Tips for Buying a Family Car

Your growing family comes with a long list of needs, and buying a car may be one of the biggest decisions you make. Kansas City Mom Collective sat down with Morgan Oakes of Oakes Kia to get her advice for what to look for in a family car.

What are your favorite features in a car that make life easier? 

Blind spot assist

Alerts you when there is a vehicle nearby since there can be so many distractions with kids in the car. Car seats can sometimes create blind spots that block your view, so I find this alert super helpful.  

Lane assist

This helps to alert you when you’re veering out of your lane, quite possibly because you are passing a snack to the back seat for the 10th time. 

Backup cameras and 360 view

This confirms there’s no bikes, cars or kids behind you when you’re reversing out of your driveway or a tight parking space in the school pickup lot. 

Overall safety and reliability of the vehicle

You want to feel safe with kids in the car. Kia was rated the Most Dependable Mass Market Brand by J.D. Power for 3 Years in a Row. The 2023 Kia Telluride was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ in 2023 and was recognized as a standout model in crash prevention. 

How do you choose between a SUV or van?

Both are great family friendly options. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice, but here are some points of differentiation: 

  • Vans and MPVs have sliding doors, so they are easier for kids to get in and out and less banging other cars in parking lots. 
  • Style. Many parents prefer the sleeker, sportier look of an SUV and like the variety of options on the market. They also tend to offer more interior amenities for a more luxurious cabin experience. For those that are more into the style of an SUV, the Kia Carnival gives you the best of both – appearance of an SUV in style, but the functionality of a van with sliding doors! 
  • Cargo space. Generally, vans have more cargo space, but larger SUVs can also offer plenty of room. The Kia Carnival has the best-in-class cargo and passenger space out of any MPV on the market. If you have large double strollers or wagons, you could pre-measure the cargo area or bring your equipment to the dealership to make sure it will fit.
  • For more in depth information, check out this article.

What are the latest luxury features that make your mom/kid life easier?

  • Kia has a full rear entertainment system with device mirroring capabilities that can keep your kids occupied during a long road trip.
  • Passenger view camera display with night vision so you can keep an easy eye on your kids even in the dark.
  • Panoramic roof. My kids love this feature especially when we’re in the car wash.
  • Heated/cooling seats and heated steering wheels make our Midwest winters and summers more bearable.
  • Remote start. I love getting into a climate-controlled car after a hot summer day or to warm my car up after being outside on a freezing winter day. You can preset this via Kia’s UVO Link app, which lets you set climate controls or remotely start the SUV.
  • The Kia Carnival’s Slide-Flex seating system makes it easy to arrange the vehicle’s interior to fit your needs – including folding into a table for use.
  • Panoramic touch screen display – 12.3-inch Dual Panoramic Displays offer a combined 24-inches of display.
  • EV9 – Kia’s all-new, all-electric SUV with towing capacity up to 5,000 lbs and seating for 7 adults. If you are interested in an all electric vehicle option, the Kia EV9 will be a game changer!

What are the biggest considerations for new parents when evaluating vehicles and what dealership to work with?

Take into consideration your needs and desires in a vehicle. Some questions to ask yourself: 

  • Do you need a vehicle for space/capacity? How about in the future if your family grows more?
  • Are you concerned about gas mileage? Consider hybrid or electric, but all Kia vehicles offer competitive gas mileage. 
  • Take into consideration the vehicle’s warranty. Oakes Kia offers a complimentary lifetime powertrain warranty on all new purchased vehicles. 
  • Review safety ratings for all the vehicles you are considering. 
  • Look up online reviews for the dealerships you’re visiting. 
  • Overall ease of doing business with the dealership. Do they return your phone calls or emails in a prompt manner, treat you with respect, and are friendly to deal with?
  • Inquire about the service maintenance package that comes with your purchase. Oakes Kia offers two free years of service with new and used vehicles, saving you out of pocket expenses for oil changes. 
  • Vehicle resale value. Research if your chosen vehicle holds its value over time. The 2023 Kia Telluride was recognized for the highest residual value among Midsize SUVs with 3-Row Seating in the J.D. Power 2023 awards.
  • Determine how much you’re willing to spend each month by using our online payment calculator and you can get pre-qualified to give you a ballpark figure of what you can qualify for with no impact to your score. 

What are the benefits of buying new vs. used?

There are pros and cons to both. One thing to consider when buying a high mileage used car, it may be a lower monthly payment, but the potential repairs and maintenance down the road may add up to being more in the long run. A new vehicle will have a full manufacturer warranty and a certified pre-owned vehicle have some lifespan of a warranty.


Morgan Oakes is marketing director for Oakes Automotive Group in Kansas City, consisting of Oakes Kia, Oakes Ford, and Oakes Buick GMC.  She holds a B.S. in Journalism, strategic communications, from the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!) She enjoys traveling, coffee, quality conversations with friends, cheering on the Chiefs and the Royals and spending time with husband/business partner, Dan and her two boys, Sutton (4) and Everett (3).

Laura Mulcahy
Laura is wife to Marty, and mom to Michael (11), Joseph (9) and Anna (5). She spends most of her days juggling working from home, shuffling kids to activities and can usually be found cheering on the boys from the baseball stands. She is born and raised in Kansas City, graduated from KU (Rock Chalk Jayhawk!) and has spent most of her career in advertising sales. She loves big Italian family dinners, trying out new restaurants in Kansas City on a rare date night and can never say no to an impromptu dance party with her kids.