Consumer Reports reviews family friendly vehicles

Safety, reliability top concerns for families

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Consumer Reports found the some highly rated vehicles that are practical, durable, comfortable and safety conscious for families.

People who are in the market for a family car want something reliable and safe, and Consumer Reports considered that when recommending vehicles for every stage of life.

"When your kids are little, it's all about car seats. And when your kids get older or traveling with aging parents, it's all about accessibility, getting in and out," said Jennifer Stockburger, with Consumer Reports. "For lanky teenagers, rear seat comfort is all about enough head and leg room."

The Lexus RX SUV is one, Stockburger said, that hits all the markets for families of every age. Big doors and chair height seats make getting in and out easy. The backseat fits three adults, and the V6 engine is powerful. The hybrid version of the vehicle gets 29 miles to the gallon. It starts at $42,000.

For family travel, it's hard to beat the flexibility of a minivan. Consumer Reports recommended the Toyota Sienna, which families can get for less than $29,000. It seats eight, but the middle center seat can be stowed away for more room. And the Sienna is the only minivan available with all wheel drive.

Consumer Reports also recommended the Subaru Forester, which families can get for less than $23,000. It has a lot of cargo space, good driver visibility and is reliable and fuel efficient.

If car seats are a part of your family's life, it's a good idea to take them along to the dealership to make sure they fit in the vehicle you're considering.  

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