Americans are driving more than ever and when all of the numbers are crunched at the end of 2016, it appears they will have bought more new vehicles in one year than ever for the second year in a row.
Statistics show that larger, more utile and flexible vehicles, such as crossovers and sport-utility vehicles, are driving the current sales explosion. In fact, when one adds in trucks, those three vehicles account for about 60% of all new purchases this year.
Additionally, a recent study showed that it is women who are pushing the trend toward these vehicles. However, there are a gaggle of choices when it comes to new vehicles, especially what may be best for families.
Each year, to help sort out the top options, Edmunds.com and Parents magazine develop their 10 Best Family Cars.
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“When it comes to a family car, there are usually a lot of boxes to check. And we know that it can be daunting for busy parents to research hundreds of vehicles to find the one that’s the perfect mix of economy, convenience and features,” said Edmunds’ lead consumer advice editor, Carroll Lachnit.
“We’re happy to have counted the cupholders and spotted the cars that have that little bit of je ne sais quoi so that parents can buy a car with confidence and even have a little fun while they’re doing it.”
(Click Here to find out what’s hot for 2017.)
Sorted by category, this year’s group includes plenty of predictable choices, but a few surprises as well. The list includes a vehicle for every family, from those with a newborn to a carload of grade-schoolers to chauffeur to and from soccer practice:
- Best Budget Vehicle: Kia Soul ($15,800)
- Best Green Car: Chevrolet Volt ($25,720; after $7,500 federal tax credit)
- Best Hatchback: Mazda 3 ($18,545)
- Best Small Sedan: Honda Civic ($18,640)
- Best Sedan: Kia Optima ($21,990)
- Best Wagon: Subaru Outback ($24,995)
- Best Crossovers: Hyundai Tucson ($22,700) and Nissan Murano ($29,660)
- Best Minivan: Toyota Sienna ($28,850)
- Best SUV: Honda Pilot ($30,145)
The winners in each category were the best mix of smart designs, driver- and kid-friendly features and reasonable price points. Some of the important features included standard 360-degree rearview cameras, automatic braking systems, smartphone link systems and dual display entertainment systems.
“The car is an extension of home for families – the place where we rehash our days, eat on-the-go meals, and spend quality time together,” said Parents Editor-in-Chief Dana Points.
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“It’s important that parents feel supported by their car’s extensive range of safety functions so they stay confident on the road. This year’s top picks also highlight features that keep the ride fun and relaxing for every passenger.”