The top 10 family-friendly car features

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07 May 2018 by smartleasing

Family life is full of challenges and they don’t stop when you squeeze your brood into the car.

If your children are young, a whole list of items is required to massage the environment just to keep them safe, comfortable and happy. If the drive is long, they’ll get bored, tired and cranky. And all the addenda that accompanies them needs to be accommodated somewhere. 

Today’s best family haulers, however, are designed from the ground up with this stuff in mind. Get one that ticks off all of these features and you might even stop pining for the simplicity of pre-child motoring.

Fold-away seating

These seats fold out of the boot floor when you need them and away when you don’t, boosting seating capacity (typically to seven). Friends or grandparents can instantly be brought along for the ride, while offspring who clash on long trips can be separated to different rows.

ISOFIX anchor points

These standardised child-restraint anchor points are located in the seat base and allow a compatible baby capsule or child seat to be simply and securely clicked in. They can be a time-saver for those who regularly juggle child seats but, more importantly, reduce the chance of installation errors compared with traditional alternatives.

Individual back seats

These typically come in threes, and slide, recline and incorporate ISOFIX attachments. If you’re mixing and matching restraints or have to balance carrying leggy teens with newborns, they can be just what you need.

One-touch folding seats

Tapping into the added versatility of a split-fold back seat used to mean bending in and folding the backrest down yourself. These back-savers do it all with the press of a button or pull of a lever.

Hands-free tailgate

A power tailgate is handy but this feature operates it with a sweep of a foot under the rear bumper. It’s very handy when your hands are full juggling shopping and prams – not to mention children.

Integrated sunshades

No need for messy (and often ineffective) suction-cups on your windows with these – they roll out from the top of the doors and retract when you don’t need them.

Rear air vents

Having several bods in the back can get a bit sticky in warmer weather and vents help to better distribute the chill beyond the front-seat space. A good seven-seater will have them for both middle and final-row seats.

USB/12V outlets

Mandatory if your kids have reached the age of device addiction and you want to avoid the inevitable cranks that arise when their cherished tablet/smartphone battery goes flat. The best cars will have a couple of outlets for back-seat occupants, not just parents.

Surround-view camera

A reversing camera is desirable but surround-view throws in forward, side and a generated bird’s-eye view that allows you to see all around the car, not just behind.

Underfloor storage

A boot with a false floor that hides a handy, non-carpeted storage space is increasingly common these days. It’s the perfect spot for stashing wet towels, swimming gear and life’s other messier items.

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