If you’re on the lookout for a family car, here are a few things to consider before you make the purchase. First, how big is your family and are you planning to grow in the future? Even if your family is small, consider a car with a lot of space for passengers, as well as the much-needed cargo space for vacation time.

Finding a family car takes a lot of research, so get all the information you need before you start test-driving a vehicle.

For example, a five-door car is a great choice, especially if you’re frequently moving little ones into and out of car seats. A minivan may not be everybody’s choice. If you have a large family, though, it may be a good choice for you. SUVs are also great for comfort, cargo space, reliability and providing many essential safety features as well. However, if you are looking at this market, be sure to check out the fuel economy, as you won’t want a gas-guzzler that isn’t affordable.

Should you buy a new or used car? It is all a matter of your budget. If you can’t afford a new car, worry not. There are plenty of quality used cars on the market. How much you can afford or what you are willing to spend on a car should be discussed before viewing. Once you have decided on a price, stick to it and don’t let any car dealers talk you into buying something you can’t afford. Once you know what you can afford, start by comparing cars. Ask yourself, what does this family vehicle have to offer for the money?

The highest and most important feature should be safety. And if you are planning on traveling long distances, then good fuel economy is a must. You need enough room for the whole family, so be sure to buy one that everyone will fit in comfortably. Pay particular attention to space size. Your kids may be small now, but they will need a vehicle that has room for them to grow in.

You can easily research online. Once you have decided on the type of car, go to a reputable Web site like Cars.com to check it out. Look at more than one vehicle and make comparisons to help you determine which one is going to best suit your needs.

Entertainment features are great for family fun if you can afford the extra cost. DVD and music systems are ideal for keeping the children happy while on a family vacation. Things like extra storage space for little items that your kids might bring along are a good idea, too. If you can afford the extra expense, these gadgets are a great solution for family entertainment purposes.

Test-driving the vehicle before buying it will help you choose the best family car for everyone. Go on your own for the first viewing and check everything out. On the second trip to the dealer take the whole family and anything else, such as booster or car seats that you will be using on a daily basis. Get feedback from your family on whether this car will work for all of you.

Whether you decide on a new or used car, you can always negotiate on the price. A family car should be economical, safe, reliable, comfortable, and, most of all, fun for the whole family.

Types of family cars and their benefits:

SUV: The SUV has many benefits for families, including plenty of room for people and cargo. Excellent for taking the kids to school or going on a raod trip. Most are comfortable and built to last, ideal for the city or the highway.

Wagon: Wagons are becoming popular again as family vehicles. They have a great amount of room for any family vacation and as your family grows and expands, this vehicle can be kept for years to come.

Sedan: Sedans are comfortable and roomy at the same time. A family can fit comfortably in one of these. They are usually modern and the design won’t be outdated any time soon.

Minivan: Minivans are ideal for large families, and they are also not as boring as they used to be. You can pick up a nice minivan that does everything you want a family vehicle to do, all at an affordable price.

This special advertising section was written by Pauline Abreu, a freelance writer, in conjunction with The Washington Post Custom Content department. The production of this supplement did not involve The Washington Post news or editorial staff.