Buying a new Family VehicleApril 23, 2015
Did you outgrow your car thanks to a new addition to the family? Good news! There are so many vehicles choices these days to make shuttling your family around far more enjoyable. Here are some tips to select the perfect family car.
Car seat laws vary by state, however, in most cases, it is recommended to keep children up to age 12 in a booster seat. Rear and forward facing car seats take up significantly more space than a booster seat and typically make it difficult to use the center space in your back seat. Therefore, if you have more than two children, you’ll need a third row of seating.
Wanting a third row in a car doesn’t limit you to minivans, though. There are several SUVs that feature a third row seat, such as a Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Hyundai Santa Fe or Nissan Rogue. These SUVs, which have received high ratings from “U.S. News & World Report,” starting at $25,000 and typically get between 16 and 20 miles per gallon.
According to CAR-Research XRM (www.carxrm.com), if a minivan is what you’re after, there are many options that will fit your family comfortably. Some unique features to look for include in-floor storage, which is available in the Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Grand Caravan and Honda Odyssey. This is great for storing extra toys or sports equipment. While not an entirely new feature, the rear backup camera is something you won’t know how you lived without. Backing out of driveways or parking spaces will be much easier to manage in the large vehicle with the help of the camera. Vehicles that come equipped with a rear camera include Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna.
Of course, if you’re transporting one or two children, you don’t need to go the route of a large SUV or minivan. According to CAR-Research XRM (www.carxrm.com), there are several wagon crossovers or compact SUV options to choose from that will still give you enough cargo space for a family road trip or to cart around all of the sporting equipment. Many feature low gas mileage, ride higher than traditional sedans and are available in luxury brands, such as Audi, BMW and Cadillac.
Getting the Best Value
One of the challenges of purchasing a family vehicle is that they need to be large enough to accommodate your family, which means they typically get poor gas mileage. Fortunately, there are now large vehicles available in hybrid and fuel efficient models. The Toyota Hylander Hybrid gets 28 miles per gallon on the highway and the Mitsubishi Outlander boasts an impressive 31 miles per gallon on the highway – better than some large sedans! Meanwhile, the Honda Odyssey gets 28 miles per gallon in the city. While some of these vehicles cost more initially, the overall cost can be lower since you will fill them up far less often.
Once you’ve figured out your must haves, you can consider some of the softer features. Is it the right height to get your kids in and out easily, particularly when they are still in a rear facing car seat? Are the seats easy to move? Do the doors open automatically? It may not seem like much, but when your hands are full with baby and groceries, a door that automatically opens is pretty great!
So, whether you’re buying for a family of three, five or six, there are a variety of vehicles available to meet your family’s needs. From crossover to minivan, you’ll surely find the right fit.