What to look for in a family car
Of all of the life events the predicate a new car purchase, a growing family is the most terrifyingly exciting.
Here at Autos +, we’re parents as well as car lovers. We’ve chucked our own children into these cars. Strapped in their car seats. Loaded their strollers. Changed diapers on tailgates. Cleaned stuff off the seats and the carpets. Based on our evaluations, these are the best cars for families, especially ones who still have a kid in a car seat.
Don’t like any of our suggestions? Read on for a handy list of things to look out for when shopping for your new family car.
This is a no-brainer. Honda does family-friendly functionality like nobody else and the CR-V is a shining example of this. The 2017 model gets two inches more rear legroom which, in practice and paired with the rear doors that open 90-degrees, makes loading carseats a breeze. That it offers center LATCH mounts is gravy. The CR-V also has available height-adjustable power liftgate, keyless entry and ignition and a suite of active safety features dubbed “Honda Sensing.”
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
That we had a difficult time deciding between the Pacifica Hybrid and the Honda Odyssey shows just how far Chrysler has come with its new minivan. On its own, the Pacifica minivan is very, very good. It’s a phenomenally useful package that’s prettier than any minivan needs to be with interior materials and build quality that rival the best in class. The power sliding doors and liftgate that seem silly to your younger self are transformative when paired with an armful of wriggling baby. But that’s old hat for minivans, what really sets the Pacifica apart is the powertrain. This plug-in hybrid mininvan is capable of an EPA-estimated 33 miles on electricity and a total range of 570 miles. Not only is this distance lower than the average commute, but the ability to refuel from the quiet of home can only be appreciated by those who have had to stop for gas with a screaming baby. Oh, and of course there’s a build-in vacuum.
While we highly recommend the two choices already covered, we get that not everyone has the space, desire or budget for a crossover or minivan and for those parents there is the all-new Subaru Impreza. Like the CR-V, the new Impreza got a boost in rear legroom that makes a world of difference for parents. But the new Impreza has more to offer than just rear space. Eyesight, Subaru’s available advanced safety system, offers collision mitigation with full-force braking. All-wheel drive is standard. There’s an available five-door hatchback. A manual transmission is available. It can return up to 32 mpg combined according to the EPA. And, finally, it starts around $20,000.
What To Look For When Shopping for a New Family Car:
- Rear seat space: Check how wide the door opens and whether or not the pillar gets in the way of loading a kid/car seat. Make sure the passenger seat has some space with a car seat installed.
- Rear seat height: We favor crossovers to wagons for most parents because the added seat height makes loading kids easier.
- Cargo space: Already have your stroller? Take it shopping with you. They don’t all fit in all cargo spaces. Even some crossovers have trouble.-Cargo load height: Another reason we like crossovers. Using the cargo hold as a diaper changing station and trying to load a heavy diaper bag is easier with a slightly higher floor. Watch out that it’s not too high, though.
- Advanced safety tech: Babies and children can be shockingly distracting, let a suite of computers and sensors help you out. Forward crash detection/mitigation is a wonderful support system.
- Keyles entry/ignition: Think this is just a luxury item? Ever try to dangle a set of keys in front of an infant and then take them away? Or try to fish keys out of your pocket with one hand full of infant and another of half-chewed banana?