Buy a Good Family Car

Families have many options when it comes to buying a car. There are station wagons that have been updated to look stylish and fun, minivans equipped with DVD players and extra storage and passenger cars that provide clips on the seats to make loading children and their car seats more seamless than before. When it comes to choosing cars, all families and family members have different tastes. Some people look for size and others want safety to come first. Buy a good family car by researching all of your options, and considering your budget, driving habits and lifestyle.


  1. Set a budget. Decide how much you are willing to spend before you go car shopping.
    • Include in your budget how much of a down payment you will make, and what you can afford in a car payment each month.
  2. Decide between new and used. Most car dealers will have new cars and pre-owned models to offer.
    • Choose a used car if you want a specific make or model, and you cannot afford a new one. Look for low mileage, ask about its accident history and inquire about how many owners the car has had.
    • Buy a new car if you would prefer something without a history. Look at models that are within your budget.
  3. Look for safety features. Safety is important when shopping for a reliable family car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides 5-star ratings on all cars on the market.
    • Look for information on crash tests. The NHTSA maintains information on the crash tests they perform. Check and click on the 5 Star Safety Rating tab. The higher number of stars, the safer the car.
    • Check rollover statistics for the car you are considering. This information can also be found on Click on the 5 Star Safety Rating tab.
    • Research other safety features the NHTSA points out. Each car is tested on child safety, airbags, technology and tires.
  4. Buy an appropriate size. If you have a large family, you may want to consider a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), a minivan or a station wagon. If your family is smaller, a passenger sedan may do.
    • Make sure there is adequate leg room in the back if you have older children, or you will be driving other adults around in the family car.
  5. Consider who will drive the car. If you have teenagers who will be using the car, or if you plan to share it with your spouse, find something that everyone will be comfortable driving.
    • Consider also who will be driving in the car. If you have children in car seats or booster seats, make sure the back seat can accommodate them.
    • Check for side airbags before installing car seats in your family car. They can be dangerous to small children sitting next to the doors.
  6. Think about cleaning and maintenance. Small children can make messes in the back seat. Leather seats are easier to clean than fabric seats, and look for dark colors that will not easily show stains.
  7. Consider additional features that the family will need. Satellite radio might be necessary so everyone can listen to the music they like. Look for DVD players in the backseats to keep kids busy on long car rides.
  8. Read reviews and ratings., Consumer Reports and automobile magazines such as Car and Driver and Motor Trends publish reviews on all sorts of cars, including family cars. Gather as much information on you can before you buy.


  • Use a dealer you have worked with before. Someone who knows you and your family will be able to make good recommendations on what will work for your driving habits and lifestyle.


  • Avoid cars that are not family-friendly. While convertibles and two-seater sports cars can be fun, you will need to make some sacrifices to find a good family car that is safe and reliable. Choose a car with at least 4 doors so getting in and out is not difficult.

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