Making the leap to expand your family to 2+ kids can be challenging to say the least and finding a family car can add to that frustration. While safety features are certainly important to keep in mind, you should also think about which car not only fits your kids – but their car seats too.
According to Edumunds.com, that means looking for something with ample interior cabin space and large door openings too. Key things to look for are:
Ease of access
Wide door openings allow you to maneuver bulky car seats in and out of the car with a minimal twisting and turning, reducing the strain on your back. They also make it easier to get your child in and out on their own.
Angle of the seat back cushion
All minivans, and many SUVs, offer a recline feature for the second-row back cushions, that allow you to adjust the seat to a position that is secure and comfortable for your child. If you’re going to buy a car that doesn’t offer this feature, Edmunds.com recommends checking that the angle of the seat back works with your child and car seat.
Placement of the seatbelts and LATCH points
The placement and angle of the seatbelt hitch and receiver can greatly affect your ability to get a car seat cinched down to the seat. The only real way to know if a particular seatbelt is going to be a problem is to try it out with your child’s car seat.
Automatic locking retractor (ALR) seatbelts
Most newer cars have automatic locking retractor seatbelts in the backseat that help ensure a tighter, safer fit. When the belt is pulled all the way out, it locks as it retracts. Some manufacturers use a special mechanism that locks only the lap portion of the belt.
From SUVs and cross-overs to minivans and classic sedans, which seem to offer the most for families with two or more kids? Here’s a few to choose from:
Audi A4 Avant
This one got perfect crash test scores across the board plus comes standard with sunroof and leather; easy enough to clean after accidental spills.
Yes, I went there. Who says you can’t have luxury, zip and safety if you have a family? This car somehow manages to find just enough utility to make it pass muster as a family sedan.
Ample cargo room and seating for eight; plus the second and third rows can be reconfigured. This is the newest “it” car for family SUVs.
Talk about powerful looking – this car definitely has the edge on performance, but the legroom in the back make it a definite must-look for families.
The extras for mom are all there in this hip, kid hauler like MP3, phone interface and cooler.
This one always makes the list for the best family cars for its versatility and deep, flat, adjustable seats perfect for buckling in car seats.
OK, so it’s another minivan, but wait! This one fits three rows of seats into a small, fuel-efficient “microvan”.
Just named the top family sedan by Consumer Reports, this family car offers excellent fuel economy and performance.
The newer design of this one allows for excellent visibility at all angles as well as the other perks like improved legroom and cargo space from older versions.
Edmunds.com says this car is roomy and comfortable. Models with second-row bench seats were specifically designed to accommodate three car seats across.