Choosing a family car is a big decision that will impact your daily life. From making sure that your family is safe and comfortable on the road to doing something that will be the best for your budget, there’s a lot to think about. It’s estimated that as of 2022, there are more than 1.446 billion vehicles in the world. Which is right for your family? Fasten your seatbelt as we guide you through nine important considerations.

1. Size and Seating

It should go without saying that you need a car that can fit the whole family. It’s also important to consider family planning and how your family might grow. For instance, you don’t want to purchase a two-row SUV if you may be in need of three rows within a couple of years. Size may become an issue depending on your parking situation at your home.

2. Safety Features

Safety should be a top consideration for family vehicles. It’s well worth the time to not only look up the safety record of potential purchases but also safety features, including airbags, backup cameras, collision warnings, and more. There are some things that may not immediately come to mind, such as insurance policies and coverage options. For instance, a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy would require you to be off work per doctor’s orders for 14 days to trigger wage loss payment. Would this policy be right for you?

3. Storage Space

It’s easy to get caught up with how many people need to fit in the car, and not where all their stuff is going to go. If long road trips are intended, the vehicle will need space for everyone’s belongings. Many modern SUVs and vans come with floor compartments, deep stowage space in the back, and roof rails.

4. Customer Service Experience

There’s no shortage of places where you can buy a car, and your experience with a dealership tells you a lot. This is backed up by the fact that consumers were reportedly more likely to pay more for a better customer service experience at a rate of 86% in 2022. A good experience could indicate more reliable cars, better communication for the duration of warranties and financing, and more help as you have further questions.

5. Fuel Economy

The switch from a one- or two-person car to a family vehicle can hit right in the wallet due to worse fuel efficiency. Family cars vary greatly in fuel economy, and with all the trips to school, soccer games, and grandma’s house, this should be an important purchase factor.

6. Reliability

Nobody wants to spend time without a car while the shop is doing repairs. The reliability of your family car is a critical consideration. Hand-in-hand with this is the fact that some cars are more expensive to maintain than others, due to rarer parts or commonly occurring issues that are unique to that model. Families can’t afford to spend excessive time and money on repairs.

7. Entertainment

If you’re on a long road trip, having things such as a screen for movies for the kids and WiFi connectivity can make all the difference. Time will go by more swiftly and peacefully with these features that don’t always come standard.

8. Budget and Financing

Even if you find a family vehicle that checks all the boxes, you need to make sure that it’s one that you can afford. With this in mind, you should shop at different dealerships and lenders to make sure you get a price and loan you are comfortable with. Keep your eye on changing interest rates and, as cars are a swiftly depreciating asset, be sure to lock in a price that isn’t too much of a burden on your budget.

9. Child-Friendly Features

How easily can your children access heating and cooling and entertainment controls? How easily can you clean up kid messes in the car? Think practically about what it will actually be like to have your family in the car as you consider which vehicle to purchase.

With these nine things in mind, you’re ready to shop for a family car. Good luck in getting the right vehicle for you and your loved ones.