Whether a single parent, couple, young or old family, choosing a new vehicle has a far-spanning lists of considerations to explore. Considering the practical criteria such as family size, type of driving and fuel economy, other factors regarding personal tastes of adults along with children goes into the search. The driving experience can be a situation of pleasure as the moments moving between schools, malls, supermarkets and other destinations will be remembered more than one can initially conceive.
The following list of happening 2012 family vehicles combine exciting amenities, relaxing interior and are all IIHS Top Safety Pick certified.
A full-sized American car, the Dodge Charger has an exterior design infused with a significant amount of attitude. Freshened for the 2011 model year, the Dodge Charger also sports a more refined interior design that will comfortably seat five passengers. Cruise control, power door locks, dual zone manual temperature control and a six-speaker, Uconnect Touch stereo with a 4.3-inch interface display are all standard. The infotainment technology inside of the Charger can be upgraded to an 8.4-inch touchscreen display that features Garmin navigation and SD card reader slot. Providing more than competent economy with up to 31 miles per gallon in highway travel, the 292-horsepower 3.6 liter Pentastar V-6 power plant can be mated with an ultra-smooth 8-speed automatic transmission perfect for driving while the kids are falling to sleep. A more powerful 5.7 liter HEMI V-8 and all-wheel drive is also available on the Charger sedan when needed (or simply wanted).
For the obsessed Mopar family, it is never too early to teach the children that there is no replacement for displacement. The Charger SRT8 6.4 liter HEMI V-8 engine is a lesson of how 470-horsepower can promptly thrill a schoolyard parking lot. However, the Dodge Charger SRT8’s stingier fuel economy (even with the car’s Fuel Saver Technology) could occasionally add a few minutes onto a commute when gas station stops are required.
The safety equipment array on all Dodge Charger sedans guarantees a full array of airbags supported by occupant restraint controller, all-speed traction control system, automatic headlamps and height adjustable seat belts.
Sporting well-equipped, reasonably priced vehicles, Hyundai clout as a family-friendly brand has soared. In 2011, a redesigned Hyundai Sonata sedan took direct aim at the long-favoured Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion for the all-around family car crown.
Featuring a 190-horsepower 2.4 liter inline-4, 2.0 liter turbocharged engine producing 274-horsepower and a gasoline/electric hybrid model, average fuel economy for the Hyundai Sonata vehicle range spans from 26 to 37 miles per gallon. Fuel mileage combined with a sticker price just below $20,000 making the Sonata a rational buy when reviewing the household budget. Standard features on the basis Sonata GLS model includes Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, cruise control and a stereo system that features an iPod-compatible input jack. In addition to that standard equipment, air conditioning and a cabin air filter provides the stylized comfort for up to five passengers. The up-level SE or Limited models of the Sonata provide family-oriented features such as heated rear seats, HD Radio and optional Autonet navigation.
The Hyundai Sonata sedan also boosts sizable cargo space of 16.4 cubic feet with 60/40 split rear fold-down seat availing larger payloads such as skis and snowboards to be securely stored.
Toyota Prius v
For the parents of technology-savvy, Blackberry or iPhone-connected children, the gasoline/electric hybrid Toyota Prius could be a car they may have more familiarity with than the mother and father. Stretched by a little over 3 inches in wheelbase compared to the conventional Prius hatchback, the Prius v was introduced as a more cargo capable variant of the popular Toyota model name. With five-passenger capacity for the typical family, the Toyota Prius v can also fit up to 34.3 cubic feet for their belongings. The Toyota Prius v has a maximum cargo space of 67.3 cubic feet in the rear seats are folded.
The 1.8 liter Atkinson cycle gasoline engine combined with the 60-kilowatt permanent magnet electric motor secures a more than adequate launch through the errands of everyday life burning just a gallon of fuel after an average distance of 42 miles. Pitch and Bounce Control of the Toyota Prius v provides ride quality pleasing even the discriminating families. While a large accompaniment of standard features comes loaded on every Toyota Prius v, the optional Entune infotainment system could be an afforded must. A 6.1-inch touchscreen-enabled system, Toyota’s Entune is a wealthy source of in-car and out-of-vehicle entertainment.
All right, minivans are assumed as more of a family necessity than a product of excitement. As opposed to the rather ‘Plain Jane’ vehicles sold in huge numbers during the 1990s, today’s minivans are built to incorporate sound refinement and engineering to an extent they are no longer entry-level family transportation. Entering the minivan business in 1995, Honda’s latest Odyssey is a definition for idealized family motoring.
A tremendously safe vehicle solidified by an IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety Pick Rating, the Honda Odyssey minivan can move a family of 7 or 8 with relative home-like comfort. Storage space inside of the Odyssey is plentiful as well as smartly laid out. With a total of 148.5 cubic feet of cargo room available, coin holder, seatback pockets and a center stack storage compartment insures even small items are securely accounted for inside of the Odyssey’s cabin. While the LX trim level features standard equipment such as air conditioning, remote entry system, cruise control and ambient lighting, some of the more thrilling amenities including tri-zone climate control as well as the DVD rear entertainment system can also be obtained on the Honda Odyssey.
A near picture perfect family vehicle for parents and children, it does come as a pricey expenditure. With a dealer sticker just under $30,000 with upgrades available to take the Honda Odyssey past the $45,000 range.
In their attempt to gain an upscale image for years, the Volkswagen brand in North America had lost the capacity of drawing new families to vehicles wearing snobbish price tags. Volkswagen has turned to greater North American-based production in 2010 in an effort to reduce costs of once-extremely popular cars such as the Jetta and later the Passat.
A mid-sized sedan with starting price under $20,000, the latest-generation Volkswagen Passat sacrificed very little when it came to reducing the sticker cost by nearly $8,000 compared the 2010 model. Almost instantly becoming an element of curiosity, the Volkswagen Passat is one of the few upper-sized sedans priced under $35,000 to offer a diesel engine option. The 2-liter TDI powerplant accompanies the available 2.5 liter inline five-cylinder and 280-horsepower 3.6 liter V-6 gasoline engines. The Passat TDI model naturally produces the best fuel economy by achieving up to 43 mile per gallon highway.
Bluetooth connectivity, automatic dual-zone climate control as well as power windows and door locks are standard on the Volkswagen Passat S trim level. Venturing up the model ladder with the Passat provides access to features such as Fender premium stereo system, navigation and rich woodgrain trim inserts. Especially pleasing to children who have grown out of their car seats, the Passat’s class-leading rear seat legroom will suffice well into teens years.
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Information source: American Honda Motor Company, Chrysler Group, Hyundai Motor America, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Toyota Motor Corporation, VW Group
Photo source: American Honda Motor Company, Chris Nagy, Chrysler Group, Toyota Motor Corporation