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Is it time to trade in your flashy sports car and upgrade to something more suitable for a family? There are a lot of considerations to make when buying your first family vehicle that you may not have made when you bought your first car.

You may be looking for features like flexible storage and seating arrangements, room to grow, backseat safety, etc. Here are some considerations to save yourself from winding up back at the dealership too soon.

Family Vehicle Consideration #1: Flexible Options to Grow with You

Two-door cars and small four-door cars aren't going to be the best option for you when buying your first family vehicle. That's because families need space, both to seat people and for storage.

For example, your kids will need a car seat for many years of their life. And car seats take up a lot of space, not only on the seat itself, but your child needs some leg-room between the car seat and the seat in front of them. As children get older, you may need to transport their friends from time to time along with sports equipment and backpacks.

Road trips are on many families' bucket lists, and to make them most comfortable, you'll definitely want a vehicle with flexible seating options so that you can take seats out or rearrange them to use the space for luggage/suitcases instead.

Finally, check out the trunk/cargo space and whether or not it's adaptable. Can a stroller fit inside? Can you fold down a backseat to make more storage space for long items in the trunk, when needed?

Family Vehicle Consideration #2: Safety Features

When driving your current vehicle, you probably mostly drive yourself and perhaps one passenger. However, with a family, you'll really be using the backseat of your car much more. Search for safety ratings for whichever vehicle you're thinking about buying.

Automatic safety features can be especially useful because driving with kids often means you're distracted by backseat conversations, arguments, loud music, etc. Some of the automatic safety technologies to consider include:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Rearview Video System
  • Electronic Stability Control

Family Vehicle Consideration #3: Durability and Cleanable Parts

When buying your first family vehicle, you definitely want to look for one that can make it through rain, snow, and any other inclement weather. You should also make sure that the car is made out of parts that won't bend, dent, or break easily, and can be cleaned with minimal hassle. Keep an eye out for easy-to-clean car fabrics, such as leather and vinyl. Check any backseat pockets, drink holders, and other extras to make sure they're not made out of flimsy materials.

You can buy certain items to make your car more durable, such as all-weather floor mats to protect the floors from messes, and machine-washable seat covers.

Put in a bit of legwork now to consider the above when buying your first family vehicle, and you'll be paid back dividends in time over the next decade or so that your family owns this car.

Disclosures

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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