7. Do a fit test. Check out the cargo area with seating positions set the way you'd expect them to be during daily driving. Will everybody fit? What about the dog? Is there room in the back to carry sports and school gear while all the kids are aboard?
8. While you're checking out your potential new family vehicle, consider what it will take to get your crew in and out, especially if you plan to move youngsters or grandparents. Not everybody can easily climb in the back of a tall SUV.
9. If you're buying a vehicle with three rows of seating, pay close attention to seating position of the second row, and how it affects the one behind it. That third row can be a challenge to get into, depending on how the seats are set up in the second row.
10. Speaking of the third row and its passengers, ensure that the last row has adequate ventilation. Do the rear occupants have control of their own temperature and airflow? If during the test-drive you hear reports of discomfort or claustrophobia, pay attention. Better to know now than in mile 100 of a road trip. This might also be a good time to check out how many rear USB ports the vehicle has. And don't forget to count the cupholders.
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11. Know that your new car might not have a spare tire. Many vehicles come only with tire repair and inflator kits. (Carmakers do this to save space and weight.) If the car you've chosen doesn't have a spare tire, have a plan ahead of time for how you'll deal with a flat in the middle of nowhere. If that idea fills you with dread, consider buying a spare in the parts department. Ask your salesperson.
12. How easy is it to install a car seat? Bring yours along to confirm an easy and appropriate fit. Will you be using more than one car seat? Bring them both. When you're checking out the rear seats, be sure to check the LATCH attachments and positions.
13. If you're getting an SUV or minivan, take a moment to open the rear hatch and check the load height. When you're moving lots of heavy or bulky items — like a double stroller — having a lower load height can make life a lot easier on you and your back.
14. Sit in all seats, and have your family do the same thing. Make sure they have the features, comfort and adjustments you expect them to.
15. Once you've completely checked out the new car and you've decided to make it yours, tell your salesperson you want to finish your deal quickly — unless hanging out at the dealership is your thing. If you take our advice and shop on a weekday, a relatively fast wrap-up really is possible. On a Saturday afternoon, it could take a lot longer.