a point in your life when you’ve gotta trade in your pride and joy. After all the work you’ve had done to it. No longer will the deafening rumble of the exhaust wake up your entire neighbourhood as you arrive home for the evening, nor will your speakers damage your hearing anymore. And say goodbye to speeding tickets.
On second thought, this might actually be a good thing…
You’re getting closer and closer to the due date and becoming a parent. Congratulations! And with so many different things that need to be considered, you might have forgotten that your bored-out, boosted beast is in desperate need to be replaced with something a little bit more baby-friendly.
So what makes a good family car? In this article we skip the BS and give you the straight facts about buying one.
A no-brainer, really. You want to make sure your beautiful new bub is as protected and safe as humanly possible when you’re on the road. Hit up the ANCAP website to do a search for whichever makes and models you’re thinking about buying to confirm they not only have a 5-star ANCAP rating, but also more specifically how they fare in terms of ‘Child Occupant Protection’ (COP). Look for vehicles with ratings of at least 85% in this category.
Additionally, keep an eye out for driver assist features like lane-keeping alert and automatic braking system.
Top-tier family cars are nothing if not practical. What we mean here is that the vehicle needs to be at least somewhat intuitive in terms of keeping up with a family’s needs. This can be in the form of:
Multiple-zone climate control to ensure your kids are content with the temperature where they’re sitting
Plenty of storage spots around them so they can keep toys, pencils, snacks and drink bottles at arm’s reach
Leather seats for easy cleaning of spills (though this can be quite a pricey option - using a waterproof mat can be just as effective if you’d prefer)
Easy access to all necessary controls from the driver’s seat - make sure when you’re sitting behind the wheel in the showroom/on the test drive that you suss out how easy it is to adjust things like climate, volume and other controls you’ll use often while driving
When you go anywhere with a baby or toddler, you’ll be bringing a fair bit of stuff with you like a pram, nappy bag, bottles and fresh clothes (in case of a poonami sitch). And don’t think once they’ve grown past the toddler stage you’re done and dusted with the additional cargo - bikes, sports gear, school stuff… It's a constant battle.
Which means you’ll need ample space to lug it all around with you. Sometimes from the outside a car can look quite sizeable, but when you open up the boot it’s surprisingly underwhelming. Where possible, bring all the gear you’ll commonly be taking along for the ride to the dealership and see how it all fits. This includes the child seat, too.
Reasonable space doesn’t start and stop with the boot, though. Sit in the driver’s and passenger’s seat, sliding them back to where they’ll be, and then hop into the back to see how much legroom is in the back seats.
Useful tech & features
There’s a lot of tech you can get in vehicles these days that will make your life a helluva lot easier, such as:
Keyless entry, especially with smart key fobs which you don’t even need to take out of your pocket, can be an absolute lifesaver when you’re carrying a bunch of shopping and/or a sleeping baby in your arms
Gesture tailgate open, offered in quite a few cars these days, is another great feature when you have your hands full - just wave your foot under the rear bumper and open sesame!
Reverse cameras and parking sensors provide an amazing amount of assistance when you need to squeeze into an otherwise impossibly tight spot when you’re out and about (we definitely reckon they’re making the spots smaller these days!)
While it’s important to limit screen time, during long road trips a couple of rear entertainment screens can provide a little bit of quiet time for everyone
It’s all well and good to find a good family vehicle that ticks all of the boxes, but if it’s priced at $120,000+ (looking at you, LC 200 Series Sahara) and you’re budgeting for half that, it’s time to reconsider your options. If you have a family car in mind, find out what your monthly repayments could be using the Stratton Finance (our industry partners) free car finance calculator.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, here are a few of our top family car recommendations (in no particular order) including their starting prices:
Toyota RAV4 ($31,695*)
Mazda CX-8 ($43,490*) - we're experts at finding great Mazda deals!
Subaru Forester ($40,668*)
Ford Escape ($40,465*)
Mitsubishi Outlander ($30,490*)
Honda CR-V ($35,300*)
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We tap into our extensive network of dealers right across Australia to request their best prices, doing all of the annoying legwork for you while you can focus on the more important things in life. Then it’s simply a matter of choosing which price you’re happiest with and making payment, and we’ll even arrange for it to be delivered directly to you. So what are you waiting for? Search for your new car today!
Thinking of getting finance? Have a chat with the friendly folks at Stratton Finance. They have a huge amount of knowledge and experience in the car financing industry and will go above and beyond to secure you the most incredible financing deal available.