Top 5 family car buying tipsOur guide to buying the best car for your family
05 August 2011
Buying a family car isn’t as straightforward as you may think, as the needs of everyone being transported have to be considered. So, to give you a helping hand, Which? Car has devised five top tips for buying a family car.
If you’d like more advice, you can read our full top 10 tips for buying your next family car.
For even more guidance, read all our Buying a car advice
1. Hatchback vs saloon
While in many cases saloon cars look deceptively bigger than hatchbacks, the reality is they are not as flexible.
Hatchbacks tend to have bigger boots than saloons
Loading pushchairs and prams into some saloon boots can be tricky, due to narrow openings and a high load lip. When testing every pushchair, Which? rates each model for how easy it is to fit into the boot of a popular car, so you can find out if your pushchair will fit by reading our pushchair reviews. Alternatively, take your pram or pushchair with you when you view a car to ensure it will fit. Hatchbacks also allow you to transport dogs and other pets while saloons don’t.
Read our pushchair reviews
2. Wide-opening doors
Opting for five doors instead of three is a given, however, make sure the back pair open wide enough for you to install a child car seat and to get younger children in and out of the car. This is especially important if you suffer from a bad back or are over 6ft tall. Wide-opening doors are also practical if you regularly transport adult family members. Sliding rear doors, as found on some MPVs (such as the Ford Grand C-Max and VW Sharan), offer even more convenient access, especially in cramped car-parking spaces.
Isofix mounting points make fitting a child car seat easier
3. Isofix is easier
If you need to fit child car seats, mounting points make this easier, quicker and safer. But make sure these mounting points are easy to access, and take your child car seat along when you view a car to see how easy it is to fit.
Read all our child car seat reviews
4. Look at Euro NCAP ratings
For each potential purchase, check out the NCAP ratings for crash safety and child protection. It’s also worth taking into account pedestrian protection - if this is a car you're likely to use on the school run, do you really want a car that would do someone serious damage if you hit them? That 2.5-tonne SUV might not be ideal...
Get all the latest Euro NCAP scores and videos in our guide
Some cars have underfloor storage compartments
5. Good storage cuts out clutter
Find a car with lots of storage space to house children’s toys, food and drink. Beware of underfloor storage in the rear footwell - this might seem useful to keep the interior clutter free, but it’s not so good if you’re using an Isofix mounted child car seat with a support leg, as the leg cannot stand on top of a hollow storage compartment.
Want more advice? Read the full Top 10 family car buying tips
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