Family Haulers Part 1: The Anti-Minivan
The family is growing and you need a vehicle that can handle kids, pets, and regular Target visits but aren’t quite ready to make the jump to the minivan. You want something stylish yet functional and don’t want to break the bank at the gas pump. Fear not, here are our top picks for the anti-minivan crowd.
The Highlander starts around $28k for a base model with a 2.7 liter 4 cylinder engine and front-wheel drive; it tops out at almost $50k for a fully-loaded 6 cylinder Hybrid Limited model with four-wheel drive.
The Highlander offers a solid reputation for reliability, upscale styling, good gas mileage for its class, and 3rd row seating. It has a comfortable ride that is very “car-like,” easy to use controls, and is highly rated in crash tests.
The Highlander doesn't offer as much passenger and cargo space as other vehicles in its class. The 2.7 liter engine struggles to maintain speed and, therefore, the actual gas mileage for the 4 cylinder version is not that great. Also, the Hybrid’s price premium over the standard V-6 outweighs any gas savings.
The Bottom Line: The Highlander is a great pick for small families that prioritize comfort and build quality.
This crossover starts at at about $30k for a Sport front-wheel drive model; a fully-optioned Grand Touring with all-wheel drive will set you back around $41k. The CX-9 has a standard 3.7 liter V-6 engine that provides brisk acceleration and up to 24 mpg highway for front-wheel drive models; all-wheel drive drops down to 22 mpg on the highway.
The CX-9 has a well-tuned suspension and is quite responsive for such a big vehicle. Third row seating can actually fit adults and cargo capacity with the 3rd row folded is generous. Touring and Grand Touring trims come well-equipped in terms of technology and comfort.
Due to the sporty suspension, the ride can be on the firm side especially with the Grand Touring’s 20” wheels. Gas mileage is about average and some find the styling to be a little dated.
The Bottom Line:
The Mazda CX-9 is for the soccer mom (or dad) who would really like to drive a sports sedan but needs the extra space. It offers a great balance between practicality, features, and fun.
Click here to get more car buying advice.
Contact us for your free consultation: AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com (609) 798-1601