We asked Sinead Canny-Ruddy, ‘Young’ mother of Annie, wife of Dickie, rally driver, car mad with a bag and shoe obsession to give us her Top 10 Unconventional Tips when it comes to buying a family car…..
When it comes to buying a family car, why do we all act like sheep? Why do we suddenly lose the ability to think of nothing else but this car MUST fit the big expensive designer buggy that we bought when Little Jimmy was born and will have to fit all the children that we will give birth to after Little Jimmy…
Here’s my Top 10 Unconventional Tips when it comes to buying a family car. Sit up, take note and try not to bleat.
1. Do not Google ‘Top Ten Family Cars’. It’s confusing for a start and above all depressing if you are a cool car lover like me. When a list suggests car models that I have never heard of or can’t pronounce, I know I shouldn’t be looking at it. Above all it will probably be written by someone paid to promote a particular model or worst still, someone who doesn’t have a family.
2. Space. “But I neeeeeeed lots of space”. Why? The average UK family has 1.71 children per household. Taking children from A to B on school runs, violin practice, ballet and whatever else Little Johnny and Little Mary go to does not require lots of space. Space leads to clutter. Your car is not a garage. For those longer journeys, borrow or buy a roof box. To fill with clutter…..
3. Safety. Unless you own a very old and used car, all modern cars, small, medium or large are safe. Don’t feel pressurised into buying a car because of its safety record. Remember, it is the person behind the wheel of the car that needs to be safe when driving. Don’t rely on a car to be your safety net.
4. What you think you need versus what you actually need. One motor journalist wrote in a recent family car article, “You may need an MPV’. I may need to a new handbag and a bigger house would be my answer to that.
5. The car must have 5 doors. Another great useless piece of advice. Cars with 3 doors can be as accessible as 5. If you are ferrying around elderly parents, buy a 5 door…… on second thoughts maybe as a rule of thumb until they are old enough to toddle into their own car seat the number of back doors is purely a personal choice!
6. Sports cars are family cars! In the same article the same journalist remarks “it’s no use buying a sports car if you are about to start a family”. A two seater sports car maybe not, but there are lots of sports cars on the market that will cater for you and your brood.
7. You don’t need a car. I actually don’t have a car myself. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, I love cars and would need several to satisfy my car obsession. Cars to be are like designer handbags. You can never have enough. Secondly I am fortunate to live in a City with amazing transport links so I can do without a car as most people can – they just don’t realise it. Regardless of where you live, consider the reason why you need a car for your family. You will be very surprised that for a lot of you it is a luxury that you can do without. Add up the yearly cost of running a car and if you don’t need one all the time, weigh this cost up against hiring one when you need it either from a hire car company or hourly car hire clubs such as ZipCar or GoCar.
8. Taking advice from your friends with kids. DON’T. They will probably be sheep. Unless of course they’ve bought a Porsche 911 having taken heed of my top tips. Then you have my full permission to hang on every word they say and copy every thing they do.
9. Don’t think new all the time! Remember, in general cars are not investments. In fact they are de-investments. New cars depreciate at an average of 20% as soon as you take ownership of them. So think second hand. There are fantastic bargains to be had out there and a very wide range to chose from. There isn’t a car you can’t get on the second hand market for a good price these days.
10. Lastly…have fun! Having a family is a great excuse to change your car. But have fun with it. Style over substance I say. Turn some heads with your new motor. Make your neighbours and friends jealous.
So, there you are. Tips you won’t find when it comes to buying a family car. I don’t expect you will all agree with me but then I wouldn’t expect you to. So stop bleating and get going with your search. Baaaaaaah.
20th August, 2013