Choosing a new vehicle can be a daunting task when your family depends on you to make a good decision. Gone are the days of hot rods and muscle cars. How a vehicle looks must take a back seat to price, size, power, gas mileage, and safety ratings. Here are a few 2014 top choices to get you started.
Mazda3 – $16,945
When price is a factor the 2014 Mazda Mazda3 has been fully redesigned. Able to seat a family of five, the Mazda3 offers back seats that are large, comfortable, and has enough leg and head room to accommodate adult sized teens. Small and sporty looking, the Mazda3 comes with 4-doors and a hatchback. Also available is safety and driver-assistance features including lane departure warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. Choose a model built after October 2013 and it has made the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety+ pick.
Honda Odyssey – $28,825
When space is more important than price, the Honda Odyssey is a roomy minivan that seats eight and can hold three child seats side by side. In addition to room, the Odyssey offers blue-tooth streaming audio, Pandora interface, a widescreen rear entertainment system and a built-in vacuum for messes. When it comes to safety, the Odyssey boasts a rearview camera, forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems, and is the only minivan to receive the IIHS Top Safety+ pick.
GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab – $33,210
If your family needs a powerful vehicle to tow your boat, camper, sleds, or other family fun toys, look towards the GMC Sierra 1500. The crew cab boasts 110-volt outlet, five USB ports, and an SD card slot. GMC also offers a Z71 off-road package that comes with hill descent control, skid plates, and shocks. The trailer package has all the bells and whistles, with connectors for lighting, an auto locking rear differential, heavy duty cooling, a beefier rear axle with a 3.73 ratio, stronger rear leaf springs, and a trailer-brake controller. The IIHS has rated the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 as Good.
Nissan Leaf – $28,980
If gas mileage is a concern for your family, then the 4-door Nissan Leaf is the answer. By purchasing this electric car you can say goodbye to gas stations, and zero emissions means you are helping to save the planet for your kids. This hatchback seats four comfortably and five if needed. The IIHS has rated the 2014 Nissan Leaf as Good.
WELL ROUNDED VEHICLE
Toyota Highlander – $29,215
This reasonably priced, roomy, mid-sized SUV has seating for eight and a standard towing capacity of 1500 lbs. If the 20/25 gas mileage is too high, then a hybrid, greener version of the Toyota Highlander is available. This vehicle is the only mid-sized SUV to receive IIHS Top Safety+ pick.
Decide what is most important to your family’s current and future transportation needs before making a car buying decision. Sometimes, as parents, we forget that the car we choose when our child is eight years old might be the hand-me-down car he or she drives years later. I feel quite comfortable with my seventeen year old behind the wheel of our very safe, reliable, and large, 2005 Toyota Tundra. Which vehicle will you have your child drive?