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7 key factors for parents when buying a new car

By Paul Connolly

Buying a car is a serious commitment, and that’s true whether it’s new or used.

So simple economics mean that it pays to be careful before making a purchase; and the best way to do that is to do your research before committing to what it a financial outgoing.

Indeed, after paying rent or a mortgage, a car is the biggest monthly outgoing for half of parents, making choosing a new one a decision which involves careful consideration, especially when many families are budgeting for the new year ahead.

Value-based car brand, Dacia, has conducted a survey, answered by over 1,000 Mumsnet users, to discover the most valued factors when it comes to buying a family car.

The survey claims that while three-quarters are not fussed about fancy tech such as keyless entry, parents are mindful of more practical and simple areas.

According to the results of this survey, for 72 per cent of parents, price is the prominent factor when considering a new car with two-thirds focussing on fuel economy.

While 60 per cent of those asked think that the brand of their car is not important, a huge 99 per cent still value reliability when choosing a car.

Whilst useful, the survey from Dacia – famous for its cheap Duster 4x4 - was not a scientific poll: it was sent to the Mumsnet Insight Panel and was open to all Mumsnet users, gaining 1,029 responses.

Dacia and Mumsnet reveal key factors for parents when buying a new car EMBARGO 07h00 100118 (2).jpg

So what are the main factors influencing parental choice when it comes to car buying? Here’s our top seven:

1. Price

The survey is undoubtedly right, price is critical in any car purchase. But it’s a key part of a complex matrix, not the single determining factor.

The psychology of pricing is important, as is advertising and marketing, with low-price entry models drawing customers in and then tempting extras quickly sucking them up the range.

For those most focused on price, a family 4x4 from Dacia is a good choice at the bottom end of the market. But there are a whole host of other SUVs from other manufacturers that are competing competitively.

You also need to take in other costs, like insurance, depreciation and the resale value.

2. Model/kerb appeal

There are badge snobs who wouldn’t drive anything other than a German, and then there are the rest of us who, magpie-like, are happy to pick and choose manufactures according to our whim.

SUVs are popular choices for families, but so also are estates, superminis like the Golf and small hatchbacks/crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai.

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3. Safety

All parents want to take the best care of their children. Check the number of airbags, make sure it has ISO seatbelt fix points for car seats, check the model meets the best European safety standards (called its Euro NCAP score).

A 5 star NCAP score means a car has a good performance in crash protection, and is well equipped with robust crash avoidance technology. Examples include the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback and the SEAT Ateca SUV.

SEAT Ateca.jpg

4. Space

Suddenly as a new parent you’ll realise that the car that more than comfortably fitted you and your partner has shrunk to make way for an almost unlimited bunch of stuff from cots to mountain bikes, depending on their age. And that’s not to mention ferrying their friends around.

Luckily, online you will find an abundance of data about cabin room, boot space and much more.

5. Reliability

Whilst it’s thankfully difficult to buy a bad car any more, there are still differences in reliability between brands. Plus the cost of maintenance and parts can vary, so again do your research.

Hyundai Ioniq.jpg

6. Fuel efficiency

Again, data here is extensive although unfortunately not always very reliable.

However, as manufacturers pretty much use the same exaggerations you know in the round which cars are more fuel efficient than others. That will change soon as new rules come into force.

In the meantime, do consider petrol-electric hybrids as probably the cleanest and most efficient option

7. Connectivity/technology

Keyless entry, automatic tailgates, easy-up/down rear seats, on-board Wi-Fi, sat-nav, large console-mounted touchscreens, automated anti-collision systems, a banging hi-fi: cars have pretty much everything now, so this will rise and fall on your list of priorities according to personal preference.

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