Family car

Family Car Buying Guide: Choosing The Best Family Car to Buy

While some families can find the ideal fit with a midsize car, most opt for the room and flexibility offered by minivans and SUVs. There are many models to choose from, so you’ll likely find the best family car to buy with the looks and style you prefer. Whether you pick out a sporty minivan or rugged SUV, there are a few must-haves to consider for affordable and safe family vehicles. 

Assessing Your Family’s Needs and Budget

When learning how to choose a family car, the first step is to calculate how much car you can afford. Remember to calculate ongoing costs like insurance and maintenance. The next step is to figure out how many seats you need, which safety features are critical, and how much cargo space you want. How long you plan to keep your next vehicle is also important. Families grow, kids get bigger, and needs can change quickly. 

Third-row seating is a prime example. Some third-row seating can be cramped for teens and adults, while others can be very spacious. Consider the features you need most to find the best family car to buy instead of searching for a specific make and model. Trust us, you’ll find plenty of SUVs and minivans equipped with family-friendly features, good looks, and style. 

Essential Features in a Family Car

Parents can’t foresee what the future has in store and if the features they love today will still work for them next year. However, some family car must-haves never go out of style. Once you’ve assessed your family’s needs and budget, add these essential features to your family car buying guide. 

Safety Features

Safety is the primary feature that concerns parents most, so nothing less than a 5-star safety rating should be considered. Stability control, anti-lock brakes, and adaptive cruise control are only a few advanced driver assist system (ADAS) features you’ll find in most modern family cars. Many vehicles also have lane departure warnings, blind spot assist, and other safety features. Together, these all-important safety features minimize the chances of a collision. 

Cargo Space

Families with infants and toddlers need plenty of cargo space for strollers, toys, diaper bags, and other baby gear. Most parents find interior storage extra handy for small cargo like snacks, baby wipes, and toys. Another consideration with cargo space is the flexibility of the seating. You’ll need room for groceries and kids one day and room for sports gear and teens the next. The more flexible your cargo space, the more you’ll enjoy your next SUV or minivan.

Cabin Space

Plenty of headroom and legroom are always welcome features, but sufficient cabin space is critical for families. Nearly every vehicle made for families on the market will feature LATCH car-seat systems for families with kids in car seats. However, you must have enough room to easily get the kids in and out and for additional passengers on either side. If you have a big family or are planning on it, spacious third-row seating offers flexibility for growing families. 

Hands-Free Technology

Even the newest parents quickly realize they could use more hands! Hands-free technology can be the next best thing. Auto-unlock and foot-activated lift gates make loading baby gear, groceries, and other cargo much easier. Inside, hands-free calling and ADAS features like automated braking and steering help families travel more safely.

The cabin space, cargo space, safety features, dependability, and fuel economy are some of the most important considerations for your next car for the family. The weather and climate you’ll be driving in most often are also important considerations that can affect your enjoyment and maintenance costs. 

Pros and Cons of the Most Popular Family Vehicles

The best family car to buy for your unique needs will likely be a minivan or SUV. SUVs are some of the most popular vehicles thanks to the typically ample cargo and passenger space. They are popular with many other drivers as well. Compared to minivans, most SUVs offer a bit more style and ruggedness. If your family SUV will double as an adventure vehicle, the high ground clearance and extra power make SUVs the obvious choice. Plus, SUVs come in many sizes and configurations, providing plenty of flexibility and the perfect fit. 

Minivans often feature more space in all three rows and large sliding doors for easy exit and entry. Because they are built with flat floor space, minivans can provide more seating and headroom. Minivans can be less prone to rollovers in a collision because of the lower center of gravity than SUVs. Some SUVs can be hard to climb into, while most vans usually have a lower ride height. There’s much to consider in the SUV vs. minivan debate, but every family’s needs are unique. With that in mind, the best way to choose your next family vehicle is to gather your criteria and take some finalists for a test drive. 

Find the Best Car for Your Family at Car Time Supercenter

Car Time Supercenter is a Tucson family-owned used car dealership with a large inventory of quality used family cars, flexible financing, and hometown customer service. When you’re ready to test drive your top choices, we’ll help you find the right fit for your family.

Shane Vossough

There are good reasons people will buy their next used car in Tucson from Car Time Supercenter. But I think we are one of the most trusted used car dealerships mainly because we treat everyone like family. My family has provided quality, dependable local used cars to Tucson customers since 1984, and I'm proud to be a part of our continued success. Like many family-owned businesses, I grew up going to work with my dad. Falling in love with cars was natural because of my father's passion, and eventually, I came to love the car business just like him. I officially joined the Car Time Supercenter team in 2012, starting in the finance department. Over the past decade, I've learned the used car business and how to treat customers from my family and industry resources. Today, I oversee marketing, social media, inventory, and reconditioning, so I play an essential role in delivering local Tucson used car buyers the best experience possible. I also help our family business keep up with the times while providing old-fashioned customer service. From attending NADA classes to becoming Allstate certified for back-end products, I continue to learn and add skills to serve our customers better.