When TV personality and racing driver Rebecca Jackson fell pregnant with twins last year, purchasing a new car for her expanding family was top of her priority list. Now, to help parents choose the best car for their family, she offers her top tips for buying a new or used family vehicle.
- Set your budget before you search. It’s easy to get carried away, so understand exactly what you can afford – either upfront, or on a monthly basis. It’s also important to know how you want to finance the purchase – cash, bank loan or dealer finance.
- When you test drive the car, think about the all-round visibility and how easy it is to drive and manoeuvre. Remember it can be distracting travelling with kids, so you want to make sure as much of your attention as possible is on the road ahead.
- How many child seats do you need to fit in the car? If you need three, do you need to consider a seven-seater? Some cars allow three seats across the second row, but it depends on the size of your car seats. Dealers won’t mind if you take them with you and test where they fit. It’s also worth taking the kids with you on a second viewing if you can, and test how easy it is to buckle them all in. If you need to lift a heavy toddler into a middle seat you may want to rethink!
- If your children are young or particularly messy, consider leather seats. They are so much easier to clean and if anyone gets car sick you don’t need to worry about getting the smell out of the fabric.
- Some small babies don’t like being in cars. Could you sit comfortably in the back with them should you need to?
- If you have multiple children, you might want to consider sliding doors – some even open via a remote button! Could keyless entry or an automatic boot make your life easier?
- What about the boot size? Can you fit a pushchair alongside a full weekly shop from the supermarket? It’s worth taking your pushchair with you to check it fits easily.
- Do you intend to sell the car on in a few years’ time? If so, make sure you choose a car with good residual values and a specification that will appeal to other buyers.
- Don’t forget to think about running costs – you don’t want a shock when it comes to tax and insurance. Consider the car’s annual servicing costs and, if you live in a low emissions zone, whether you’ll need to pay charges for that.
- Finally, check the EURO NCAP ratings for safety. Protecting your family is always the number one priority!
“Buying a new car,” Rebecca Jackson said, “should be fun! I really enjoyed choosing the car for my new life with the babies. Being a mummy is the most rewarding job in the world, but we all know how crazy life can get. So, anything we can do to help reduce the pressure is a life saver in my book!”