How to find the best family car

By Liz Dobson

A two- or three-door car is just not practical to carry an infant. Photo / www.jupiterimages.com
A two- or three-door car is just not practical to carry an infant. Photo / www.jupiterimages.com

Baby's on the way and you have the car seat but not the car. Don't panic - buying a car suitable for transporting your precious cargo is simple.

1. While coupes and convertibles are fun, when it comes to transporting kids you have to be practical. Talking from experience from the years when I tested two cars a week and had to manoeuvre two car seats each time, trying to put your offspring into the rear seat of a two- or three-door car equals tears and tantrums - and that's just from you.

Think, instead, five doors - either a large hatchback, compact SUV or wagon. And wait until the kids hit high school to buy a convertible or coupe.

2. Test the boot space - you'll be loading the rear with pushchairs, baby gear and grocery shopping, usually on a daily basis so make sure there is enough room.

Test the pushchair in the boot before you buy the car. Also think about road trips. Will there be enough room for all the paraphernalia that goes with a night away? The portacot, bags of essentials, a high chair, another bag of baby-related necessities, a couple of boxes of nappies ... then comes your gear.

3. Have as many safety features in your car as your budget can afford. Aim for a five-star Eurocap or Ancap rating and as many airbags as possible to protect your cargo in case of an accident.

4. Before you know it your newborn will be walking so make sure your car is fitted with at least a reversing camera. If yours doesn't have one already fitted, you can buy one that is incorporated into your rear view mirror.

5. Think ahead. Are you planning to expand your brood? Then maybe future-proof your family wagon by buying a vehicle that has a third row of seats.

Need car buying advice? Driven's Car Buyers' Guide is happy to help. Write to driven@apn.co.nz and our man Jack will give you the right information to get you in the right car.

- NZ Herald

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