For this assignment, I went to local dealerships with certain models in mind to test drive. In the end, these five models are the ones that I would recommend for small to mid-size families. My primary requirements for these cars were reliability and decent gas mileage.
2014 Mazda Mazda5
Minivans are a great choice for a family, especially if you have more than 3 kids. The Mazda5 is among the most fuel efficient of minivans at an EPA estimated 22 and 28 miles per gallon for city driving and highway driving respectively. I thought that the 5 was fun to drive and has very nimble handling, especially for a minivan. Buyers have been taking this 4 cylinder model home in both manual and automatic for just over $20,000.
2014 Honda Odyssey
The Odyssey from Honda is another great pick for a minivan. It lags slightly behind the Mazda5 in fuel economy at 19/28 but makes up for that with added cargo room and legendary Honda reliability. The Odyssey is loaded with extra features but that comes with a price as the MSRP for the base model is $28,825. If you choose other features, this van can cost nearly $40k.
2014 Subaru Outback
The 2014 Subaru Outback comes with a standard 6-speed manual transmission and a 4 cylinder engine. It is also all-wheel drive which can come in handy in adverse weather. The Outback has a spacious back seat and decent cargo room in the rear of the vehicle. This wagon also outperforms the minivans with an EPA estimated 24/30 mpg.
2014 Honda Accord
If your family isn’t too large, a midsized sedan might be the best ride for you. The 2014 Accord gets an EPA estimated 30/40 mpg. Despite the high gas mileage, this Honda has a spacious back seat that can easily accommodate 3 kids. The Accord doesn’t have a ton of cargo space so it would make a good primary vehicle but might not be best for vacations and weekend sporting events. According to Honda, the base 2014 Accord retails at $21,995.
2014 Ford Fiesta
The Fiesta is by far the cheapest car on this list. The base model retails for just over $14,000. The gas mileage is slightly lower than the Accord at an EPA estimated 27/38 mpg. The hatchback model has a pretty spacious trunk. The back seat isn’t quite as big as others on this list but it’s plenty roomy enough for kids. The Fiesta was definitely the most fun of these vehicles to drive due to it’s lightweight frame and tight turn radius.