Blue Suit Mom

Pets, Kids & Cars, Oh My! 2014’s Best Family Cars

Portrait of young girls in car ready for car tripShopping for a new car can be stressful. Not only must you find the model that best suits your family, whether it includes kids or pets, or both, you also want to get a good deal. To help ease the latter cause of stress, the United Services Automobile Association points out that September is an excellent time to buy a new vehicle. Salespeople want to meet quarterly goals, and dealerships must make room for next year’s models. To help with the first stressor, check out these 2014 top choices for family cars.

Honda Accord

Car and Driver named the Honda Accord to its “10 Best Cars” list for the 28th time in 2014, and it’s easy to understand why families, in particular, love the vehicle.

The roomy backseat safely fits three passengers, whether human or furry, as all seats have three-point seat belts as well as the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system for child safety seats. Strollers easily fit into the trunk, which has from 15.5 to 15.8 cubic feet of space, depending on the model.

On the safety front, the car has a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in part thanks to the forward collision and lane-departure warnings available in certain models and the rearview camera that comes standard.

The Honda Accord ranges in starting price from $21,955 for the LX to $33,480 for the touring model.

Pro(Mom)Tip: Before you hit the lot, do your homework with a little help from Kelly Blue Book. Check out car values, award winners and reviews before you buy.

Subaru Forester

Simply put, Subaru vehicles are dog-friendly. In fact, the company has an entire “Dog Tested. Dog Approved” advertising campaign.

It still offers plenty of room and safety features for human children, seating five passengers total, but families transporting just their fur kids will appreciate the second-row seatbacks that fold forward to create a mostly flat surface that easily accommodates crates.

Adding to the safety of Subaru cars is the EyeSight driver-assist system, available in higher-end models, which uses two cameras to watch the road ahead. It alerts the driver to dangerous conditions both audibly and visually, and it will apply the brakes when needed.

The Subaru Forester ranges in starting price from $21,955 for the 2.5i to $32,995 for the 2.0 XT touring model.

Ford Flex

With its bold and boxy design, the Ford Flex looks more like a futuristic station wagon than the wood-paneled one you may have ridden around in as a child.

This crossover vehicle has three rows that seat seven, plus a cargo well instead of just a flat floor. Two child safety seats can latch easily into the second-row, and the third row can accommodate a booster seat. The power-fold second row seats and low profile also make this car family friendly, whether you have kids or dogs regularly climbing in and out.

Other safety features include available rear-view camera, forward collision warning, inflatable second-row safety belts and a blind spot information system, each depending on the model.

The Ford Flex ranges in price from $20,015 for the SE to $37,600 for the Limited model.

Pro(Mom)Tip: If you do have family members still in child safety seats, bring the seat with you when you go car shopping to see exactly how easy it is to install and remove.

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