When you’re single, buying a new car can feel like an adventure (albeit an expensive one). But when you need a new car for your family, you might be less concerned about the sound system and more worried about the vehicle safety rating. With over 16,500 franchised dealerships selling 17.22 million vehicles nationwide in 2018, there’ll be no shortage of makes and models for you to choose from. But in order to stay focused and pick the right car for your household, you’ll need to keep some specific considerations in mind. Here are just a handful of family-friendly features you’ll want to prioritize when it comes time to purchase a new vehicle.

Safety

For parents, safety is always the top priority. After all, you’d do pretty much anything to protect your children. And since there are around 6 million car accidents that take place each year across the country, it’s essential that you pick an automobile that will take care of your most precious cargo. Be sure to examine the vehicles with the highest safety ratings and to look for features like collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, braking assistance, back-up cameras, and side-impact airbags.

Capacity

Aside from satisfying your safety requirements, your new car will also need to feasibly hold all necessary passengers (and then some). While you might not be transporting people outside your immediate family right now due to health and safety concerns, don’t forget that the pandemic won’t last forever. And in the meantime, you’ll want to have ample space for everyone and everything. If you have more than two children or plan on expanding your family in the future, it might be worth looking at a larger model with more seating. Don’t forget that you’ll want enough space to store everything from luggage to outdoor gear. Cars that offer expandable storage are often the most versatile and streamlined, but you’ll want to be sure that the model you pick won’t make your passengers feel restricted or force you to travel with two vehicles for big trips.

Maintenance

Simply put, some cars require more upkeep than others. You should do your research to learn which makes and models are least likely to require a lot of tune-ups and part replacement. You’ll also want to prioritize the vehicles that are easy to clean. Since kids make a lot of messes, you won’t want to deal with fabric seats that easily become stained or a car with hard-to-reach crevices. The aim of the game is to make caring for your car as easy as possible. After all, you have enough on your hands as it is.

Costs

Although cost shouldn’t be the only consideration when choosing a family-friendly car, it’s natural that it will factor into your decision. And while the sticker price is important, you can’t afford to forget about the other costs of vehicle ownership. Since U.S. drivers account for 44% of the world’s gasoline consumption, it makes sense that you’d want to choose a car that offers superior fuel economy. The less time and money spent at gas stations, the better. You may also want to research insurance costs and figure out what you can afford to spend on car payments each month, as well. Extending the terms of your loan may make this more affordable for your family, but resist the temptation to spend beyond your means in order to get all the bells and whistles. Chances are, you can make do if you keep all of the other features listed above in mind.

Buying a new car can be overwhelming, no matter the circumstances. But by keeping these priorities in mind, you’ll have a game plan when you walk into the dealership or when you search online for a vehicle.

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