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Why is that when everyone else around you seems to be getting lovely new cars, yours has a spell of misfortune and seems to limp towards the scrapyard? Time for some fresh wheels, maybe…

Our car is way old. Like, 2007 old. We’ve gone through two batteries, one cambelt, several new tyres, a million brake pads and discs, and about 4,000 litres of antifreeze including some INSIDE the vehicle because the windscreen freezes on the inside. Yikes.

It was amazing when we got it, about 6 years ago. It was an ex-Motability scheme car so the mileage was really low, and having migrated up from a Ford Fiesta, we had more boot space than we knew what to do with. It does the job, kind of, but the upholstery is a bit battered and it needs masses of TLC, plus we own it outright so the longer we keep it, the more it depreciates.

We definitely, 100% cannot afford two cars in our household. Sad face. I’d love to, but there’s just no way we can justify the extra running costs, plus we have off-road parking in a city centre location where space is at a premium and it can all get a touch angsty come 5.30pm. So, if we’re going to bite the bullet and upgrade, it needs to meet the needs of the whole family. I’ve been thinking about my top considerations, and have come up with a bit of a wishlist.

Driving Position

As I’ve mentioned, we don’t have off road parking at our new house, which is a compromise we made based on the fact that everything else is legit amazing. The road, like many others near us, isn’t restricted to permit holders…which means that parking can often be quite tricky. There are loads of “spots” that from one end of the road look like perfectly acceptable spaces, without dropped curbs or white lines, then as you get closer you realise that there’s a very concealed driveway just nudging out from a hedge. So anything to help me anchor up vaguely near to our actual house would be a godsend. This means having a good view of the road and all manner of parking hazards, SUV style.

Parking Sensors

Obviously, finding a parking space is only half the battle – the next challenge is navigating the beast into it. Dodging the myriad of other cars who are also crawling along in search of a space, and squeaking in via a precisely executed reverse park, is a highly underestimated skill. Most modern cars (well, a five year old car is modern enough to me) will have inbuilt sensors that work via magnetic waves and emit a series of beeps of increasing intensity when you’re about to hit something. Even more modern cars have little cameras and viewing screens on the dashboard so you can SEE when you’re about to hit something.

Space

We’re going on our first holiday as a family of four soon, woo. Although I’m already dubious about just how we’re going to get everything in the car, seeing as we still rely on the pram and the place we’re going doesn’t have a washing machine, meaning MASSES of clothes. I’m not greedy with my boot space, oh no. It would just be nice to have enough room for the buggy, without first having to take out the box of car safety kit that we kind of need for long journeys. Everyone should have one of those, btw. I’m talking warning triangle, screenwash, tyre jack, pressure guage, coolant, blah. Don’t leave home without it (unless your boot is too small and you need to fit the buggy in…).

Driver and Passenger Safety

Obviously, this is kind of key and should be everyone’s primary consideration, but having children does propel the necessity of safety up a notch. There are loads of comparison websites that’ll give good indicators as to the safety of a vehicle, based on testing data and ratings. This one allows you to prioritise by vehicle type (e.g. SUV) and safety concern. That’ll be an Audi QT for me then!

Inbuilt DVD Player

Now, a few years ago I’d have deemed this as the height of laziness. “Sing to your children!” I’d think to myself. “Play I Spy!” “Listen to Radio 4 together!”. No. All the no. We live 100 miles from my family, which means the odd 2 hour road trip whereby before we’ve even hit the M27, I’m wanting to claw my eyes out with all the noise and questioning. Imagine how lovely it would be to pop something on for each of them to watch quietly and nod off to, without a single request for sweets or wee stops or arguments over toys? I wouldn’t know myself, I tell you.

What would you add?

-SJW May 2017

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post with Accident Advice Helpline Direct Limited. For further information about my work with brands, please refer to my full Disclosure Statement.

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