I don't think I've ever spent time talking about cars. When I was in college I had a boyfriend who was addicted to them, but I was just happy if they looked attractive. When I had my first child things changed, and once my second child arrived I was an automotive expert. You won't hear me talking about engines and anything else too technical, but I do know what makes a good family car. If you're thinking about buying one I'd like to share a few tips.
First of all, go with an automatic if you have a small child. The difference in transmissions might be a difficult choice under normal circumstances, but you want one of your hands to be free more often than not when you have a baby in a car seat. It's also nice to have less things to think about when you have a couple of kids screaming in your ear every couple of seconds. You'll feel a lot safer while driving.
Speaking of safety, it's the biggest thing you need to pay close attention to when you have children. Lots of cars are pretty safe these days, but there are still some cars you wouldn't like your kids to be sitting in should something devastating happen. The chances of being involved in an accident is low if you're a safe driver, but unfortunately you can't trust other drivers on the road.
Even if you only have a couple of children you don't want the smallest car possible that will accommodate a family of four. You'll not be able to squeeze any other kids inside when you're carpooling. Your family might decide to get a dog somewhere down the line. Even having extra space for activities like camping is a bonus, so try to go with a larger car when possible as you'll have more freedom.
Now we're going to look at something contradictory to what I've just said. This will largely depend on where you'll be driving your car, but you don't want it to be too big. When you're cruising around in a monster the simplest of tasks like finding a parking space will become a challenge. Kids don't enjoy walking long distances, so don't go bigger than is necessary once you've accounted for things like pets and storage space.
Lastly, it's crucial your kids are always comfortable. You might be able to put up with an uncomfortable car, but your kids won't be able to deal with it. That is why they should be there when you go car shopping if they're old enough. On the subject of being comfortable, if your kids aren't old enough to enter and exit the car by themselves you'll want to make sure your new car has easy access to the car seat.
If you follow these tips life is going to be so much more enjoyable. You might not be driving around in the cute car you're used to, but it's going to be well worth it. A great family car is a pretty big investment, so spend a long time looking around before you come to a final decision.