Having children changes everything. A couple suddenly becomes a family, and when that happens, the expectations for your car change. A new mother today expects more than just safe and reliable transportation from point A to point B. The car is an extension of her world and must offer features that make her life and work easier and more comfortable.
A new baby adds lots of extra costs to the family budget. This means that the decision to upgrade to a family car requires careful attention to the impact it will have on the family finances. Factors that influence buying choice are initial price, how well the car will hold its value and the features that will accommodate the needs of a growing family.
Full-sized family sedans, mid-sized hatch backs and minivans all offer the space and comfort a growing family needs. The 2011 Ford Taurus is the overall best family sedan for the money, according to U.S. News and Reports. The Honda Fit hatchback won best value for the money in 2010 and 2011 and the 2011 Kia Sedona provides the best value in minivans for 2011. All these vehicles combine affordable price with long-term value and lower operating and maintenance costs to make them best values for family vehicles.
- Kid Friendly
An important factor for moms in choosing a car is how kid friendly the vehicle is. Does the vehicle have features that make transporting small children safer and easier? Is there enough room for car seats? Providing a safe and comfortable riding experience for the children can be the difference between an easy outing with happy smiling children and the road trip from hell.
According to CBS Money Watch, some of the most kid friendly cars for 2010 offer seats that can be reconfigured for easy access to children, DVD players to keep small children entertained and refrigerators for keeping food and baby formula cold on trips. Vehicles like the Honda Odyssey and the Ford Flex top the list for mom and kid friendly transportation.
- Fuel Economy
With gasoline over $3 per gallon and headed higher, fuel economy is an important factor when choosing a family vehicle. A new mother might want to consider a more economical mid-sized vehicle or a hybrid instead of an SUV or minivan.
Consumer Reports picked the 2010 Toyota Prius as the most economical car in
. With an economical MSRP of under $29,000 and average fuel economy from 40 to 50 miles per gallon the Prius is a good choice. It also offers comfort, storage space and crash safety features needed in a family vehicle, according to Consumersearch.com. America
- Built-in Safety
Families with small children have an added incentive for buying the safest car possible. Look for vehicles with a 5 star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A car that is safest will incorporate features such as side curtain air bags and child-safe door and window controls.
Car-Safety.org recommends vehicles that have wide-angle mirrors so that drivers can monitor children in the back without taking their eyes off the road in front. Emergency trunk release latches and automatic crash reporting systems are also good safety features for a family vehicle.