Buying a family car is one of the first things you do when you’re having a baby. You want the safest vehicle on the market, but you also want a vehicle that meets your other wants and needs as well. One that’s the right size, one with all the right features, and you certainly want a vehicle that fits your family’s budget. It’s a little overwhelming trying to decide what you want and how to get it, so let these tips help you find the perfect family car.
Create A Budget
You cannot shop adequately for a safe family car without first creating a budget. This helps you determine whether you can afford a new car or a used one, a luxury car or a budget-friendly car, an SUV or a sedan. This is important, and it’s the first step you must take when you are shopping for a safe family vehicle. You cannot choose the safest car in your class if you don’t know what you can afford to spend.
Decide What You Want
Now it’s time to figure out what you want. Do you want an SUV or a sedan, a full-size or a crossover, a luxury vehicle or a budget vehicle? Do you want leather seats and a sunroof, or a DVD player in the back, and all the upgrades? You should make a list of what you want versus what you need so you know what to look for when you shop.
Now that you know what you can afford and what you want, it’s time to read the reviews on different vehicles in that class. For example, if you decide you want a midsize crossover SUV, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates all vehicles in that class based on their safety features. Check them out to see how each car you’re looking at in that class ranked as far as safety features and reviews.
Read Crash Tests
Crash tests are important because they tell you what you really want to know. How well does a car perform in a crash that might happen to you and your family? Will you be safe, did the car do well, or did the car experience more damage than you care to admit? You should read the crash tests to see which vehicle did well in your class.
Check for Seatbelt LATCH Reviews
The IIHS also provides LATCH ratings on all vehicles they crash test. This is what you use to secure your children into the car with their car seats, so you want to know if they’re easy to us. A difficult to use LATCH system might increase your risk of injury if you cannot use it correctly because it’s difficult. You want to find a car with a LATCH that’s rated well and easy to use.
Test Drive Vehicles
Don’t buy a car without first driving it. It doesn’t matter if it’s brand-new and you’re not worried it doesn’t drive well. Do not buy a car without driving it. If you get in and you’re uncomfortable with it, it’s not safe for you to drive it every day. You need to drive a car you feel good in.
Find Your Own Financing
Don’t go through dealer financing. You’ll get lower rates and a better term by calling your bank, your local credit union, or another lender. Take your financing with you to make the entire process easier and more affordable.
Take Your Family With You
Before you go buy your new car, take the family with you. Buckle in the car seats. Put the stroller in the trunk. Drive around. See if the kids like it, if you all fit, and if it works for your needs. If it doesn’t, keep looking. If it does, you’ve found your next vehicle.
Go With Your Gut
Your gut might tell you what you want and what you don’t want. Just because a car has great ratings doesn’t mean it’s the right car for you. You might feel more comfortable driving another car, and that’s something your gut will tell you. You’re almost always safer when you’re driving something you’re comfortable in. Go with your instinct.
Finding the safest family car is an individual experience. Some vehicles are safer than others, but some families have different needs. It’s time for you to find out what you need, what you want, what you can afford, and what makes your family feel safer. That’s how you shop for a safe family vehicle.