Friday, March 22, 2013

What are the Safest Family Vehicles?

Every parent out there knows that you need a certain kind of car to accommodate for your little ones, especially if you haven't changed your ride since college. Raising children is like that pivotal moment in your life where having a two door coupe suddenly seems more of a liability than it does being cool. Let's be honest- trying to cram baby seats into the back of a sports car isn't very fun. When your car vocabulary starts changing from words like "powerful" to "practical" and you get a sudden interest in the number of air bags the vehicle comes equipped with, you know you're ready for a family car.

To better prepare for this stage of our lives, U.S. News and World Report comes out with an annual list of the best family vehicles, highlighting the best cars, vans, and SUV's for shoppers. The vehicles are rated based on overall quality, safety, and family friendly features. This year, they put the spotlight on both the Toyota Prius and Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which were awarded "Best Hatchback" and "Best Hybrid SUV"!

Toyota Prius, 2013, MotorTrend, Lou Fusz, New car

According to the report, the Prius was chosen because "it has the best combination of quality, size and family-friendly features in its class."
What does this mean? Since the vehicle is a hatchback, it will easily seat a family of four or five, with plenty of cargo space for storing all those blankets, books, toys, and diapers you've got. The Prius has a whopping 21.6 cubic feet of cargo space, whereas most other hybrid vehicles only have 10-15! It's also a top safety pick, with some of the highest scores in front, side, rear, and roof impact/crash/strength test results. Last but not least, the Prius gets amazing gas mileage, making it able to travel hundreds of more miles on a single tank than a non-hybrid vehicle. At 50 miles per gallon, the family road trip can actually be an affordable option despite the price of gas being higher than ever.

Highlander Hybrid, Toyota, Lou Fusz, 2013, New car

The Highlander Hybrid, on the other hand, was picked because it delivers great power in the form of a 3.5-liter V6 engine, outputting a total of 280 horsepower split between two electric motors. It has a driving experience that is both comfortable and controlled, which are exactly the kind of words a new parent wants to hear when transporting small children! One of the reviews from which U.S. News and World report garnered their data on the Highlander Hybrid was from Kelley Blue Book, who noted that it "attains best-in-class fuel economy without sacrificing power or interior space" by seating seven and getting a combined 28 miles per gallon. For a vehicle of its size, 28 is on the very high spectrum of fuel efficiency.

What features do you think are most important for a family vehicle? Leave a comment below with your top choice! 


  1. Toyota is looking better and better since Honda has had so much bad publicity about their inability to fix their paint defects.

  2. As a family car I definitely would be choosing the Highlander over the Prius - it's got the extra space that would double its usefulness as a family car.

  3. Good point, John! Never know when you might need the space.

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  5. Very useful information. Thanks a lot!!