Itâ€™s that time of year again, when you question where the summer holidays have gone and plan your strategy for the school run struggle.
While itâ€™s great to embrace embrace other means of getting to school – walking, cycling, public transport – sometimes itâ€™s hard not to turn to the trusty car.
Whether you have a long journey to the school, your child has a lot of kit to take with them, the schoolâ€™s on your way to work or youâ€™re simply short on time, sometimes taking a car is the best option.
- Always check the vehicle history to ensure that it isnâ€™t stolen and that there is no outstanding finance on the vehicle
- Consider an independent vehicle inspection for peace of mind, and make sure that you
- Shop around for competitive finance deals. The first deal you see might not be the best one you can get
With this in mind, James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars offers some advice on what to look out for when choosing the right car for you and your family when heading out on the school run or acting as Mum or Dadâ€™s taxi service for school events.
James comments: â€œWhen choosing a car with the school run in mind, there are some features to look for that can help with the unique challenges you might face. Squeezing into a tight parking spot can be made a whole lot easier with built-in parking sensors or rear cameras for example. Having ample boot space will also allow for the violin, books, PE kit and everything but the kitchen sink.
â€œIt goes without saying that safety and security are essential items for consideration. Buying a car with a high safety rating and even autonomous emergency brakes will go some way towards helping you avoid a school run accident.â€
With all of this taken into consideration, here are five recommended cars that will guarantee a smooth ride on your back-to-school commute and wonâ€™t compromise on you being the coolest parent on the playground.
This mid-size SUV is a great place to start when looking at ideal commuter cars. Newer versions are seriously high-tech and is also offered as a plug-in hybrid version. It has easy to follow infotainment systems; top-level safety features and is extremely roomy. Climate control and wipe-clean leather upholstery as standard are also some practical specifications in a car that will be used to cart children around. This is a firm favourite with EuroNCAP (the European New Car Assessment Programme), being one of the safest cars it has ever tested and receiving five stars for safety.
The Volkswagen Tiguan was initially marketed at â€˜coolâ€™ mums and dads turning up effortlessly at the school gates, but donâ€™t let that put you off. Beneath the clichÃ©s is a genuinely great family car that delivers on substance just as much as it does style. The general height of this SUV increases all-round visibility, giving you better sight of any hazards in front – coupled with the built-in parking sensors make parking this car much easier, despite its size. Then thereâ€™s the all-important child-occupying infotainment system, which happens to be among the best there is on the market,
Hyundai i30 Hatchback
A family car certainly doesnâ€™t have to be large and the Hyundai i30 is testament to that. With a comfortable yet spacious interior, this hatchback gives drivers ample room for their daily needs. The car is highly rated in safety tests and newer models are fitted with autonomous emergency braking and blind spot detection as standard, perfect for busy school areas. The car even looks out for unsafe movements made at higher speeds, giving you a helping hand for when the coffee hasnâ€™t quite kicked in yet. And Hyundai is planning to launch a plug-in hybrid version soon.
This all-electric car is both a practical addition to this list and, with zero emissions, an environmentally-sound option too, ensuring parents and their children are comfortable and safe. The optional 360-degree camera makes parking a breeze and the 435-litre boot space will give you all the room you and your kids need. The e-pedal functionality in the latest version of the Nissan Leaf is also a great piece of technology meaning the majority of your driving can be done using just one pedal: press down the accelerator and the car quickly accelerates, lift off and the car slows while regenerating the battery. The â€˜Pro Pilotâ€™ intelligent cruise control option automatically keeps pace with moving traffic, always maintaining a safe distance from the car in front and helping you keep in lane. Thereâ€™s even a self-parking option for less-confident drivers.
Donâ€™t let this budget option fool you into thinking you are compromising on substance. Make no mistake, the Kia Sportage 4×4 SUV is excellent value with tons of useful features such as touchscreen sat-nav, cruise control and those ever-popular parking sensors. The seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty is peace of mind to any owner and makes this an ideal car to be picked up on the used car market, as the warranty is transferable to its new owner, so long as itâ€™s re-purchased within the seven years and has a full service record. And of course, it is a very roomy car that your youngsters will enjoy just as much as you.