The best family car

How to choose the best family car

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Here’s what you need to know about choosing and running a family car

Car boot full of luggage

Finding your ideal family car

Choosing a family car is a big decision – and with so many models on the market, it can be confusing. You’ll need a vehicle that will be large enough, reliable and have enough safety features to protect your family – but it’s also important to keep an eye on the costs.

As well as the initial cost of buying a new family car, you should keep in mind that lower fuel efficiency or higher insurance premiums could make your car more expensive in the long run.

In this guide, we’ll offer you some helpful tips on what to look out for, so you can find the best family car for your needs.

Family car taxes

After the first year, all new cars in the UK (those registered after April 2017) are now taxed at the same rate of £145 a year. However, the tax you pay on your car in the first year still defends on its fuel type and CO2 emissions.

Your initial tax payment may therefore be significantly higher – especially if you choose a family car with a diesel engine, which mostly face a higher rate at present.

There are two exceptions to these rules. If your car has a list price of more than £40,000, you’ll have to pay an extra £320 every year on top of your taxes. But if you choose a zero-emissions family car – one with an electric engine – you don’t have to pay any taxes at all, so long as its list price is under £40,000.

The average cost of car insurance

According to MoneySuperMarket data correct as of August 2019

Car insurance groups

Aside from taxes, you should also make sure you won’t be paying too much on insurance for your family car. The average fully comprehensive car insurance premium costs roughly £469*, which can make a sizeable dent in the budget.

But you can find significantly cheaper car insurance if you choose a family car that’s in a lower insurance group.

Insurers sort all cars sold in the UK into one of 50 car insurance groups. Cars in group one are the cheapest to insure, while car insurance for the vehicles in group 50 is the most expensive.

A car’s group is determined by a range of factors, including its value, performance, engine size and safety features. Generally speaking, cars in lower groups cost insurers less in insurance claims – and come with lower premiums.

But a lower risk for insurers is also a lower risk for you. This means that cars in lower insurance groups won’t just save you money on car insurance – they’re also more likely to be safer.

*According to MoneySuperMarket data collected in August 2019

Fuel economy

Fuel economy is important to consider when choosing a family car as fuel is a major household expense, and prices aren’t likely to tumble any time soon.

While the changing price of fuel at the pump will impact your finances, you can save money by opting for a more fuel-efficient family car. If you need to drive frequently, this can make a major difference.

Reliability Index

The Reliability Index is useful resource when finding your ideal family car. It uses data from hundreds of thousands of claims every year to work out which cars need repairs most often and how expensive they are to repair. The data is compiled into a ranking of the most and least reliable cars on the market.

Breakdowns and repairs can be costly and inconvenient, so it’s a good idea to make sure your new family car won’t let you down when you need it most. You can look up the make and model of your new family car using the Reliability Index website.

Car safety

It’s also important to make sure it has enough safety features to protect your family. All cars manufactured to UK specifications must meet minimum safety standards, but the testing agency Euro NCAP conducts a number of additional tests on every new car to determine how safe it will be for your family. You can find a car’s safety rating by entering its make and model into the Euro NCAP website.

Space and extra features

You should also consider how much space a car offers, and see if it has any other extra features to fit your family’s needs.

If you have more than one child, or a young child with a pushchair, a car with at least four doors is essential. A five-door hatchback is often more convenient than a saloon, because there’s more room in the boot – this is especially useful if you have a household pet.

You could consider a minivan, also known as an MPV, if you have several young children: many MPVs can carry up to seven people, thanks to fold-down seats at the back. The sliding doors can also be helpful if you need to manoeuvre small children in and out of car seats. Boot space is limited if all the seats are in use.

There are other features that could help you decide on which car is the best for your family. Some models include integrated booster seats which can be raised when you need them and effortlessly slowed away when you don’t. If you have older children, you might want a family car with USB ports or built-in wi-fi. Some models even feature integrated vacuum cleaners. These added gadgets might push up the price of your family car, but they may well be worth it for the convenience.

Compare family car insurance

The best way to save money on your car insurance is to compare quotes using MoneySuperMarket’s free online tool.

Simply give us a few basic details about your car, circumstances and driving history, and we will compare hundreds of deals from our partners, providing you with a range of options.

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