10 Things to consider when buying a new or used family car.

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Here are 10 Things for you to consider when buying a new or used Family car.

So you are thinking of purchasing a new car for the family or you are an expectant parent and doing some research into a family car that will suit your needs.

There can be a lot to consider when looking to purchase a new family car. So in this post we will delve into it and look into 10 things to consider when purchasing a Family Car.

10 Things to Consider when purchasing a Family Car.

When we look into a new car, it can be pretty daunting. We all have likes and dislikes when it relates to cars. I know me and my other half Sarah do, and when buying a Car we look for different things, whether they are options with the spec or the styling, even down to safety aspects.

To help you find the Best Family Car that will benefit you and your family and your needs.

Here are the 10 Things to Consider when Purchasing a family car.

  1. Budget – this will not just be for the purchase. But we will cover other aspects such as annual servicing, Insurance and running costs.
  2. Fuel Type – This can be an important one to find the best family car for your needs. whether it is Petrol, Diesel or even Hybrid (that depends on your Budget).
  3. Seating – This will cover what your needs from a family car will be, if you are a large family then you may require a large family SUV or MPV or if you are a small family then you may only need a small Hatchback or Estate car. This also stems to what else you will be using your family car for.
  4. Safety – When we are transporting our families, we want to know that if something unexpected does happen we know they will be safe.
  5. Finance – This comes down to the budget, how you will finance the cost for your new family car.
  6. Consider more than one car – This may actually seem more feasible depending on what your uses will be.
  7. Interior Trim – One thing not a lot of us Parents would consider when purchasing a new car. If the car inside is suitable for our family and children’s needs.
  8. Visibility – Quite an important one, we want to check that we can See clearly from various angles within the car.
  9. History – It is always best, especially if your looking to purchase a used family car, whether it is from a used car dealer or a private seller. We want to see the Cars history, reciepts of previous work and servicing.
  10. Optional Extras – You cant really be too expectant of this with purchasing a used car, you may find one that has the options you want and that would be a great benefit to your family’s use. More for Optimising your new car to your family’s needs if you are buying a family car new for the dealer.

So there we have them, 10 Things to consider when purchasing a family car. Read on below and we will look into these with deeper thought to help you find the best family car to suit your needs.


Set out a budget for purchasing your family car. Remember to also include running costs, servicing and maintenance as well as insurance costs.
Set out a Budget for your Family Car – Pic source Unsplash

Firstly we are onto Budget, before we start looking into the various makes and models that are available in the market. This is where we will get sensible and adult like. We want to get down on paper your budget, we want as much detail as possible here.

If you have a current car, we need to get a realistic estimate of it’s current value, once you know how much your car is worth then work out how much you will want to add on top towards the overall price of the new car. Remember though, you are more than likely going to expect to get less for your current car if you are to trade it in. If sold privately you can expect more, it’s just the time it will take to sell.

We also want to consider other running costs, such check road tax, Insurance premiums, you can do this by getting a car insurance quote. The scheduled servicing costs and average your monthly mileage so you can estimate your Fuel costs. Basically this is like a safety net when purchasing a new or used car. Saves you investing the majority if not all of your disposable income on a certain family car that in reality you cannot afford to run or maintain it.

Fuel Type

With the planned usage of your family car, School runs and low mileage distances. Would you rather have petrol diesel or if the budget allows it a hybrid.
Which fuel type would suit you best for the type of usage your family car will have? – pic source unsplash

Households all use their cars for different reasons, so have a think about how you will use yours. Will you primarily be using it for round town bimbles and school runs. If so it may be a good reason to steer away from a Diesel, no pun intended by the way. A diesel car doesn’t suit low speed driving over short distances and could result in potentially large maintenance bills. In this instance you may be best sticking with a petrol car, or if the budget allows it you could opt for a Hybrid vehicle.

If you are going to be using your new family car for family use as well as commuting for work and are going to be covering a higher annual mileage then a Diesel may well be the best option as it will help you save money by reducing your fuel bills. Being more economical MPG (Miles Per Gallon) than the common petrol models available.


Would the potential family car have the seating and other space that you would require.
Seating – Would there be enough space to fit your requirements from a family car. – pic source shutterstock

When it comes to the seating and the general size of your family car you will be requiring all comes down to how many children you have. You dont want be going for a small three door hatchback when you have to attempt to shoehorn three children in car seats into the minute rear bench seating and attempt to squeeze a travel system within the confines of the boot.

Some of the range of hatchbacks available on the car market will certainly cater for your family’s needs if you have 2 children. If you say have three or more children you may want to look more into the larger family cars available such as Estate cars, MPV (multi purpose vehicles) or even SUV’s (Sports Utility Vehicle).

These all seem to offer varying benefits whether it is seating space or Storage and Luggage capacity. One thing to look for also with seating is your child’s safety seat. It could be a Booster seat or a full car seat. You want your child to be safe within your new family car. Isofix points are an essential part of safety when it comes to children’s car seats. I will cover more on Isofix when we cover the Safety side to this post.


Finding a used car with a great safety rating is not only important for you but your family also.
The safety of your family car is immensely important. – pic source shutterstock

One thing we don’t want to do when purchasing a new or used family car is to scrimp on the safety equipment. Do a bit of research on the models beforehand if you have some in mind, check the standard safety equipment they come with. If your venturing for a New car from a dealer then take a look at what it comes with as standard but also what extra safety options there is on the list.

It would also be useful to check out the Euro N-Cap Safety Rating Website to take a look at any prospective model you may be looking to purchase.

Another aspect of safety and something I look for myself in possible family cars is Isofix points on the rear seats. Makes it easier to put your child’s safety seats into the car but also is safer than having them secured by a seat-belt.


How would you finance your new car? Would you use money that has been saved, PCP finance or a bank loan.
How would you finance your New Car Purchase. – Pic source shutterstock

Now for the Finance. When considering your potential purchase of a new car it’s time to decide how you are going to finance the purchase. Have you saved up a lump sum, are you considering a bank loan. Possibly PCP finance (personal contract plan), a form of hire purchase.

It would be where you pay a deposit, then you would follow with fixed monthly payments for an agreed upon time frame. Then, at the end of the agreement you would either pay a lump sum to own the car. Give the car back or you could use equity remaining in the car to roll over to a new car on another PCP agreement. You may want to do more research with this, especially for the possible resale values of the vehicle at the end of the term agreement. You want to minimise the possibility of coming to the end of an agreement and having no way of funding another deposit for a new vehicle.

Consider More Than One Car

Maybe you might want to consider more than once car. A used car for commuting and  leaving the family car for family trips and use.
Maybe consider more than one car. – Pic source shutterstock

It is so easy to become caught up in the process of trying to find the best family car, one that will be used to fulfil many roles in your family life. The solution though might be to have more than one Car.

A main family car for the school runs and pottering around, day trips out, holidays etc…

Meanwhile you could be using something better-suited to long distance driving if you may have a lengthy commute every day. It may be worthwhile buying a cheap daily hack, a used car, petrol/diesel just for work and the commute, depending on the mileage and distance you may travel.

Interior Trim

Take into consideration the interior trim. Is it going to be practical for your family. Remember the snacks and drinks consumed in the family car on holiday, the mess may not be as easy to clean as some.
Consider the Interior Trim, is it going to suit your family? – Pic source shutterstock

Something some of us parents may not always take into consideration when buying a car is if the interior trim is suitable for their family life.

The younger children especially, Babies, toddlers or even pre teen and teens. I don’t need to tell you,absolutely messy. And they make it their biggest achievement to do it in your car. Where there is a constant demand for drinks and snacks.

You know passing the golden arches and the pestering for a mcflurry or a milkshake, even a happy meal maybe. Never mind the potential for crayons and marker screwed up bits of scrap paper from their latest artistic fail on the long drive to visit granny! This is why i would advise you to if possible go for a car with a dark upholstery. Leather trim is tempting as it’s easy to clean, too.


Another important thing to mention and consider is the Visibility throughout your possible family car. Out the windows and mirrors.
The all round Visibility. – Pic source shutterstock

Here i wanted to pass over the visibility. It’s important that the driver of the car can get a good view all around the car through the windows and mirrors. But also being comfortable too. Make sure you have good visibility in any potential family car you’re considering buying.

It’s imperative for parking and for safety in built up areas, towns, cities ad residential areas. Places where there may be other family’s and children playing and also for keeping an eye on what your own children are up to in the backseat.


It is very important to check a vehicles history especially when purchasing a used car.
A big important thing to check when buying a used car is to check it’s history. – Pic source shutterstock

When you have gone through the majority of the above and you have begun searching for your potential family car and looking to make a purchase. It is important to be cautious and careful in your search. Especially more so when it comes to purchasing a used car. The service history and condition are vital to look into. Always ask the seller, whether it is a private sale or a used car dealer to look at all the receipts and ideally proof of a complete service history.

Proof of servicing with mileages, Previous MOT certificates and even receipts for previous work carried out can indicate whether or not the used car you are looking to purchase has been well cared for. A must in the history and receipts is if the vehicle has had a recent Cambelt change. If it hasn’t and this fails, it can become a very costly repair.

If you’re looking to purchase a new car, it is possible to gt a fantastic deal on a servicing package and warranty. This can be the same with a used car to an extent also, depends what kind of used car dealer your are dealing with. You could possibly extend the warranty. Most with a used car are either 30 or 60 days, also possible is a service in the deal of the sale.

Optional Extras

If you are buying a new car you can add Optional Extras to cater for you and your family's requirements in your family car.
If you are buying a new car you can add Optional Extras to cater for you and your family’s requirements in your family car. – Pic source shutterstock

In the case of a used car, the availability of Optional Extras is limited to what the vehicle you are interested in was fitted with at the factory when it was new. One thing to remember though is with most used car dealers, they do deal with companies who supply and fit tow bars. So if this is an extra that is necessary to your needs the used car dealer may arrange a deal with you for a tow bar into the sale .

Buying a new car from the dealer means you can spec the car exactly to how you would like it. This may mean a longer wait for your new car to be delivered. For us parents it may be worth while to opt for items such as parking sensors and maybe even model-specific child seats. Factory-fit tow bars are also worth considering if you own a caravan or trailer for those family camping trips. May be even roof rails for the freedom of adding a roof box for extra storage space or for a bicycle rack for transporting the family’s bikes.

Here are a few sites to check out when looking to buy a new or used car.

I myself have used a few of these sites to help with research when looking to buy a used car. There will be sites that are handy to read for new car reviews, History checks for if you want to know the background of a used car. One big main website for classified Ads, it won’t matter if it is new or used on here you will be able to find your perfect family car.

  • Parkers Guide Car Spec – This website i have used for many years. Super handy if you are looking to purchase a used car as you can read real owner reviews of various makes and models, you can also find the specs for those makes and models. So if you would be interested in finding out the cars fuel tank capacity, Boot luggage capacity, the MPG specs then this is the go to site. https://www.parkers.co.uk/car-specs/
  • Vehicle History Check RAC – The RAC is one of the nations most trusted and well known breakdown and recovery businesses. The RAC offer a vehicle history checker which will be perfect for you to find out the history of a certain used car you may be interested in. This service isn’t free but iI know it won’t break the bank either. Think the prices are around £9.99 for a check and all you will need is the vehicles registration number. https://vehicle-history-check.rac.co.uk/
  • Autotrader – Autotrader has to be one of the top Classified Car Ads websites around. With a vast amount of options which allow you to narrow down your search to the type of family car you are dreaming of. The search allowing you to view either used cars for sale at a dealer or from a private seller, to a new car advertised at a manufacturer dealership or chain branch. The website also allows you to read reviews of new cars as well as owner reviews of used cars also. The Car specification information isn’t as detailed as I have found in comparison with Parkers Guide. https://www.autotrader.co.uk/

I hope the information that I have offered in this post will be useful and helpful in the search for your perfect family car.

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22 Thoughts to “10 Things to consider when buying a new or used family car.”

  1. Ah the family car, such a big decision. We’ve had the 2 cars for the past 10 years, the “big one” for family use, and my little hatchback mostly used for driving to work.

    Something reasonably economical and reliable is most important, cars cost a fortune to run, so you want to keep the costs down as much as possible.

    1. They are expensive to run, one good reason to consider all these into the budget when looking to buy a new car. Thanks for the comment bud

  2. Top tips, thanks Eddie!

    1. Thanks Mark 👍

  3. I agree with this completely, such a helpful post wish I’d had it to help with buying my new one last year!

    1. Thank you, maybe it may help you when the time comes for the next new purchase.

  4. Em

    These are really great tips! I am not buying a family car, but will be using these tips when it comes to purchasing my first car (I already know the car and insurance is going to be a crazy amount!) Thank you for sharing these tips 🙂

    Em | http://www.loveemblog.com

  5. Brooke

    All important things to consider. I had to buy a new car after mine was totaled in a car accident a few years ago. I remember going through all of these things trying to find the safest car for my family but also one that wasn’t way out of my budget.

    1. Thank you. I think some purchase on a whim and sometimes don’t consider these and end up a little stuck with either running and maintenance costs, or end up purchasing a lemon.

  6. a Life on a Dime

    This is a great checklist! We check pretty much the same things when we buy cars. We did really well our last purchase, so I don’t plan to replace my Toyota for a long time!

    1. Our last Car was a Toyota, it was great, a shame we had to part with it. With needing the boot for a pram and the 7 seats it just wasn’t big enough. We have a Mitsubishi at the Moment and space and practicality wise it’s perfect.

  7. We had say farewell to our 2 sports cars when I got pregnant, there was no way we could get 3 of us in them 🙁 Luckily, a family friend is in the trade so he helped us get a replacement family car (used Audi A4) that was a good deal and economical. All the tips you’ve listed are perfect for anyone considering a new family car! Lisa

  8. Solid advice this Eddie. Very detailed post and love the bit about the interior. I think a lot of people overlook this!

    1. Thank you john. It is isn’t it. Some people don’t take the shape of the seat into consideration for car seats

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