Family Car aimed at the larger numbered household.

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Typical bloke post here. Lets talk Cars and motoring. For me and the family, a larger car with 7+ seats is a necessity for us in a Family car.

Suitable Family Car.

Every household and family are different. Some family’s are privileged to own a family car. For us the financials of having a car outweigh the costs of public transport. Running costs of a car for us monthly is considerably cheaper than what it would be for us and the girls on the bus or train. Plus you can’t put a price on the convenience either.

You will know this from when beginning your search for a new car. It may not be a brand spanker but new as in it’s new to you.

There’s alsorts to look for. Do you want something sporty looking? Something big like a 4×4 or pick up type? An MPV (multi purpose vehicle)? Or an estate, hatchback, saloon. 3 doors 5 doors. The list is literally endless, never mind getting into engine sizes, fuel type or even hybrid.

Requirements from a Family Car.

Our family needs and requirements in a car is space and seating. Gone are the days of my car enthusiast days… Ok yes I admit it, but I wasn’t a boy racer as such but I enjoyed the tarting up modification wise of my car. After the days of modified car clubs attending local car shows. I had never really attended much of the national shows if I’m honest. Attending local cruises and meets organised by local car clubs.

Children came along which meant a certain type of car was needed. I still enjoyed the car scene but more into owners clubs.

Now with a large family, 2 adults and 5 children. These days we are now limited to 7 seats plus that is now required from a car. From a petrol heads point of view these are seen as boring and fugly. Not so much with the newer models that are being released. Styled now more sporty looking with some higher options are a performance model.

A big thing you may find with some 7 seaters is they sometimes compromise a main requirement for another. Our 7 seater car resume upto our current, we have now owned 5. Nothing new or fancy, our current is the newest to us on a 56 plate (2006).

The family cars I have owned. But… Were they suitable for what we required from a 7 seat family car.

Mitsubishi is where we find motoring comfort at the moment. We currently own a 2006 Mitsubishi Grandis D-id. Out of our 5 previous MPV or People carriers if that’s what you want to call them. So far has been the best for practicality. With having the option of a 3rd row of seats to create 2 extra seats in the boot. It hasn’t compromised the load boot space either with these extra. It’s perfect for what we require in our current circumstances with having a baby. Space for our old travel system pram and even for our pushchair we have moved up to with Charlotte.

An image of our current car. 2006 Mitsubishi Grandis D-ID. A great Family car and probably the best out of the few we have owned.
2006 Mitsubishi Grandis D-id – As a Family Car we love it. It even looks pretty good too right?

Previous to the Grandis, we had a 55 plate (2005) Toyota Corolla Verso – T Spirit 2.2D.

Toyota Corolla Verso – 2005 – T-spirit.

The Toyota was a great car to own and drive. Reliability wise it was faultless. 24 months almost of worry free motoring other than the replacement of wear tear parts such as tyres and Brakes. Even then the cost of these were reasonable also.

Economy – not too bad for a 7 seat Family Car.

Economy wise, the cost of the Road tax was reasonable and average cost for its year, it is calculated by the vehicles emissions. The insurance, don’t get me started on this one! It’s all down to it having 7 seats. When I first shopped around for quotes on the usual go to compare sites, you know the ones. Compare the Market. Money Supermarket. Go compare. Confused.

It was around on average almost £200 per year less!! To insure the 5 seat version of the Toyota Corolla Verso than it was to insure the 7 seat Version. Family Cars eh!

The Driveability – check me out sounding like an AutoCar Reviewer on 7 seat family cars.

Anyways the drivability and the performance were pretty good. The car we had was the 2.2D engine. All 134 BHP of diesel burning, smokey power! a respectable 0 – 60mph time of 9.4 seconds. not shabby for a diesel family bus. To be honest it felt quick too. Handling wise it was the best out of the few 7 seat family cars we have owned. I used to enjoy a good little B road blast. It would be on the way home after dropping my eldest daughter Emelia home with her mum at the end of the weekend.

Responsive, good feel through the wheel, not much understeer but depends on the conditions and how you drove it.

The Interior and features of this 7 seat Family Car.

On the inside it was very modern for the year. The dash illumination and colour were very crisp and clear. Felt like a kid pretending you were in a race car with the Push Button Start… Only after you had inserted the block key that is. The model we had was the T Spirit. One of the top levels of Spec for this car. Air conditioning, Cruise Control, Electric windows, CD Player, Trip Computer.

The best thing for us and especially the girls has to be the Factory installed DVD system. A very clever bit of kit. Nice Toyota 6″ Dvd Screens in the back of the Front seat Headrests. DVD player fitted underneath the Drivers seat facing the rear for easy access and changing of disc. It had Infra red Sensors in the B pillars on either side of the car. These were so Infrared Headphones were used to listen. Soooo amazing, it kept the kids quiet as mice and me and the mrs could listen to our music in peace.

Dad’s round of the Family Car – 2005 Toyota Corolla Verso 2.2D – T spirit 7 seat.

Awesome car, if it wasn’t for the lack of boot space for Charlotte’s Pram. The leg room in the 3rd row seats or the middle row for the older 2 girls, we would still be driving it today.

Sadly this was our worst Family Car we have owned to date – sadly it’s a VW!

The one that caused nothing but motoring stress. Anxious of every journey. Riddled with issues. This next car literally cost us a small fortune! If I had done to it what i felt about it during the ownership it would have saved us so much money! £1000’s in parts and labour compared to the cost of a Gallon of petrol and a box of matches, there was no contest. But we didn’t have the finances to replace the car, but to fix the issues one at a time. But it just kept Failing!!

The car in question was in fact a Volkswagen. I know you’d have thought german engineering, it would have been reliable. Nope…Far from it. We were possibly unlucky and purchased a lemon. But it put me off from owning another Volkswagen again.

Volkswagen Touran SE Tdi – 2005 – 7 seat family Car.

At first it was a nice car. Drove a bit more like a van than a car which took some time to get used to. Engine was rather noisy from both the outside and inside the cockpit. You know the noise i’m talking about. You could pretend you were Farmer Giles tootling down the A64 pulling a trailer full of taties in your tractor! Thats how noisy the engine was in this thing.

How did this VW tractor feel to drive.

The handling wasn’t great, quite wallowy springs to mind. Very soft suspension. Drove more like a van compared with car’s previously that we were used to.

Now this was an older model. A 2005 on a 55 plate registration. I recon the newer models of the Touran are a lot better, what with the improvements technology has brought to cars over the years since then.

Performance and Reliability.

Moving onto the performance characteristics of this family chariot. Where to start, it was only an SE model, not a very top spec with anything really. Quite the basic frontrunner in the fleet. The lump it had was from Volkswagens PD range of engines. A 110hp 1.9 Turbo Diesel.

Sounded like a tractor as said, Pulled like a van, bit lazy. Could have just been down to an older car but, wasn’t overall impressed for what we were accustomed to. I had considered getting the Touran remapped. But with the ever growing and constant repair bills!! I didn’t really fancy blowing more money on it than was necessary to keep it driveable and on the road.

The reliability, jeez where to begin. This was shocking, I can honestly admit in 10+ years of driving. I have never had a car in the Garage with a mechanic as much as this one.

Bit of bad luck with this family car.

I think this Touran we had could have just been a one off, a lone lemon possesed by a demon of causing a wallet to practically shit money to keep it mobile.

Heres a quick roundup of a few issues I can remember. It was from 4 years ago and I am getting older. F**k I’m turning 34 next tuesday!!! Anyways onto the list.

  • Brake Calipers – It was like it wanted to eat them for breakfast. They weren’t crappy pattern parts either like you get on ebay. A decent branded Brake manfucturer.
  • Vacuum Pump – I think this is what its called, but hey ho it was £300+ just for the part, never mind the labour cost to fit it. Its a vacuum pump found on the side of the cylinder head, which in the VW PD engine range, basically Ups the fuel pressure to the injectors by way of vacuum. Listen to me sounding like Ed China! Not got a clue to be honest.
  • Drop Links – A small bar fitted the the front suspension struts. After fitting a few aftermarket sets, I even tried Genuine VW items. Still same issue, what do they make them from… Chocolate!! the ball joints would just think fuck it and shit themselves after a few 100 miles on these pot hole infested roads we have these days.
  • Ignition Barrel – This tbh was the final icing on the cake when we made the decision to trade it in for the Corolla verso. A small tiny pin collapsed in the ignition barrel. This meant you couldn’t even turn the key in the ignition to even get power (dash lights, radio) never mind start and drive. We had to have it recovered from home and taken to our local Volkswagen Dealer as no garages would even attempt the repair. New ignition barrel, new keys, no central locking from the new keys. We had to continue using the old key still for this. Bit of a ball Ache. Tbh we didnt have the finances to repair it either. It was a loan from the bank of Mum and Dad (well the inlaws. They are amazing btw). Repair bill of £400 plus.
  • Engine and Gearbox mountings – Basically a lump of metal attached to the vehicle’s Chassis and a rubber bush for absorption, which attaches to the engine or gearbox. Probably not the best explanation but.. to replace these was a hefty price. Parts alone were almost £180.00. The mechanic at the time I think was pulling a fast one. Informing us these were dealer only parts. But after an 18 month job working for a local motor factors im calling bullshit. Anyways cost alot of money still.

End of the list and a nice rant over my opinion of owning a Volkswagen.

Interior and Practicality – Family Car – Volkswagen Touran SE Tdi – 2005

The interior wasn’t to bad to be fair. The dash plastics were quite cheap looking and tacky, wear on them was terrible. Hadn’t lived a strong life in terms of what you’d expect materials to be in a Family Car.

Space wise and practicality were good. Seating space for the girls car seats in the middle row were good, could get 3 seats in side by side and still comfortably squeeze my man hands in to plug in the seatbelt.

The 3rd row seats were good and I liked how they folded flush into the boot floor. Made the luggage space more useable when these seats were not in use. The boot though with the third row seats up was pretty poor. As i mentioned at the beginning of this post. Most 7 seaters compromise space for the 3 rows of seats with a lack of boot space. This for the likes of your travel system pram or pushchair means its a tight fit.

VW rant over.

Well the rant with Volkswagen is over. As mentioned it may have just been a one off, a family car from a bad batch. We will never know. But the experience of the Touran has knocked my faith and confidence in looking at another Volkswagen vehicle in the future. Even though I must admit. The transporters as Sexy as F**k. And with the way our girls are growing up and the space from a family car we would need. This is the next Step up for us from a 7 Seater family car we have currently.

Now i’m a bit hopeful here and is a bit of a whim. If anyone from Volkswagen or a VW dealer happen to read this, and would like to attempt to convice and convert this Dad back to having faith in the manufacturer. I’d be more than happy to offer mine and my family’s Services to Family practical test a 7+ Seater and give an honest opinion of it.

Family Car motoring for the low income family budget.

We fall into this bracket. Finance or Buying a newer car is out of the qustion, it isn’t affordable within our budget. Only other option is to look at the used car market . The Toyota Corolla Verso and the Mitsubishi Grandis, we have and have previously own. For the Practicality, Reliability. Well hell, the way they look and drive. I would recommend, they have seen us well as a family car through our motoring needs.

A few tips in search of a Family Car.

When it has come the time to search for a new car for our family. One thing we require mainly is. 7 Seats, Obviously, how else would we cart 5 children around aswell as us, on the roof… NOOOO!!! never do that, bad DADVICE there. But also decent space in the boot with all 7 seats in use. This for all of Charlotte’s essentials. Pushchair, changing bag, other items needed with a baby/toddler of a young age.

Anyways I hope you enjoy giving this a read through, I certainly enjoyed writing it once I had booted the writing block wall down.