Buyer's Guide: Honey, we forgot the kids
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FUNCTION OFTEN FALLS DOWN LIST OF MUST-HAVES IN IDEAL FAMILY CAR
The Mazda Premacy may not rate with the neighbours but it has a lot to offer a young family.
Rochelle and her husband have a familiar dilemma. “We have a 4- and a 2-year-old and another one due in September and are looking for a family vehicle that can fit three child seats across the back seat.
“We have thought of an SUV but have been told the seats in the back row aren’t the best in cases of a rear-end accident.
“Are you able to suggest any vehicles that will fit within our budget? Maybe some sort of station wagon and preferably not a people-mover.”
We have been corresponding with Rochelle in an effort to head her and hubby in the right direction.
In our initial reply we said: “We hear your comments about people-movers but, in our view, they are not a bad choice. After all, that’s why they are called people-movers; they are designed specifically to move people and lots of associated gear.
“Your comments on some SUVs are also valid regarding the concerns around rear-end accidents and the lack of protection. They can also have limitations in terms of usable boot space.
“The beauty of a people-mover is you can spread the load out more ... Station wagons may be worth consideration. Yes, the children will still need to share the one rear seat, but the extra cargo room may have its advantages. Everything you consider will always have some compromise attached, unfortunately.”
We then came up with some options but suggested they look around first and come back to us with the vehicles which appealed. Rochelle’s response: “We went to a few car dealers to have a look at station wagons, SUVs and people-movers. We came to the conclusion that a people-mover is the sensible way to go.
“I think it just came down to me feeling they aren’t very cool, when I should have been thinking about practicality. I think the nicest people-mover we saw was the Mazda MPV and Mazda Premacy.”
It was great to hear that, as a family, they had come to the conclusion that people-movers are practical and affordable for young families. Getting over that pejorative “people-mover” tag is often the biggest hurdle to jump for potential buyers.
And the two Mazdas mentioned aren’t half-bad choices, either.
So, a great start, but that’s only half the journey. The next trap to be avoided is looking at all that interior space and forgetting about the possible mechanical issues waiting to bite the wallet.
Most modern people-movers are based around sedan or hatchback platforms and power units, which means they share similar running costs, although I would avoid any model fitted with a turbocharged engine in this price range and vehicle type.
Get the experts to carry out pre-purchase mechanical checks and advise you accordingly. Your job is to find a vehicle that will comfortably absorb all the family and the associated gear. Look for in-built child seat mounting points as well. Don’t go with looks, or what other people may think, if it makes transporting the family around any harder than it needs to be.
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