20 Parents Share What Want in their Next Family Car
Car shopping is hard enough without all the deals, APR calculations, special offers, and free floor mats. There are so many options for brand, SUV vs something small, gas vs. electric vs. hybrid. Where should we even start?
Let’s start with the numbers and find the highest rated vehicles to suit the needs of the parents.
A huge thanks to some of my awesome fellow Parenting Bloggers who shared what they’re looking for. Check them out at:
- All Good in the Fatherhood
- A Dads Adventures
- Good Bad Dad
- DadBlog UK
- Adventures in Familyhood
- Scott R. Davis
- Year of the Dad
From the numbers, it looks like most parents need a lot of space (duh! My daughter “needs” to bring a selection of toys and 3 full changes of clothes for even the shortest trip), want Comforts (A/C, screen for maps, electric seats, etc.), and need something that can cope with family adventures and staycations as well as fitting in the groceries.
There are always options for getting extra storage like a roof box, but apart from loading it up for a camping trip or family staycation, climbing up to put things on the top of the vehicle is a huge hassle. If you need to haul lots of grocery bags, a stroller and daytrip gear, or filling up on the occasional IKEA trip, a trunk door that opens wide and large square footage is key.
Watch out for sedans which may look like they have enough storage, but the actual loading space is surprisingly small. Pro tip (that I wish I’d done) is bring a big stroller or suitcase and put it in the vehicle before you buy it. If it’s even a little snug, walk away! I lived to lament the trunk space on my Ford Focus.
SUVs and Minivans are the most popular styles of family car mainly due to the sheer amount of internal volume. 3-row SUVs are awesome for the option to go between carrying up to 7 people to folding down the back seats and carrying more luggage.
According to ConsumerReports.org, here are the vehicles with the most storage room:
Minivans with 60 cubic feet or more:
- Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L
- Ford Transit Connect
- Honda Odyssey EX-L
Small SUVs with 24 cubic feet or more:
- Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE
- Honda HR-V LX
- Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium
Mid-Sized/ Large SUVs with 32 cubic feet or more:
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid Ltd.
- Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited (diesel)
- Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Wagons/ Hatchbacks with 24 cubic feet or more:
- Toyota Prius V Three
- Ford C-Max Hybrid SE
- Kia Soul Plus
Electric Vehicles and Hybrids
There are more and more electric charging stations, tax rebates, and the best parking spots, all to encourage the new generation of car purchases to be better for the environment. Whether they run completely on battery power, as a part gas/part electric, or use the gas engine to charge the battery, any movement away from gas is a great thing.
The only point that worries me as a soon-to-be car buyer is that for longer trips I’d have to plan charging time along the way. Although the range is almost always longer than I need, I’m a nervous gas tank watcher and almost never go below the halfway mark and need to know I can fill up at any gas station. More fast-charging stations are on the way, but for now, a hybrid is as future-proof as I’ll go.
Car and Driver have rated their favourite electric vehicles and hybrids for 2020:
- Hyundai Kona Electric: “Its long driving range and spunky driving personality make the 2020 Kona Electric one of the best electric vehicles on sale today.”
- Chevy Bolt EV: “The 2020 Bolt EV is an all-electric hatchback with a long driving range, spacious cabin, and affordable price tag.”
- Honda Insight: While some hybrids announce their noble planet-saving intentions with wild exterior styling, the 2020 Insight disguises its hybrid powertrain with a conventionally styled exterior.”
- Toyota Corolla: “With its long history of providing affordable transportation, the Corolla has always been a great choice for savvy buyers. While the previous generation had improved safety, it lacked the style and substance found on rivals.”
- Toyota RAV4: “Toyota brings together its decades of hybrid-powertrain dominance and its top-selling SUV to form the 2020 RAV4 Hybrid. This electrified version of the RAV4 offers the same practical and spacious cabin as the regular model as well as low-cost value trims and high-end near-luxury models—although the hybrid tech does add a price premium.”
- Chrysler Pacifica: “At the top of the minivan heap is the 2020 Pacifica, which excelled in much of our testing and is competitive with its rivals in other tests. We like the Pacifica so much, in fact, that we have named it to our 10Best Trucks and SUVs list multiple times.”
Driving for Fun
I love driving and want my next vehicle to be fun to drive. I want it to look awesome when I take photos of it and I want to feel good driving it. I completely understand that this is nothing to do with the practicality of it. Having said that, shouldn’t the vehicle I’m spending money on and driving all the time bring me happiness?
For me, the Jeep, Bronco, or Land Rover will always be the vehicles that make me turn my head and dream about driving them.
I want my daughter to have fun memories of adventures we had in it, even when it’s just parked outside the house. To me, the family vehicle is more than a tool or something practical. It’s something that takes you on a journey. It’s a place to spend hours, covering mile after mile of scenery, a place for the passengers to nap and wake up somewhere completely new, to throw in a couple of bags and create memories and to sing loudly along to the radio even when you are hideously out of tune.
I still haven’t decided what we’ll be driving away in next so stay tuned!
According to Edmunds.com, the highest rated in each category right here: