In the market for a new vehicle? Well, 2014 boasts a group of convenient, classy family vehicles.
Test drive a Honda Odyssey, Subaru Outback, Chevrolet Traverse, Jeep Grand Cherokee or Chevrolet Tahoe. Most have a smooth ride, spacious seating and have made the idea of adventuring out with the family a cinch!
2014 Honda Odyssey
Starting at $29,655 (loaded for around $40k), the Honda Odyssey delivers a smooth ride, comfortable amenities and continues its dominance of the minivan class.
A 3.5L 248 h.p. powertrain delivers a decent amount of power when needed, and when not needed the variable displacement feature deactivates 2 cylinders almost imperceptibly, and it becomes a miserly 4 cylinder. With this technology, the Odssesy can achieve 19 m.p.g city and 28 m.p.g. highway. In its class, only the Mazda 5 does better on fuel economy, if only marginally.
For safety features, the Odyssey has lane departure and front collision warnings. The minivan seats up to eight, with five of the seats having car seat latches that are exposed making them a cinch to use. The latest bell and whistle is the HondaVAC, a built in vacuum system stowed behind the third row of seats. A 16.2″ screen in the second row of seats shows someone thought a lot about kids: the screen can be divided in to two different sources to avoid fights and has a HDMI outlet for video games. The third row of seats can be quickly stowed for extra cargo space.
Sources: Blogs.cars.com; Honda.com; Edmunds.com; BuyersGuide
2014 Subaru Outback
The 2014 Subaru Outback has an attractive starting price of just $23,495, comes standard with AWD (as always), and boasts the legendary reliability and efficiency of the tried-and-true boxer engine.
The fuel economy on the 2.5L is listed at 24 mpg for city driving. and 30 mpg on the highway, which is not a huge change from last year’s model.
Improvements include the EyeSight Driver Assistance System, which helps avoid collisions, obstacles, has an adaptive cruise control, and even applies the brakes when necessary.
Sources: SlashGear.com; Subaru.com
2014 Chevrolet Traverse
This 8-passenger SUV has a revamped look, both inside and out, for 2014. Starting at $31,670, the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse is comparable to the Honda Odyssey in price. Interior space also puts it on the top of the list for families with spacious seating and plenty of room behind the third row for cargo.
On the downside, it’s bulky and not as easy to maneuver in tight spaces as its (less cool) minivan counterparts. The fuel economy also suffers a bit as the 3.6 L engine has its work cut out for hauling the big frame around.
The Traverse is available with AWD for $2,000 more which is almost a must-have for those who live in snowy climates or are seeking some adventure.
Source: Kelley Blue Book
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
This 5-passenger SUV is the best choice for those families who crave adventure. Sharp looks and an attractive base price, $30,190, make it the best in its class among the Honda CRV, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot or Toyota RAV4; although the Jeep’s sticker price is higher than the aforementioned models when comparably equipped.
What really separates the Grand Cherokee is its comfortable amenities and real-life ability to handle off-road trails as well as the daily trips to and from school or grocery store. An adjustable air suspension can raise or lower the height of the clearance from 6.6″ up to 11.3″ for really rough terrain. The downside to this vehicle is the ride feels a bit stiff, especially compared to previous years models.
Options include a 3.0L, 6-cylinder diesel engines and a slightly less expensive gas V8. If you can afford to take the hit on the diesel, the improved fuel economy will pay for itself in about 35,000 miles (vs. the lower-priced V8 gas option).
2014 Chevrolet Tahoe
This is really the vehicle for your adventurous, on-the-go family! If you want the SUV style with spectacular towing capacity for that camper, trailer, boat — or other toys — this is it. While pricey at an MSRP of $42,595 – $57,860, the 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe offers a fuel economy of 15/21 mpg, rear wheel drive and a 5.3 L, V-8 engine. It seats nine, but the third row seat doesn’t fold down to the floor like other SUVS. (You can remove that third row of seats, but you’d have to store them in your garage.)
Edmunds.com, an American resource for auto-motives, finds: “Yes, the Tahoe’s a true truck underneath, but over the years, Chevrolet has made sure it has kept up with customers’ expectations for refinement and everyday ease of use. Without question, this is a large, heavy vehicle that’s more at home on rural roads than crowded city streets, but thanks to its quiet interior and comfortable ride, driving a Chevy Tahoe is actually pretty pleasant.”
Sources: Edmunds.com; Chevrolet