Any parent in the market for a new set of wheels knows she had better select something that’s roomy enough to haul around her kids and all of their friends. After all, what’s the point of buying a family vehicle if it isn’t conducive for carpooling. While an SUV may be a natural choice for many folks, I don’t like them because they don’t tend to get great fuel economy. So I decided to ask the experts at Edmunds.com for some worthy alternatives. Here are their top picks:
Best Cars for the Carpool
1. Toyota Prius
If you want fuel economy, then the Toyota Prius is for you. It gets an impressive 50 miles per gallon. But that’s not the only reason Edmunds.com’s Karl Brauer recommends it. He says the hybrid is far roomier than it looks and is a plausible replacement for a family sedan. Also, the hatchback provides the car with additional cargo-hauling options.
2. Honda Accord
photo: Grainger Honda
If you want a safe and reliable car that won’t need a lot of repairs, you can’t do much better than the Honda Accord. Although it only gets 20-25 mpg, it has a very large interior cabin and boasts a high resale value.
3. Volkswagen Jetta TDI
Looking for a great alternative to a hybrid? Consider the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Not only is it fuel efficient — it gets 34 mpg — the interior cabin looks and feels more upscale than similarly priced vehicles.
4. Subaru Legacy
If you live someplace where it snows a lot, you may want to consider the Subaru Legacy. This mid-sized sedan offers all-wheel-drive as a standard feature on all of its 2010 models, which should help keep the carpool rolling safely through inclement weather, says Brauer. Starting at just $20,000, it’s also a good fit for many family budgets.
Did I miss your favorite family vehicle? What would you recommend for carpooling?
Stacey Bradford is the author of The Wall Street Journal. Financial Guidebook for New Parents.