Parents Magazine, Declare Best Family Rides of 2014

The 2014 Honda Odyssey is the best family minivan, say researchers with Parents Magazine and

Here at E3 Spark Plugs, we’re all about family. And, of course, great rides. So, we were curious to see just which cars, SUVs and minivans made the recently released list of the best family rides as declared by Parents Magazine and, an online resource for all-things-automotive.

Rides were chose based on a litany of factors including safety, fuel economy, leg room and cargo space, value for the money, and style. After all, your grocery getter need not be an ugly one. Researchers also kept in mind car buyers with large broods, limited budgets and eco-friendly mindsets.

“We do this to save parents time during the car-shopping process and make it easier for them to buy the right vehicle to haul their family and their stuff,” said Editor in Chief Scott Oldham.

And the winners are:

  • The 2014 Mazda 3 and Ford Fiesta for budget-minded families.
  • The 2014 Toyota Prius hybrid for the neighborhood environmentalists.
  • The 2014 Mazda 6 and Honda Accord for family sedans lovers
  • The 2014 Subaru Outback for the wagon holdouts.
  • The 2014 Nissan Rogue among crossovers.
  • The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe and Chevrolet Traverse for SUV drivers.
  • The 2014 Honda Odyssey for minivan aficionados.

A few notes to consider when choosing a family vehicle:

A garden variety four-door sedan or wagon works beautifully if you have just one or two children. Any more than that and you’ll hear a constant chorus of “Mooooom – Mikey’s touching me!” on your next road trip. With kid #3, opt instead for a minivan or SUV.

While kids are young, a minivan might be the better choice than an SUV because they’re typically lower to the ground, making it easier for little ones to climb in. In either case, if you’ll be traveling a lot, opt for a model with higher back seats that allow for kids to easily see out the window.

“If they can see what’s going on, kids are much happier,” David Champion, director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Facility and father of two munchkins, recently told reporters. “If the back seat is low, they can’t look out the window. And that can trigger boredom and bickering among siblings.”

And, if you’ll be that cool dance/soccer/t-ball/piano/karate/etc. mom or dad who hauls not only your own brood but a few neighbor kids and teammates too, plus all of their equipment, you’ll definitely want ride with lots of seating and cargo capacity. Minivans tend to do the trick here, but so do many SUVs. Just keep in mind that taller vehicles have higher centers of gravity, which makes them more prone to rollovers.

Got other top family ride picks of your own? Post them on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.

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