Your family relies on your vehicle for safe and reliable transportation. Your car is also one of your most expensive financial investments. You owe it to yourself to weigh every alternative when it comes time to replace your car.
Many families find themselves opting between several vehicles roomy enough for their growing clans. Here are five points to consider when choosing the right minivan.
Evaluate Extras Carefully
Car-shopping today can make you feel like a kid in a candy shop. You have a world of options to consider, and your salesperson will love your oohs and aahs when they show off all the bells and whistles. However, each extra affects your purchase price and financing — choose carefully.
However, don’t automatically rule out options such as split-screen entertainment systems. These wonders can spare you hours of “are we there yet” on family road trips. Game consoles like the Playstation don’t work very well in transit. However, if you add a device like Raspberry Pi, your kids can play all their favorite NES and SNES console games when watching “Frozen” for the umpteenth time gets old.
Your insurer might not be the place to turn if you need accessibility upgrades such as a wheelchair ramp. However, you can investigate veteran and state assistance programs if you or your child need such a device. Another option is to roll the cost of such accessories into your auto loan — talk to your dealer for details.
Size and Seating Matters
Two other factors to consider are the size and available seating capacity of each comparable vehicle. Fortunately, you won’thave to search high and low to find a roomy model.
The American population continues growing heavier, and car manufacturers have adapted their practices by making vehicles that are wider than ever. It doesn’t matter if your family expansion stems from having more babies or the ones you have getting bigger — you can find a ride with space for all.
Most minivans contain either seven or eight seats. A 7-seat model features two captain’s chairs instead of a bench in the second row. This feature can help separate kids who insist on encroaching on each other’s space, spurring dangerously distracting arguments.
If your 8-year-old plays field hockey, softball or any other sport that requires you to haul equipment back and forth, seek a model that features removable rear seats. This option considerably expands your cargo space — it also comes in handy for those warehouse-store runs.
Consider Fuel Efficiency
One drawback of choosing a minivan is that it can guzzle gas. However, today’s models offer superior fuel efficiency when compared to yesteryear. You might even opt for a hybrid model.
Expect most models to offer anywhere from 20 to 22 miles per gallon, with some versions enjoying even greater efficiency on the highway. You’ll spend roughly $2,000 a year on fuel if you drive as much as the standard family.
You can multiply that mileage several times over if you opt for a hybrid. If you go this route, now is the time to clean and organize your garage. You’ll need space to install your charging port.
Decide Whether to Buy or Lease
As with any new vehicle purchase, you’ll have to decide if you want to finance your ride through conventional means or lease it. Each method offers advantages.
A lease means that you never have to worry about unexpected repair costs — you take your vehicle to the dealer when it needs service. You should carefully read your excess wear-and-tear policy if you drive often. When your lease term ends, you may need to reimburse the cost of such usage. However, you know you get an upgraded ride every few years.
However, you also have a car payment every month in perpetuity if you lease. Purchasing your car allows you to pay off your vehicle and free yourself from that monthly expense.
Factor in Towing Capacity
One final factor many families overlook is factoring in the towing capacity of their new minivan. All current models can haul 3,500 to 3,600 pounds — enough for that camping trailer that renders your tent obsolete.
However, you’ll need to outfit your ride with a tow-hitch to take advantage of this amenity. Talk to your dealer at the point of purchase to find those that offer heavy-duty engine cooling and a load-leveling suspension instead of going after-market for the smoothest ride.
Choose the Right Minivan by Considering These Five Points
Your family deserves a safe, reliable and comfortable ride. Choose the right minivan by considering the five points above.