America is one big country. And on top of that; America is a free country. That means people are bound to be different from one another. If not for environmental differences – you can’t expect someone from desert-like New Mexico to be just like someone from snowy Minnesota, right? – people will be different from each other because of religion, living habits, cultural access etc.
So, whenever we try to make a “one size fits all” evaluation, it becomes really hard. Sure, we find an angle. This article, for instance, will talk about the best family vehicles for 2019 through an urbanite lens with SUVs and such, but for the Amish, for instance, it would make no sense, as their best family vehicle for 2019 (and any year, really) is probably a chariot with two sturdy horses pulling it. And one could argue that, looking ahead to the direction humanity is going, the best family vehicle is actually the subway, a bus, or any public transportation – not only due to the reduced environmental impact, and increasing traffic but also due to the lessons about respect, shared spaces, and an overall sense of living in society that riding public transportation can teach our children. No wonder a city like Chicago – with good options like the L train – snagged a place at our best cities for families list.
Anyhow, here we are. But before getting to the “meat” of it – the best family vehicles for people that need private cars to transport their own – let’s define what makes a good family vehicle.
What makes a good family vehicle?
There’s 4 things that define a good well-worth your money family vehicle.
Space – It’s a family, right? It’s not you and another passenger. You can’t have a two-seater to transport your family. You need seating space – comfortable seating space because kids tend to “spread” themselves around; they rarely sit quietly – for all your family members plus occasional friends that carpool with your kid, and luggage space because kids always bring spacious items along with them: strollers, basketballs, baseball bats, science fair projects… the best family vehicles need to be spacious.
Safety – It’s your family. You need the car to be super safe so no one gets hurt. Every seat must have nice adjustable seat belts so you can teach kids the importance of it early on. Airbags a must. Accessibility not only for special needs children but also to grandma and grandpa whenever they’re visiting, right? Plus, many other tech amenities that modern cars have – like attached cameras for better maneuvering when on reverse gear. Anything that makes your life easier and safe.
Durability – None of this matters if the car can only provide the safety and space for just a year. A nice family vehicle will last you for 5 years at least enduring, through thick or thin, thunder or rain, football game or ballet recital, all the voyages required to take care of your loved ones.
Value – Well, you have a family to take care of: if all of those features cost all of your savings, it’s not a good car. A nice family vehicle doesn’t break your bank. It has a fair value for what it gives you and, if matched with a lasting durability, it holds a good value for re-sale should you need it.
So, what makes a good family vehicle? The fact that the car is spacious, safe, durable and affordable in the long run of its lifespan as a “family member”. You laugh, but a trusting car is just like a family member. It’s always there, as important as the house you live in. If you think about it, it’s one of the places where families spend the most time together.
Best Minivan for families
The Honda Odyssey
One of the most noticeable features of the “soccer mom” concept was exactly driving a minivan, so you can see how minivans are the quintessential family vehicle, right? The Honda Odyssey serves justice to tradition and it might very well be the overall best family vehicle in this list. It has everything one family hopes.
Smart features like the “Magic slide” and the “HondaVac” shows that this car was made by someone that actually drives a family car. The HondaVac is pretty much what you think it is: one of the coolest and most useful features for a family vehicle; a built-in vacuum cleaner in the trunk of the car. Is there a dog in the family? Need to clean that fur mess? Just pull it from the trunk, vacuum away and, when done, put it back in its compartment. Now, the Magic Slide makes the second-row outboard seats move not just up and back, but side to side as well, so whenever the twins are enjoying their company they can sit shoulder to shoulder but whenever they’re waging war, you can ground them both; each on one side of the car. Genius, right? Not to mention the nice responsive infotainment system operated with a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi that is going to make your life much easier. Stream whatever magic YouTube video calms them down and makes a quiet drive home. And whenever on a road-trip your kids come with the classic “how much farther?”, use one of its app, which, through a calculation of the destiny you set into the car’s GPS system, shows a “Super Mario Bros”-like screen that shows your car and its distance to the destination – think a more fun “flight tracker” – making it just like a game, entertaining the little devils in the back of the car.
The Odyssey also has in-cabin camera and wireless phone charging, and a nice smartphone app that controls a lot of the car’s function. Here’s a cool one: everyone with the app can send a music from their phone to the car’s social playlist. Like a jukebox! (Access to it is, of course, revocable).
Honda is known for reliable durable cars plus retaining its value, and the car does 19 miles per gallon on the city and 28 on the highway. Getting all of that and adding to its initial price of around $30,000, the Odyssey is a steal so there is no doubt that it’s deserving of this title as the best family vehicle for 201 in the minivan category.
Best SUV for families
The Chevrolet Traverse
SUVs (or Special Utility Vehicles) are a halfway between being a car for families but also a car for challenges in the sense that they can ride difficult conditions like snow, mud, dirt etc. So, to make this evaluation of best family vehicles, we need to push it more to the family aspect and take it down a notch the whole “horse power” aspect of it and focus more on what makes a good family vehicle (as seen some paragraphs above). And that’s where we meet the Chevrolet Traverse.
The space inside the Traverse is quite remarkable. You’re looking at a big trunk even with all the three rows of seats up, but once they all go down… wow. It fits anything there! Carpooling won’t be a problem, and neither will moving and transporting large things (like boats if you’re thinking about moving to one of the best boating cities).
Now, one of the coolest features of the Traverse that makes it the best suv for families is the “Teen Driver” system. Here’s the thing: different from minivans, SUVs are sexy, and the Traverse can be a very enticing car for a teenager – male or female. So, Chevrolet thought of a way for parents to keep an eye on their children’s driving through some parental. With it, parents can set some vehicle parameters – like volume limit so he or she won’t get distracted by music, speed alert… – and will even output a sort of report card of its driving so you can check some stats and keep an eye on how he or she is progressing the driving. When your son starts college, moves away from under your wings and you become an empty nester, you can be sure you won’t die of preocupattion when he drives off to his student accommodations.
The Chevy Traverse makes 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 in the highway and its initial price is also almost $30,000 dollars.
Best Luxury Family Car
With luxury family cars, the features that makes good family vehicles are still there but there’s an addition of exquisite taste in the details. The price, of course, becomes bigger and space and practicality can also be slightly sacrificed because they don’t always go along with “luxury”. Considering all of that, the Audi Q7 truly excels. The panel and the infotainment screen have razor-sharp digital resolution and intuitive commands, and each little detail from the interior and exterior is just gorgeous. You enter the car and it’s just a lovely combination of nice leather, steel and a pearly material. The exterior has nice curves that do not sacrifice its aerodynamics and maintains the Q7 a safe vehicle.
The motor is a beast and, with 19 miles per gallon in the city and 25 in the highway, it does consume more fuel than the other cars on this list. But, like we said, when you throw luxury in the mix that is bound to happen. The ideal thing is to have one “ready for war” vehicle and another one to be used on special occasions where you need to look chic. The initial price is of Audi Q7 is R$53,000 dollars and it earns our best luxury family car award.
When it comes to cars, that question of parenting and who had it harder – your or your mom – it’s definitely your mom. Look at the amount of help those cars and its features can provide! Remember that price can always change and the car industry is always coming up with new things, but anyways we hope this article has helped you to figure out what makes a good family vehicle so you can choose the best one for you and your family!