Families never travel light. Toys, gadgets, food, clothes, spare everything - there’s so much to pack...and that’s even before the children.  But while space must be the number one requirement when buying a family car, there are many more things to consider:

Safety First

The well-being of the passengers is no doubt top of anyone’s list when shopping for a family car. The Euro NCAP rating is a good indication of the safety features of any vehicle.  This is awarded following a series of tests based on real life accident scenarios - the more stars, the better the car will have performed in the trials.

Other things to look at are whether airbags can be turned off when a child seat is placed in the front passenger seat; isofix points and removable headrests for easy child seat fitting; and limited rear window opening to prevent escaping children and trapped fingers.

Stick the boot in

Hatchbacks and estates provide more flexibility when it comes to loading than saloons, which are often restricted by narrow boot openings.  

When transporting a pram, the more room for manoeuvre, the better. And if you are thinking of bringing your furry friend with you, take a moment to consider whether a pet cage will fit in the boot, as the sloped roof of a hatchback won’t accommodate a square cage.

Show them the door

Obviously, 5 doors are better than 3, if  only for ease of access to rear seats. Several car models have sliding doors, useful for preventing trapped fingers as well as making it easy to get in and out in tight spaces such as car parks.  Wide door openings will also assist with the installation of car seats and the (un)loading of tiny tots.

To MPV or not to MPV?

When looking at the wide choice of family cars available, you will need to think about the number of seats you need.  7-seater MPVs tend to have a larger boot capacity, but only when the extra seats are folded down.  

Otherwise, the boot can be snug to say the least, so consider whether a 7-seater will suffice or if something bigger would better suit your luggage requirements, like a minivan.  Also be aware that the 2 rear seats in a 7-seater car will have limited legroom and possibly difficult access, making them unsuitable for older children, adults or the infirm.  

On the plus side, however, MPVs do tend to have a higher seating position in the rear of the vehicle, providing a better view for your little people  and a chance for them to take part in those car spotting games rather than staring at the back of the seat in front.

Contain the Clutter

Basically, the more storage, the merrier. Cup holders are a must, both in the rear and front of the vehicle in order to prevent a mocha mess or a fruit juice fiasco.

Think about accessible storage, such as back of the seat and inside door pockets for colouring books, games, etc, that can be reached while travelling, and storage that you’d rather the little people can’t reach while in transit, such as underfloor cubbyholes.  All of these help to keep your car a little more organised.  

Get Barred

When you’ve run out of room on the inside, the only option is to look at storage outside of the vehicle.  So whether you are thinking of fixing bars to carry a roof box or fitting a bike carrier on the rear of your car, make sure you look at the practicalities before buying.  For example, the addition of a roof box might make your vehicle exceed certain height restrictions and some bike carriers cannot be fitted to cars with spoilers.

Charging points

WIth most kids being unable to leave the house without some kind of electronic gadget, charging points can be crucial during long journeys in order to prevent kiddie meltdown. And if your car doesn’t come with a built in DVD player, in-car chargers are necessary so that you can play their favourite film over and over and over...and over again.

Power points are also helpful to charge your own phone and/or sat nav in order to keep you on track while travelling.

Clean Easy

Those with mucky monkeys and hairy pets will appreciate any features that will assist in keeping the inside of a vehicle clean.

Whether it be wipeable upholstery (leather may seem like a luxury but is in fact very practical), floor mats (which are often not included with the car) or cup holders (see above), every little thing can help to minimise the damage that your brood can cause enroute.  

While not every car will have all of these features, you can make a decision based on what is most important to you and your family for hours of happy motoring.

To find the right car for you and your family, why not pay a visit to Motor Range’s Liverpool showroom?