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How to Choose a Family Car

Don't miss a thing

By Al Ferguson

Al Ferguson is the CEO and founder of The Dadsnet.

Published on 20/12/2014


It was 1800 hrs and the moment will never leave me! He squinted in the evening sunlight; the first sunlight he’d ever seen as I carried him out to the car. I delicately placed his precious new born body into the car seat and buckled him in meticulously. His tiny frame was swamped by the protection around him. I carefully closed the door so I didn’t startle him and started the engine. Precariously, I pulled out of the hospital car park and began the 5 minute journey home. I have never felt so scared and powerful. This brand new life had been strapped into a dangerous machine and I was running the gauntlet of the roads to take him home.

My speed never reached above 30 mph and I strained my neck checking my blind spots over and over again. That journey has changed the way I drive forever. No more screeching round corners on 2 wheels, no more ‘boy racing,’ no more ignoring of speed bumps and certainly no more dubious over-taking. Now when I’m driving, I’m either carrying the most precious cargo possible or I’m desperate to get back to that same precious cargo in one piece.

This new found mentality also infiltrates other areas of motoring; what family car to choose and maintaining that car to be road worthy for example. Even if there’s a hint that the tyres are wearing out, I want to get them changed. And now my mind is on a car that isn’t too low to lift the car seat into or isn’t to high for a child to climb in to. The whole parameters of motoring have changed now there’s more than just myself to consider.

So when it comes to choosing a new car the usual check list has gone out the window. 0-60 speed, low trim, loud exhaust, top speed, alloys or can you fit the golf clubs in it? All of these are now, frustratingly, irrelevant. The things I would look for now are far more practical:

# Isofix fixings

# Wide opening doors

# Large boots (for a pushchair)

# Good storage

# Can you switch off the passenger airbag?

# Dark coloured interior to hide the stains

# Tinted windows to limit sun exposure

# Built in entertainment (DVD players?)

# Safety features

# Reliability

This is just an example of some of the things that I will now be looking for. It also raises the debate about buying a brand new car or a used car. I don’t think I will ever own a brand new car down to the pure factor of finance but I wonder if there’s a part of me that see’s a brand new car as more reliable and safer. However, car manufacturers are actually promoting their ‘used car’ departments and I think this is a positive sign for families. Manufacturers have realised that many families haven’t got the money to fork out for a brand new car and so they’re working hard to turn around used cars and make them competitively priced whilst being top notch condition. Browse BMW’s for sale on the used car website for some examples of the potential out there. BMW have an excellent scheme in place for their used cars, labelling them; ‘much more than a used car.’ They offer 12 month unlimited mileage warranty, 12 month BMW roadside assistance, over 120 individual vehicle checks and 12 month MOT cover. Each car has been approved via a comprehensive vehicle inspection and full on-road testing.

In my mind, used cars are the way forward and as long as I’ve got my brand new ‘dad’ check list to go by, I’m sure it’s easier than ever before to get a quality car.


*This was a sponsored post




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