Family car features
It happens to most of us eventually - we move out of home, get married, have children, adopt a jack russell and a cockerspaniel and before we know it the world has suddenly become smaller. This is when we realise that actually, what we simply need is a bigger house - and a bigger vehicle.
Of course, when it comes to family cars,increased size is not the only requirement; safety and other practicalities must also be considered. While every family’s vehicle needs are unique, these are some of the great features to consider when it comes down to buying that all-important family car:
1. Safety Rating
Parents know full well that precious little lives are a priority. The Euro NCAP star rating makes gives consumers the knowledge and confidence to choose the safest cars for their needs possible. Euro NCAP presents a star rating our of 5, along with safety scores for various safety factors and a downloadable pdf report.
These days, front airbags come as a standard feature in most cars, but when it comes to transporting young children, particularly under the age of 13, it’s important to know the type of force an airbag generates. In a collision, an airbag exerts extreme force towards the front passenger seats that can be fatal to children since their bodies are not fully developed. When driving with a child in the car, either disable the air bag or strap them up in the rear passenger seat.
Self-drive holidays and long weekend trips around the country are a given in a beautiful and scenic country like South Africa. There should be enough luggage space to serve the whole family’s home-away-from-home requirements. These could be anything from fitting a baby’s pushchair, sports equipment, or picnic paraphernalia in at any given time.
4. Comfort and Convenience
A vehicle plays a big role in a family’s everyday life, constantly taxiing children around means it’s worth buying a vehicle that is comfortable and offers convenience. This means a car must be spacious with ample leg and head room while offering all the small conveniences such as side pockets and drink holders both front and rear. It’s surprising how these simple additions make a car ride so much more pleasurable.
5. UV Protection Windows
Glass itself does not protect an adult or child from harmful ultra violet rays from the sun. Not all car windows have the same scale of UV protection on their windows, and neither are they consistent between the front windshield and the side windows in the same car. Windshields are made of different material to side windows. They offer higher sun protection,as they’re thicker and laminated with a type of plastic that also helps to absorb UV rays. However, side windows are not laminated in the manufacturing process making them block less UV rays. If your choice of family car has a low UV protection score consider having UV-blocking tinted film applied to the side windows.
6. Sliding Doors
When it comes to families with children and pets, a four-door vehicle is a must – but nothing beats the convenience of rear sliding doors in a family vehicle. The extra flexibility gives easy access to the rear seats, allowing the ability to load and unload babies and dogs into a wider opening.
Young children can be a handful and need our constant attention. So as parents we’re always looking for ways on how best to serve their needs. A car with Bluetooth technology allows parents to talk on their mobile phones hands-free. While we parents of young children to be totally engaged on the road and aware of their passengers and not their mobile devices, Bluetooth technology is helpful if it’s absolutely necessary to be constantly connected.
8. Cruise Control
Anything that improves your comfort as a driver with children in the car improves the experience of the journey. Switching a vehicle on to cruise control allows the system to automatically maintain it at a set steady speed. This is especially useful on family road trips that can be physically demanding and requires a great deal of mental concentration. By alleviating the need to constantly engage between the foot pedals means driving becomes an easier task by simply having to steer the vehicle.
9. Cubby Hole Cooler
In sunny South Africa, when for most of the year the days are hot and sometimes unbearably sweltering, being able to keep a bottle of water from turning warm in the car is a real pleasure. Bigger compartments will come in even more useful on longer drives and road trips to keep your ‘padkos’ fresh and the chocolate from melting.
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