What You Need To Know About Buying a Family-Friendly Vehicle
I see myself ten years ago, buying a hunter green 2004 Chevy Cavalier (seems to be a popular make and model amongst us bloggers). An economical choice with no bells or whistles, and the only automatic feature was the transmission. It didn’t matter to me. It was for solo missions. The occasional passenger or two would tease me about the manual locks and windows, but it was comfortable, the gas mileage was good and most importantly, it carried me where I needed to go for 8 years with no problems.
Fast forward to 2012, I’m married with two sons growing their way to the NFL Draft as potential offensive line prospects. Manual locks and small interior and trunk space were no longer ideal for my growing family. The comfort, safety and needs of the clan were more important now. Based on our needs we decided to go with a mid-size SUV. Your family’s needs may be different. Whether you’re looking to go bigger or even downsize, here are a few things to consider before buying.
Usage. How your family plans to use it, will give you a better idea of the type of vehicle you’ll need. For instance, we wanted a vehicle that could accommodate us and all our stuff – sports equipment, bikes, vacation luggage – plus, trips with the in-laws, and the boys’ friends. A mid-size SUV was a perfect fit for us.
Affordability. As with any major purchase, understand how much you can afford. Don’t simply focus on the cost of the vehicle, but also consider the cost of gas, insurance, maintenance, and depending on your state, property taxes. Also, look into your financing options. Compare terms and rates and be sure to get pre-approved before you shop.
Research. Learn as much as you can about the type of vehicle you want before you start shopping.
You’ll save time at the dealership and be less likely make a purchase you’ll regret. Start at sites with helpful pricing and ratings such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, NADA Guides, and Car & Driver. Family and friends are a good source too.
Safety. There’s no doubt…safety is important. As you research, check out safety ratings and sites like the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These sites offer independent crash safety reports as well as information on vehicle recalls.
Style. We needed space, but a minivan or station wagon (yes, they still exist) were out of the question. This narrowed down our options and made our search easier. We went with a vehicle that offered a comfortable ride as well as a nice interior and exterior look and feel.
Deals. Deals. Deals. My wife and I never pay full price. If we can find a discount or a coupon for groceries, clothes or electronics, we’re on it. It was the same for buying our family vehicle. We bought our vehicle at Enterprise Car Sales during a promotion when they covered our first two loan payments.
Getting your family into a new vehicle can be easier and more enjoyable than you’d expect. Take the kids with you and have fun. We took our boys shopping with us and it was a good family experience we will still talk about today.
Do you have tips to share on buying a family vehicle? Leave us a comment below. Looking for a new vehicle for your family? Visit our Auto Center to get started.