The current crop of 2014 vehicles features stellar options for the family in a wide array of styles. Whether you are looking for a hatchback, hybrid, sport utility vehicle, truck, or sedan, you can find a vehicle that suits your needs while also ticking off a few items on your “want” list – think fuel economy, leg room, or luxury at an average consumer price point. Break out the calculator and start crunching the numbers, because the auto dealership may be your next stop.
Hybrid: Ford Fusion
Price: $26,000 – $33,000 MSRP
MPG: 47 city/47 highway
The Ford Fusion has become the poster child for domestic hybrid vehicles in recent years. With its mileage claims and accessible price point, its reputation is well-earned. The Fusion has more of the responsiveness and “feel” of a regular car, which makes it a great option for the family testing the greater fuel economy waters. It features plenty of cargo space and seating for a small group and can provide an excellent return-on-investment based on its reliability.
Hatchback: Toyota Yaris
Price: starts with $15,000 MSRP
MPG: 30 city/36 highway
The Toyota Yaris is available in several different variations with price points adjusted accordingly. The hatchback I’m focusing on is the five-door model. You can dress up the five door with more features to up the price, but even at base it offers a lot of flexibility for the family with small children with a minimum of cargo space needs. The hatchback does feature folding rear seats that allow for maximum storage capacity, but this eliminates your ability to secure little ones in the back seat. However, if you’re a single-child family or your kids are out of the car seat but not long and lanky yet, this vehicle hits a sweet spot with its practicality, flexibility, and affordability. Bonus: These are pretty peppy out on the road when you need to punch it for a quick turn.
SUV: Ford Flex
Price: $30,000 MSRP at base
MPG: 18 city/25 highway
The Ford Flex provides the full-size capabilities of an SUV, including plenty of cargo space and seating areas, without the major lift of many alternate options. With a running board all but the smallest of children will be able to hop up into this ride with ease while Mom and Dad enjoy a smooth journey.
Truck: GMC Sierra
Price: $26,000 MSRP at base
MPG: 18 city/24 highway
If a pick-up truck is more your speed, the GMC Sierra is a solid option. It and a few other Chevy and GMC small to mid-size options have rotated positions in the line-up in recent years, but all feature a good balance of versatility for a family that needs to mix practicality with functionality. The bench seats in the rear of these trucks allow for securing car seats and older children who need legroom. By upping the purchase price, one can try different cab setups to further increase the comfy factor.
Sedan: Chevy Impala
Price: $28,000 to $36,000 MSRP
MPG: 21 city/31 highway
The Chevy Impala clocks in at average in terms of gas mileage but is offered in a hybrid model if you want to make your family’s travel a bit more eco-friendly. This sedan is big on comfort and makes for easy installation of car seats and spacious loading and unloading. It also features a great deal of pep with the right package if you want to have a bit of fun on the open road while the kids are in school. Need an added perk? When you get through driving an Impala, it makes a great option for passing on to your kids as a starter car.