Getting A Second Family Car (AKA Replacing The ShitMobile)

The time has come for a change. Our car situation is no longer tenable. A growing family means that some things have to give, and in this case, that something is our Vauxhall Corsa.

Although cursed with the power of a Go Kart and capacity of a shopping trolley, the Corsa has served us well over the last six and a bit years. After the missus bought it brand new in 2009, the ShitMobile – as I have affectionately nicknamed it – has travelled the length and breadth of the country.

Starting life in Manchester, the car has lived in Birmingham, London and now semi-rural Hertfordshire. This isn’t the end though. The car will soon no longer be a part of our family – a threat I often use on the dog if he craps in the house – but it will continue life as the first car of a 17-year old or last car of a 77-year old.

Vauxhall Corsa car

The Corsa on one of it’s many adventures over the years.

Instead, we will look to part-exchange or sell the Corsa in order to fund a new car. Having got our first family car earlier this year, I now feel like a proper dab hand at car shopping. What was once an unknown and scary proposition actually feels pretty comfortable this time around. I understand the salesman’s chat. I understand the finance options on offer. I understand what rubber-isolated crossmembers and exhaust-gas recirculation means.

Oh, who am I kidding. I don’t have a clue. The missus is the one that’s meticulously researched, planned and organised everything car-related, just like she did last time. As she did such a good job in getting the best deal for our Nissan Juke, who am I to jump in and disturb her expert thought process?

When we were looking for our first family car, our requirements were pretty simple – (1) 5-doors, (2) more space, particularly the boot, (3) air conditioning and (4) as cheap as possible. Having looked at all of the options and the offers available, we ended up getting a Nissan Juke on a two-year lease period. This cost us a £700 up front fee, then just shy of £150 per month, then we give the car back at the end.

Pink cadillac wedding car

The pink Cadillac we had at our wedding probably isn’t ‘family friendly’.

I’ve always been one that prefers to buy something outright, so getting a lease was a bit of a different concept for me. However, having checked and double checked everything through, it made total sense for us to change our perspective and lease the car. Over the course of our contract, we’ll actually be spending less than we’d lose in depreciation if we bought the car brand new, so it makes sense from a financial perspective.

It also brings other benefits that suit us – we get a brand new car that we couldn’t afford outright, we have flexibility if our family situation changes, we don’t have to pay for a MOT, things are covered under warranty and it helps us better manage our finances as we know how much we owe each month.

We’ve not yet decided on what will replace the Corsa, but a lease from the likes of Parkway looks like our most likely option. Chances are we’ll be looking for a car not too dissimilar to that of the Juke – so something that is 5-doors, has a fair amount of space and actually has an engine that means you can overtake even on an incline. Yes, we could get a like-for-like replacement for the Corsa, but it feels like it makes more sense to up-scale slightly to give us options. It’s similar with a second-hand car – we’ve considered it, but just can’t be arsed with the hassle that comes with something that isn’t brand new.

Mustang in California

The Mustang convertible we had in California is probably a no…for now.

Having recently tested the Peugeot 308 GT Line, I’d love to be a bit less tight with money and splash the cash on getting a car with all of the luxuries like heated seats, reversing cameras, parking assist etc. But, unfortunately, we’re just not in a position to do that financially. As many ‘normal’ models of cars come with things like Sat Nav or Cruise Control as standard anyway, I’m pretty confident that the missus can once more sniff out a good lease deal which will get us what we want for the price we want.

RIP The Shitmobile.

How do you go about choosing a family car? Have you ever leased a car rather than bought outright? What would you suggest as a good family car? Let me know below!

N.B. This is a collaborative post written with Parkway Contracts, for which I was compensated for my efforts.

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  • emma j lowe

    with 3 children we dont look at anything other than the proper people carriers, not the wanna b’s as my hubby calls them (zafiras, grand scenic and such like) I drive a kia Sedona and the hubby has a Vectra, both 3l and the Vectra both cars are the flag ship model (we like abit of luxury), goes well too with being a V6 too. We have spoke about trading in the Vectra for a smaller car, as he only uses it for work, but the way I see it is, if the big bus needs going into the garage, we then need a car for the 3 darlings. a small car just wouldn’t cut it. both cars were brought 2nd hand no finance.
    wish you well in choosing another car. I would say though, as you already have your family car (the juke) i would say maybe your wife dont need a family car too.

  • Tim

    We’ve always been a 2-car household and have basically upgraded one of our cars as each child was born: so my 2-door Audi TT became a sensible 4-door Beemer, Heather’s Focus hatchback became an estate version, and then that was upgraded to a Ford S-Max (aka The Bus). But I finally got to trade in my ailing BMW, which cost me an unspeakable amount in repairs in the last 18 months of its life, for a completely impractical 2-door coupe earlier this year – the boys can get in and out of the back easily enough and Kara sits up front, so it’s *just* practical enough. From 2 doors to 4 and back to 2 again. That is the circle of life for you … 🙂

  • I base my car of choice on how many CD’s I can fit in it. 😉
    I have one of those Yaris thingys and it’s shit but it’s on a five year deal so I’m stuck with it. It’s spacious enough – lots of room for Damian and his entourage of cuddly owls and the boot can hold a big shop if you jam stuff in a bit and the lurcher fits in there no probs (just a few drool marks on the back window)
    It has to be a five door for me though, I can’t be arsed flipping seats back and forth. One should exit a car, not clamber out but that’s just me…The gears are shite. It does NOT like going from 3rd to 2nd and it’s on a recall for two separate issues – one being the airbag and the other a potentially dodgy window button. I had a Punto before that and I doubt that I’ll ever have another Yaris. As a second car, it gets us about but me and it are not in harmony. *pouts*