The family car can almost feel like a part of the family sometimes. Indeed, you’d be surprised how many families decide to unofficially ‘christen’ their cars, such is the depth of feeling many have towards the vehicles that ferry our kids to and from school and help us with the big shop at the weekend. If you choose well, a family car can last for years, so it’s a major decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly and should involve the whole family, if possible. When shopping for your new family car, these are just a few of the questions you might want to ask yourself.

How big should it be?

This is not a question that should be glossed over and whilst smaller cars are undeniably convenient (and are cheaper to insure), they will be of no help to you whatsoever if you have to fit the pushchair and the shopping in the boot and can’t find the room. Think about not only the kids (and pets) you have now, but the kids and pets you might have in the future and make your choice accordingly.

What features does it need?

It can be tempting to go for all the bells and whistles, particularly if you’re easily persuaded and gullible (car salesmen are notorious for a reason) but consider what features you’ll actually use. You might pay a premium, for example, on a car with a smart dashboard camera that you’ll never use or a hybrid engine that you’ll (realistically) always forget to charge. Take stock of your needs and don’t be distracted by shiny and unnecessary features.

New or used?

This was once a rather cut and dry option, as those who couldn’t afford new would often go the used path by necessity. However, with many car loan lenders now offering guaranteed car finance for bad credit and more options than ever before regarding how and when to pay for your new car, it’s not a case of simply settling for used anymore, it’s about preference. Used cars will, of course, have more miles on them, but they will also have fewer problems and will ship with longer guarantees. Used cars, meanwhile, offer more bang for your buck. As ever, whatever choice you make, your mileage may vary.

What are the running costs?

Cars are expensive machines that require constant maintenance and will devour petrol remorselessly if you opt for a model with poor fuel efficiency. When possible, always invest in cars that have the best fuel efficiency possible and if you can stretch to it and don’t often make very long drives, you could even consider going for a hybrid or electric motor.

Is it comfortable?

This is your family car and as such, it needs to be comfortable for the whole family, not just you. Invite your family to the dealership on the day of purchase and make sure they are as happy as you are. It’s as much their car as it is yours, after all.