If you’ve recently had kids and plan on driving them places like school or daycare, you’re going to need some car seats and that means getting a car big enough to handle them. If you already have a car, and it happens to be one of the top 5 best selling sedans in recent years in North America, you are probably already in good hands:
Some fancier cars for flavor:
Second hip room: 54.7 inches
The top selling sedan in North America is a Camry, and there’s good reason. It earns a top safety rating, starts at a reasonable $23,495 and has a lot of space in the back seat, approximately 54.7 inches which will easily fit two or three car seats.
It can also get just over 40 MPG on the highway, which is impressive considering its mid-size class. If you want to avoid the depreciation of a new car, 2015 base Toyota Camrys are valued at as much as $14,636.
Second hip room: 43.9 inches
The Corolla is the smallest car on this list, and it feels like it when you sit inside too. However its price is competitive at $18,550, and the back seat is only smaller than a Civic’s by about three inches. The Corolla supposedly gets about 40 MPG on the highway, which is also a competitive number for its class. For a 2015 base Toyota Corolla the price is just over $12,000.
Second hip room: 47.3 inches
The new Civic is a brilliant second car for families. It’s got a 5 star safety rating, weighs as much as 3,000 pounds, gets potentially more than 40 MPG on the highway, and starts at $18,840, or $13,046 for a 2015 base model.
The back seat stretches just over 47 inches, so two car seats can easily fit. The Civic is classified as a compact car, so it’s going to be smaller than an Accord or Camry, hence its practicality as a secondary car. The price alone justifies it as such.
Second hip room: 55 inches
Providing the most back seat space on this list at a colossal 55 inches, the Honda Accord also scores a perfect safety rating by the IIHS and gets just under 40 MPG on the highway.
It starts at $23,570 but the sheer size of it and power options make the extra $5,000 on top of the Civic’s MSRP a worthy investment. For a 2015 base model the Honda Accord goes for $14,748.
Second hip room: 52.1 inches
Slotting itself between the Civic and Camry is the Nissan Altima. Even with its price that challenges that of the Camry at $23,260, the Altima earned a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA, gets 38 MPG and has a back seat length of just over 52 inches. It's big enough to comfortably fit a couple of car seats without too much trouble. For a 2015 base price you're looking at a meek $13,583.
The problem is, most parents think they must surrender their enthusiasm for sporty or luxury cars and settle for an SUV or minivan, just because it’s “safe” or “practical.” That said, there’s nothing wrong with minivans or SUVs. In fact, they can be fast, comfortable, luxurious and cool. But for those who have a taste for the flair, performance and prestige of a more sporty variety, here are some options.
Now we’ve entered luxury with the Mercedes C63 AMG, a car so big you could host your child’s next birthday party in the back seat, complete with a bounce house and performing stunt clown. It’s pricey at $66,100, but with that you get your very own turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 producing 470 horsepower. One of the great things about the C63 is even though it’s a C-class, you still get many of the benefits of the S-class design in the interior.
The C63 gets good mileage for its class at 24 MPG on the highway (14 in the city), can come with real leather upholstery and heated front seats. This car is for the parents that aren’t keen to sacrifice luxury for sliding doors and an extra row of seats. 2015 C63 AMGs are currently valued at around $50,723.
There’s a big problem that crops up when looking for a Corvette with rear seats. Yes it’s true that the Corvette has never actually had rear seats to begin with, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not a problem. So what do you do when you want Corvette power coupled with rear seats? Make way for one of the fastest sedans ever built, the Cadillac CTS-V. It’s got four doors, a luxurious, plush, leather interior with big seats that you can sink into, and a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 producing about 640 horsepower.
True, the Cadillac starts at a hefty $86,500, but that pays for a lot of luxury and comfort. The shifting is smooth, handling is graceful, and the power is right there for the taking, under your right foot. Corvette power with four doors. The CTS-V didn’t come in the form of a sedan for the 2015 model year, however the 2014 CTS-V sedan goes for $40,461.
There are plenty of other choices out there, but these probably provide some of the most fun you can have behind the wheel, with children in the back seat, for less than $100,000, which is good news for those of you raising kids on a budget.
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