What to look for in a family car?

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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, updated on November 25th, 2021       

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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?

Safety first

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.

Storage capacity

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!

Third-row seating

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.

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