Find the Right Family Vehicle!
The sales trends and buyer preferences for family vehicles almost exclusively point to SUVs and minivans. Large sedans and station wagons are no longer the vehicle of choice for families in the present day. Between SUVs and minivans, SUVs are also more popular. They offer a lot of choice in both two-row and three-row styles, plus towing ability and optional off-road ability. Many of them now come in hybrids as well and offer decent fuel economy for their size and other abilities. SUVs have the perception of being safer than minivans and more visually appealing as well. Some of the most popular family SUVs include the Ford Escape, Subaru Forester and Nissan Pathfinder.
Minivans still appeal to some families due to their larger cargo areas and easier access. The characteristic sliding door on a minivan tends to be much easier when it comes to loading small children and car seats. They also have a lower profile than SUVs, which makes it easier for kids to get in and out. In terms of cargo, most minivans have more room than the average SUV and loading tends to be easier as well. Some of the most popular minivans include the Kia Sedona, Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey.
What Are Some Popular Family Vehicles?
As previously mentioned, the Sedona, Sienna and Odyssey are the main stalwarts of the minivan category. The Sienna stands out as the only minivan that offers all-wheel-drive, which makes it a great choice for those who are worried about driving in adverse conditions. However, the Sedona is very budget-friendly starting at $27,000, and the Odyssey offers the most overall room. People who are looking for more features and a more luxurious family van can turn to the Chrysler Pacifica.
When it comes to two-row SUVs, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Escape and Subaru Forester are popular choices. The Escape gets high marks for being easy to handle, while the Forester is popular for its class-leading fuel economy. The Grand Cherokee is a well rounded vehicle and is especially pleasing on the eye.
For three-row SUVs, bigger is definitely better. Some of the top vehicles in this class include the Volkswagen Atlas, the Honda Pilot and the Nissan Pathfinder. The Atlas is one of the largest family-friendly SUVs available and it offers SUV-average gas mileage. The Pathfinder’s claim to fame is its well-rounded alert system, including an intelligent around-view monitor. Buyers who love everything about the Odyssey but don’t want a minivan should definitely look at the Pilot. It has nearly everything the Odyssey has, except in SUV form. For those who need a tougher, body-on-frame SUV, then the top ones to consider include the Jeep Wrangler four-door, the Chevy Suburban and Ford Expedition.
The Checklist: What To Look For In A Family Vehicle
When it comes to looking for the right family vehicle, it’s important to have an easy checklist of what to consider. Here are some factors to weigh:
Safety vs. Technology
Towing Ability vs. Cargo Space
Interior Comfort vs. Price Points
Fuel Economy vs. 4WD or AWD Systems
Some of these categories overlap and some can be sacrificed for others. Towing ability may be more important than cargo space, which would lead to looking at SUVs or some bulkier crossovers. At the same time, a highly upgraded interior typically means a higher price point. It’s important to weigh each factor based on the family’s specific needs.
Questions and Answers:
Find the answers to some common questions about finding the right family vehicle below.
Q: Are SUVs safer than minivans?
A: Not necessarily. Popular models in both categories have high safety ratings. SUVs can also be more difficult to handle than the more car like minivans.
Q: Which family vehicles get the best gas mileage?
A: Minivans and hybrid crossovers tend to get the best gas mileage.
Q: What should I get if I want towing ability?
A: Larger, body-on-frame SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban typically have the most towing ability.
Q: What’s the cheapest family vehicle?
A: Minivans typically cost less than SUVs when you compare highly ranked models with the most features. For example, a top trim Toyota Sienna starts in the $48,000 range, while a base trim Ford Expedition starts in the $51,000 range.
Q: What’s the difference between a crossover and an SUV?
A: Crossovers are a subcategory of SUV often used to refer to more carlike SUV. Originally SUVs offered car features on a truck chassis. Crossovers offered truck features on a car chassis. The terms are almost interchangeable at this point.