Gas prices are soaring, the youngsters are participating in sports that come with copious equipment needs and you are running a catering business on the side. What are the five best 2011 vehicles for families on the go?
1. Diesel: Jetta SportWagen
MSN Autos identifies the Jetta as carrying an MSRP range between $19,995 and $24,995. It’s a station wagon, and it’s a diesel. Seating five passengers, it gets 31 to 33 highway miles per gallon; in the city it averages 23 to 24 mpg. The engine is a 2.5L 170 hp I5. Cargo volume ranks high at 32.80 cubic feet. For the mom who wouldn’t want to be caught dead in a minivan — and cannot see herself feeding the ravenous beast that is an SUV — this station wagon is an excellent alternative.
2. Hybrid: Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Hybrid Cars explains that the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid features an MSRP of $34,330, which puts it on par with the non-hybrid V6 MKZ model. Featuring a 2.5L I4 engine, it gets 36 highway miles per gallon and a very respectable 41 city mpg. Families with young children may wrinkle their noses at the standard leather seats, but the combined 191 hp won’t leave you riding in the dust. This is a great option for the family with older — or more style-conscious — kids past the Cheerios-throwing stage.
3. SUV: Subaru Forester
If it’s got to be an SUV, the Subaru Forester might just be the right mix of savings, style and performance. MSN Autos identifies six available trims that range in MSRP from $20,495 to $29,995. Average hp is 170, except for the 2.5 XT Premium, which comes in with 224 hp. Standard seating offers enough room for five.
U.S. News apportions the 2011 Forester some 33.5 cubic feet of cargo space, although this number shoots up to 68.3 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. This is clearly one of the best 2011 vehicles for families who are not afraid to drive an SUV that gets 27 highway- and 21 city mpg.
4. Pricey Luxury: Hyundai Equus
This is a must among 2011 vehicles for families who have a bit of money to spend on a luxurious conveyance. Granted, you need to get past the fact that instead of sporting a cool name, the car is called “the horse.” Aside from this head scratcher, MSN Autos reveals that the $58,000 to $64,500 MSRP nets you a standard 4.6L 378 hp V8 engine with 24 highway and 16 city mpg.
Not exactly cheap, but luxury has its cost. Cargo space is a cool 16.7 cubic feet. Opt for this vehicle if the kids like to be chauffeured in style and do not need to haul soccer equipment across town. For the self-employed real estate professional, this is a suitable family car and work conveyance rolled into one.
5. Minivan: Toyota Sienna
If you are resigned to the fate of driving a minivan, the best in show is the 2011 Toyota Sienna. Edmunds explains that the MSRP starts right around $24,560 and offers 19 city- and 24 highway mpg. When all seats are in place, this minivan has 39.1 cubic feet of cargo space, which makes it the best 2011 vehicle for families where everyone participates in a sport and folding down seats is not an option.
Of course, you’d be driving a minivan.
MSN Autos: “Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen”
Hybrid Cars: “2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Review ”
MSN Autos: “Subaru Forester”; U.S. News: “2011 Subaru Forester”
MSN Autos: “2011 Hyundai Equus”
Edmunds: “2011 Toyota Sienna”