Whether your first is on the way or you’re adding another to the mix, a growing family means change – and not just for you. A new baby is often the jumping off point for conversations about finally upgrading your car, but with so many vehicles on the market, where do you start?
Carbar is here to help. There’s a galaxy of choice out there to suit families of every shape and size, but start your hunt with the following three points and you’ll be off to a great start.
Understanding safety ratings
For every parent, looking for the ‘right’ family car should start with looking for the safest family car. Fortunately for Australian drivers, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) makes it easy. Since 1993, ANCAP has been conducting independent safety testing of new vehicles in Australia, rating them on a scale from zero stars to five stars based on the level of safety they deliver for occupants and pedestrians in the event of a crash.
What most people don’t know is that up until 2018, this testing was only conducted on adult-sized crash dummies, meaning that vehicles weren’t assessed on the level of safety they provided for children. This has since been remedied, with ANCAP now introducing 6-year-old and 10-year-old sized dummies as part of their Child Occupant Protection assessment.
While more stars are always better, it’s vital that parents and parents-to-be look beyond the headline rating into the individual reports. The Child Occupant Protection assessment is graded out of 100 points, testing for a range of factors such as the inclusion of child restraints in the rear seats and the vehicle’s ability to reduce the risk of injury in a frontal offset and side impact test.
Due to how recent this change was, it may be a good idea for parents to consider a more recent car than they perhaps otherwise would. That way, drivers can be certain that they’re getting a vehicle that’s as safe for their little ones as it is for them.
Picking the right size vehicle
Trying to figure out the right size vehicle? Just do a head count and make sure it has that many seats. Easy right? Not quite. While you definitely want to size your new vehicle to your family, it’s about more than just the number of chairs.
First things first, consider your lifestyle. How old are your children – are they teens who can look after themselves or babies who need help getting buckled into a booster seat? Are you always shuttling the kids off to hockey practice or are they the more scholarly type? Do you often end up being the taxi for your children’s social circle? Do you live far away from school and need the comfort of a few extra centimetres of space on a long drive? All of this can affect what you end up driving off the lot.
For families with only one or two kids, you might be able to get away with a modest sedan or hatchback, while parents with more children – and probably fuller schedules – will need the extra seats and appreciate the extra luggage space of an SUV or people-mover. Take the time to think about what your family does, how big it might get and what you’ll need to make getting around simple – that’s your starting point.
Sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference. Just because a vehicle is safe enough and big enough doesn’t mean that it won’t be a pain to drive. After all, driving shouldn’t be a chore – even with all the kids in tow.
To that end, it can be good to have a robust list of ‘nice to haves’ when you go shopping. These are the features whose omission won’t be dealbreakers, but you’ll certainly notice and appreciate if they’re there.
One thing you’ll have to get used to as a new parent is doing everything one handed. Whether you’re balancing baby, carting bags and bags upon bags of luggage into and out of the car or just trying to find that thing you know was there just a second ago, parents all have to master juggling more than just tasks. For that reason, a thing to keep an eye out for when you’re reading up is automatic sliding doors and other one-handed features. Being able to push a button and have a door open, or be able to confidently fold a seat down without having to put everything on the ground to use two hands is a real time-saver.
Even more important is a reversing sensor or camera. No matter how tidy your kids are and how careful you are, it’s likely that at least some point between now and adulthood they’ll leave a bike or a toy in the driveway. Rather than having to dry their tears and run to the store for a replacement, solve the problem before it starts by seeing it before you drive over it.
Beyond that, it’s all about you. Kids fussy on long drives? What about an entertainment system? Making a mess in the back with their drinks? Cup holders will give them somewhere to put it and leather upholstery will resist stains. Once again, these are going to be specific to individual lifestyles and families, but so is everything about car shopping.
A simpler way to get your family around
Getting the perfect car can be a real hassle, but not when you choose Carbar. Our innovative subscription service gives you the pick of a huge range of vehicles of different makes, models and configurations. Browse through hundreds of cars, filter by capacity, features and more and have yours delivered straight to your door.
Best of all, our subscription service takes the fuss and the expense out of ownership. You’ll enjoy exclusive use of the vehicle of your choice for one transparent, fixed weekly cost, inclusive of insurance, registration, servicing and roadside assistance. No late nights comparing insurers, no struggling to book a service around your schedule – sign up to Carbar and we’ll take care of it for you. We’ll even give you a temporary vehicle when yours is in the garage, so you don’t miss a beat.
Keep your life moving the flexible way with Carbar. To learn more about car subscription, browse our range of vehicles or join for free, visit carbar.com.au today.