Blue Suit Mom

What to Know While Choosing the Family Cruiser

You’ve traded in dreams of a hot sports car for the reality of a practical and spacious minivan — now that you have a family. Can you have both? You can find a vehicle that meets all your family needs and personal desires if you keep the following suggestions in mind:

The Great Minivan Debate

(Honda Odyssey photo:

Ever since the days when mom dragged you to soccer practice in her trusty minivan, you’ve vowed that you would never, ever sink to such a low. Vans aren’t cool. But now that you have kids of your own who need to get to soccer practice and school every day, you probably no longer care about that luxury BMW you’ve dreamed about since you got your drivers license. Newer minivan models retain the functionality and practicality that family drivers need, but now offer edginess that was never available in the past. Men’s Journal highlights the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna as two high-quality minivans that have received stylish redesigns in the past few years. Can’t buy new? Check out the used car section on Kelley Blue Book to research sleek options. If you have three or more kids and still want to maintain that impeccable street cred, give the minivan a second chance.

Safety Ratings

(Toyota Camry photo:

You may be the safest driver on the road, but that doesn’t mean other drivers drive safely. Drive the speed limit and avoid texting while on the road, but also prepare for the worst case scenario by investing in a vehicle with solid safety ratings. You’re not only driving for yourself now; you’re carrying around the most precious cargo possible. Safety ratings should be at the top of your car-shopping priorities list. Consumer Reports highlights the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Toyota Camry as the safest and most family-friendly midsize cars. If you’re more inclined to drive a minivan or SUV, US News and World Report suggests the Ford Edge or the Toyota Sienna as safe alternatives.

Fuel Efficiency

(Toyota RAV4 photo:

You live behind the wheel as you commute to work, run errands and shuffle kids to activities. And don’t forget to take into account the long hours spent behind the wheel during the occasional family road trip. As you continue to log extra miles, you’ll experience a greater portion of your budget siphoned off for gas expenses, and gas ain’t cheap. Reduce high gas costs by investing in a newer, more gas efficient vehicle model. According to the “Chicago Tribune,” your best bet for an energy-efficient vehicle is a Ford Fusion, Nissan Juke or Toyota RAV. These options combine the cargo space and safety features inherent in a good family car with the fuel efficiency needed to keep gas costs down.

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