Summer is just around the corner, and it is nearly time for you to start subjecting your kids to the exquisite torture that is the summer family road trip–that wonderful mechanism with which to force bonding and create lifelong memories. Tax return in your hot little hands–this is the time of year when you might be looking for a new vehicle to take on those summer excursions. Here are the best family vehicles for 2014:
Best Fuel Economy
If you commute for work, or just want to save money on gas these options may be best for you and your small family.
Volkswagen Golf TDI:
Average Price: $19,447- $26,969
MPG: City-30 Highway-42
The Golf TDI is affordable with great fuel economy. Although the vehicle doesn’t have many standard features, it is more spacious than meets the eye–making it more comfortable for a long trip.
Average Price: $22,089-$30,220
MPG: City-27 Highway-38
Slightly more comfortable than the Volkswagen Golf, the Nissan Altima has a quiet engine and a plenty of leg room for tall families or those pesky children that like to kick the seat. For a non-hybrid, the Altima also gets phenomenal MPG for both city and highway and the sleek looks will keep you feeling stylish while taking care of your family.
Average Price: $24,044-$29,610
MPG: City-51 Highway-48
The 2014 Toyota Prius is an IIHS Top Safety Pick that has plenty of legroom and is by far the most comfortable for long trips out of the three economical vehicles listed. You’ll save money on gas, but because of the way that the Prius is designed, you definitely will not be encouraged to speed. You’ll be patting yourself on the back for avoiding that speeding ticket.
Best at Keeping the Kids Entertained
Average Price: $27,420-$41,797
MPG: City-19 Highway-28
The incredibly spacious Honda Odyssey comes with optional DVD package that will keep the kids from fighting on those long trips. With two rows of bucket seats and a third row bench, you family will have plenty of room to spread out. While the Honda Odyssey is sure to keep the kids entertained, it will also give you peace of mind to know that–based on size–it gets great MPG and is another IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2104
Average Price: $29,209-$42,979
MPG: City-20 Highway-25
The third and final IIHS Top Safety Pick is the Toyota Highlander. The Highlander SUV is a bit more stylish than the Odyssey and offers optional blu-ray in the back rows. Like the Odyssey, the Highlander also seats 7–although the back row of the Highlander is probably best suited for small children.
Chrysler Town and Country
Average Price: $30,614-$41,389
MPG: City-17 Highway-25
Unlike the other two entertainment vehicles, the DVD system comes standard in the Chrysler Town and Country–although ultimately you’re still paying the price as the vehicle’s starting price is roughly $3000 more than the Odyssey and the gas mileage is definitely the worst on the list. What the Town and Country lacks in MPG, however, it makes up in space. The most spacious car on our list, make sure to take advantage of the Stow and Go compartments for snacks or take down the third seat entirely to store more for a camping trip. With a stylish exterior and tons of standard features, you won’t feel like you’re driving a mini van–until you accidentally peel out from the parking lot.