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Buying a family car for the baby: Our experience (and tips!)

For those of you looking forward to having your first little one, you are no doubt already aware of some of the hidden costs of being pregnant but have hopefully been able to use some of our tips to ensure you’re not being ripped off horribly or turned into suckers by some of the big companies out there! One thing that we found challenging was the need to transition from being a one car household (and me on a push bike!) to being a two car family, with one car designated as the ‘babymobile’ for day to day journeys.

I am no expert in terms of the ins and outs of how to put together or fix a car, but I am someone who likes to get the best value out of the options available to me, as long as said options fit the criteria of what I want, and in this case need.

In this instance, we decided that the best thing to do was to look for what is called a ‘super mini’, which is a small car that boasts an excellent mpg (miles per gallon) and is small enough to be a practical option for city living. These cars aren’t really designed for regularly bombing it up and down motorways like some of the larger estate cars.

Now that we have made our purchase, I can offer you the following tips for buying a family car at a decent price:

1) Try to use Which? magazine to find out the pros and cons of the types of cars that you are looking for. We found this especially useful with regards to safety and reliability issues that we really had no idea about previously. As well as this, Which? is based on other consumer opinions, so you don’t need to worry that the research has any sort of bias.

2) If you are buying privately and are worried about buying a banger at big bucks you have a great safeguard to check the quality of the car (if you don’t have a mate who is an expert!). The safeguard involves getting one of the big car companies like the AA and RAC out to check the quality of the vehicle and therefore give you their own valuation and opinion on the actual condition of the car. Sure, this isn’t cheap and you may find that the cost is not worth it if you are buying a banger but for a car that you need to last and which costs a fair few bob, it is not a bad move!

3) Be aware that if you buy from a dealer they are under certain warranties by law but will wriggle out of a lot of them! This guide on warranties will clue you up if you feel you need to pay for more cover than is already offered.

4) Once you buy your new family car, get it serviced as soon as possible. If you’ve bought a car that looks great but then turns out to be a rust bucket that is falling apart and has no working brakes etc, you can decide to return the car and get your hard earned cash back (assuming you purchased from a dealer).

5) Check out what kind of child seat you have and if the isofix child seats fit your car (if you have already bought one). This may sound daft but think how easy it is not to match up your new baby buys when there are so many other things to think about during this stage and the potential resulting costs of this!

6) This is perhaps the only tip that I can honestly say you would be brave not to follow: buy a five door car. Why? Think about the logistics and fun of messing about with pushing seats forward, trying to make room through doors and the inevitable faffing and delays that will occur if you don’t have five doors when it comes to transporting the baby!

Finally, if it is of any use to you we ended up with a Honda Jazz. It isn’t that ‘fun’ to drive and it isn’t going to win awards for style but it got great safety reviews, has a good mpg and is in one of the lower bands of car tax and insurance. We also considered the Fiat Panda and VW Polo, but the Jazz ultimately won on safety tests and the space options of the interior.

Whatever you decide, good luck with your family car hunt!

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