Having a new baby can affect quite the lifestyle change. From disrupting your sleep schedule to lowering your organizational standards, little kids certainly know how to make you compromise. However, you don’t have to compromise on a kid-friendly ride for your family. From comfort, utility, and even sportiness, below are a few great vehicles that rock at hauling kids.
If you need fuel efficiency and ease of parking, there’s still no better option than a compact. Today’s compact class offers fun to drive cars that look great and can haul the family with ease. An excellent example of this is the Ford Focus. The third-generation Focus debuted in 2011 to numerous awards, and it’s been a class leader ever since. It’s fun to drive, economical at up to 40 MPG, and the rear doors swing wide for easy car seat access. There’s a hatchback model for those with greater cargo needs, and the Focus scored a perfect five-star rating in the EU’s NCAP crash tests.
Way back in the days before the minivan and SUV took over the role, the sedan was the family hauler. Today’s mid-size sedan still works for families for a number of reasons. The Chevrolet Malibu scores well with buyers due to its economical operating costs (up to 36 MPG) and fully loaded features. It’s safe, with 10 airbags, even including roof airbags as rollover protection. Little ones can be entertained with Chevy’s MyLink system, linking to Pandora and other options for playing kids’ music. Chevy even tried hard on the exterior, making the Malibu one of the most attractive sedans in its class.
Crossovers are possibly the ultimate in vehicle compromise, but they are immensely popular because buyers don’t give anything up. You get tough SUV looks and interior space, with a car-like ride and fuel efficiency. The Hyundai Tucson is an award winning compact crossover with an upscale feel not reflected in its price. If you need all-wheel drive, it’s available, along with SiriusXM satellite radio, and nearly 62 cubic feet of cargo space. It’s a ‘Top Safety Pick’ award winner from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and was rated by JD Power as the highest ranked small SUV in initial quality. Buy a Tucson when your kiddo is born, and it could end up being their college car.
Sport Utility Vehicles have been strong sellers the last 25 years due to their unique capabilities. SUVs like the Dodge Durango can still go off-roading like old-schoolers, but are also the smarter, more capable people haulers today’s drivers demand. The seven-passenger Durango is perfect for hauling the whole family in comfort, or reconfigure the cargo area for 84.5 feet of hauling space. Dodge’s Uconnect 8.4 driver information system can display everything from 3D maps guiding you to Chuck E. Cheese’s, or local fuel prices, while the kids get their own 7-inch HD screens that can play Blu-ray or connect to a game system. Your Durango can also be a Wi-Fi hotspot, ensuring you’ll never hear “Are we there yet?”
If your family hauler has to be capable of serious work, you can still get everyone around using just one vehicle. Today’s trucks aren’t the Spartan, rubber floor work vehicles of the past. If you want leather, navigation, backup camera, and even Wi-Fi in a truck, you can get it. The Texas-built Toyota Tundra won’t let your family down, as Consumer Reports rated it the highest long term quality among all pickups. The four-door double cab and CrewMax configurations allow 34.7 inches, and 42.3 inches of rear legroom, respectively, while the bed is rated for over 1,600 lbs. of cargo. That’s about a week’s worth of diapers.
You say you’re having a kid, but you aren’t quite ready to give up the fun? While a traditional sports car like the Chevrolet Corvette is a blast to drive, your backseat passengers might find the car uncomfortable, mainly due to the complete lack of rear seats. A 2+2 sports car like the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ (they are the same car under different badges) delivers sports car fun at an affordable price. Two doors add to the sporty flavor, but inside there are four seats, and the rear one will accept kid-size passengers or car seats with no problems. The rear seats have the LATCH system for easily attaching car seats, and the trunk offers enough room to store a full-size stroller.