In many ways, the family car is just as much as part of the family as the kids, the dog or the pet fish. Many of us can’t imagine life without it. Since it’s so vital to a modern family, it’s important we pick the right kind of features. Safety, comfort, storage – we have to get it right the first time. So what are the most important features in a family car that you should look out for?
If a family car doesn’t have the highest safety rating out there, is it safe at all? Your car should have a five-star ANCAP safety rating, which includes ABS, traction control, lane-keeping assist, emergency braking, reversing cameras and proximity sensors. It should have wall-to-wall airbags, too.
Comfort a close second
On longer trips, comfort is an essential part of the experience. An easy-to-clean trim goes a long way (kids + time = mess), as do the contour of the seats. Family cars should also include rear climate control to keep everyone happy, plus sunshades to protect younger children from the harsh effects of the sun.
If your car can’t handle the shopping, it’s not going to handle the extra nappies, pushers, sports bags, bikes and other stuff kids’ need, as they’re young and growing up. Cup holders and extra storage bins can also come in handy.
Entertainment bells and whistles
Your kid doesn’t know a world without smartphones and tablets so you have to get the entertainment options right. At the bare minimum, your car should have 12V USB power connectors to keep devices topped up at all times. Other cars have functional entertainment systems supporting DVDs and app support. Perfect for long-haul trips!
If you intend to grow your family, third-row seating is necessary – which is great when it’s your turn to drive the kids to ballet or cricket. When the third row isn’t in play, you can usually fold it down for extra storage space.
Other mod cons
Conversation mirrors – mirrors that allow you to talk to your kids in the back – are fast becoming a popular option for families, especially if you need to monitor sibling behaviour. Other mod cons are seat back folding tables (just like an aeroplane) and a powered lift gate, so loading and unloading groceries or school bags becomes just that extra bit easier.