Our car (Camry) just got totaled and we are looking to purchase a new vehicle. We have 2 kids both in car seats and while we have managed just well with our Camrys we would like to switch to a slightly bigger car. However, I feel daunted by SUVs and minivans (never having driven any of them). The largest car I have driven is a wagon. Any suggestions (including green family cars if there is such a thing) that readers can provide based on their exp. will most appreciated.

asked 02 Dec '09, 03:56

user-650%20%28google%29's gravatar image

user-650 (google)
accept rate: 0%

+1 for not wanting to get an SUV or minivan! We are struggling with finding a new car that can fit our growing family.

(10 Dec '09, 02:55) cat_g

Three months ago we bought a Toyota Prius, which is known for being a fuel conserving hybrid (roughly 5L/100km), but less known for its comfortable dimensions.

The Prius is a hatchback car, but its length is almost the same as a regular sedan. The result is a 400 liter trunk, which is way more than enough for our stroller (when we went away on vacation we found out just how big the trunk really is), and the spacious back seat has the most leg room I've seen in any family-sized car. That's usually the first comment when someone sits in the back seat for the first time. Needless to say, our car seat fits in without a problem, and I'm sure another one (or even two) can be installed as easily. The back seat is also IsoFix compliant.

Aside from these, the Prius usually scores high on crash tests, and comes (at least here in Israel) with six airbags and very comfortable seats, even in the simpler model.

Hope this helps...


answered 02 Dec '09, 16:15

Yuval's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

edited 03 Dec '09, 07:24

+1 for six airbags. Essential for a family car.

(03 Dec '09, 03:16) Chris W. Rea

@Yuval: We are considering getting a new car, as well. One of our concerns is can you have a rear-facing car seat and still be comfortable in the front passenger seat? You mentioned you have two car seats in the back seat, is one of them rear-facing?

(10 Dec '09, 02:54) cat_g

@cat_g we have only one seat, and it isn't rear-facing. However, the answer to your question is yes. There is enough space in the back, so you can move the front seat backwards as much as you like.

(10 Dec '09, 07:57) Yuval

This isn't a recommendation for any particular car, but be aware of the risks of extra rows of seating. Often the third row is right up against the rear window, so it is in the rear crumple zone. A UK motoring programme called Fifth gear did some crash tests to demonstrate the problem.

In general I would recommend one with a Euro NCAP 5 star rating (I'm not sure what the US equivalent is). A surprising number of large "safe" 4x4s and vans score poorly in this kind of test, because of poor construction or design of crumple zones.


answered 03 Dec '09, 09:46

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller
accept rate: 19%

We really like our 2004 Toyota Rav4. However, it's not bigger than a Camry. I believe that our model has the same chassis as a Coralla. However, they appear to keep getting bigger so a newer Rav4 might be big enough for you.

Consumer Reports has a list of Best & Worst Fuel Economy for various categories of vehicles that might be useful to review.


answered 02 Dec '09, 15:35

Kiesa's gravatar image

Kiesa ♦
accept rate: 26%

Have you looked at smaller SUVs such as a Honda CRV, reliable and efficient!


answered 02 Dec '09, 07:49

Melissa%201's gravatar image

Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

The answers to a similar question posted earlier fo "What is the best minivan for a growing family" may be helpful to you.


answered 02 Dec '09, 09:56

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

The first time I ever drove a minivan was when we bought ours last year. It's really not that big a transition from other vehicles I've driven. We also have a Chevy Aveo. Both car seats fit in it well. We use the Aveo for driving around town, and the van is for long trips, or if we need to haul lots of stuff/people.


answered 02 Dec '09, 16:44

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

Mazda sells a "micro mini van" that has 3 rows of 2 seats. I think it's called the Mazda 3 but it might be the 5, I can't remember. Consumer Reports rates it highly, and it is what I hope to get next.


answered 03 Dec '09, 02:39

Fun2Dream's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

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Asked: 02 Dec '09, 03:56

Seen: 4,706 times

Last updated: 03 Dec '09, 09:46