Family Car Buying Guide: Questions to Ask Before Buying a Family SUV

Turns out, we are a buying a car! It’s like having a baby; but with more upfront costs, depreciates quickly, yet fun to ride.

We are in the market for a seven seater car and it’s something we have never looked at in our life. The good news is that every car manufacturer has one seven seater offering – and it’s usually just one model. The porblem is that the pricing for a seven seating car in the same models can vary $10,000-40,000 (thanks Volvo!).

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When it comes to buying a larger car, I mean SUV/crossover/minivan/small creature bus, what matters to you may not matter to someone else. And those details will determine which car you should buy.

I designed this handy guide to ask yourself and your partner on what matters to you when purchasing a seven seating SUV. You can also download this handy PDF. I’m hoping to put together a test in the upcoming weeks that you can take and receive suggestions on best matches.

Questions to ask yourself when buying a 7 seater car:
Do you want three full rows (two passengers in the front, 3 passengers in the middle, 2 passengers in the rear) or a second captain’s row?
A captain’s row is where the middle is just two seats and use identical seat framing as the front seat. They are often more comfortable, but can cost more money while losing the 7th seat.

Do you want second row seats to fold down and be flush with the flooring or just fold down? Or does it not matter?

Do you prefer the second row seats to move together as one unit (3 seats), two units (1 seat, 2 seats) or it doesn’t matter?

Do you plan to keep the third row seats in regular use for people or folded down for more truck space?

Do you want the third row seats to comfortably accommodate adults, older children, or babies/toddlers?

Do you want the third row seats to fold down?

Do you want the rear doors to open as regular, lift up falcon style (e.g. the Tesla Model X), or automatically slide open and close?

Car perks
Do you want a full spare tire and kit?

Do you want Apple Airplay, Android Play and other similar latest connectivity?

Do you want USB cables? This way you can connect your phone and charge.
Because some car manufacturers charge to add a USB outlet. Facepalm.

Do you want standard outlets?
If you are a pumping mom or someone who will travel on the road a lot, consider this.

Do you want automated parking for parallel parking (and regular parking)?

Do you want high definition screens?
Makes a big difference when you’re looking at a map or anything else for that matter.

Do you want driver seat memory?
If you are short and your spouse is tall, seat memory will keep you two from quarreling.

Do you want a tow hitch?
If you are an outdoor person and plan to take bikes and things on trips, a tow hitch will be helpful. You can also add it post purchase.

Do you prefer yearly maintenance or every six months?

How much does a speaker system matter to you? Rank from (1) a little to (5) a lot.

Do you want a traditional sunroof (1/3rd the room) or panoramic sunroof?

Engine and systems
Do you want AWD or two wheel drive?

Do you want a turbocharged v4 engine, v6 engine, eco/eco boost v4 engine or frankly have no idea what is written here.

Do you want gas, electric only, or hybrid?

Do you want a tighter drive or a soft drive?
The difference here is suspension control. A tighter suspension gives the car more oompf, is noisier, yet tends to be more fun to drive.
Soft drive is for people who want confort and ease and don’t care about their car being an oompf maker.

3 Tips to Survive an International Trip with a Toddler and Newborn

That’s right folks, how do you survive traveling with a toddler and newborn across the world? You don’t.

Just kidding! You can travel with babies and toddlers but you need a few tips. And a lot of drinks. Hahaha.

#1 Think positively – This may sound like a bunch of juju, but you are going to make it to the destination. There maybe a lot of crying, screaming, and wondering why you choose to torture yourself, but you and the kids will reach the final destination and hotel in one piece. Take a deep breath and know you are embarking on an experience together – that is priceless.

#2 Entertain & Food
– Depending on the age of your kids, you can provide them with some entertainment. On long distance flights this may mean a lot of toys and creative ideas, short haul flights have it easy. Pack toys and books that your kids like and are light weight. Younger toddlers do well with magnets, stickers, washi tape, and lightweight books. Older toddlers can do sticker books, Duplos, dolls, cars and other imaginative play.

Pack snacks! Lots of good snacks. Don’t bring out the candy and junk food because the last thing you need is a hyperactive toddler. Pack Cheerios (puffs), small sandwich bites, non-juicy fresh fruit like bananas, blueberries, cut apples, rice crackers, cheese sticks, pouches, water bottle and milk.

#3 Give yourself a break – There will be meltdowns. You will cry, the children will cry, everyone will cry. It’s okay. Hang tight. Breathe (see tip #1!). Eat an extra chocolate for yourself. Have a drink. Don’t enforce all the rules you have at home, though please don’t be the parent who puts headphones on and ignores the kids. When you reach your destination, take a hot shower. You deserve it – love yourself.

I hate the cliche that “you can do it!” because traveling across the continent, the Pacific, the Atlantic on a plane with young ones is terrifying. All I can say is, you are not alone.