If the term "family vehicle" conjures up horrible memories of trips to the lake in a boxy minivan, you're not alone. Millions of young parents are still traumatized by childhood experiences like these.
While you've been out driving sleeker, smaller cars, the automotive world has changed. Recent design trends in the family car segment have emphasized good looks and impressive power without sacrificing utility and convenience. Toyota's new lineup of crossovers, minivans and efficient SUVs has created a brand-new market for family drivers who aren't ready to sacrifice performance.
The Crossover Approach
The crossover vehicle is one of the most important innovations of the past two decades. As the name suggests, crossovers are "crosses" between cars and trucks. Since they're built on the "unibody" platforms that underpin Toyota's most popular cars, vehicles like the Venza and RAV-4 offer the smooth ride and low profile of smaller sedans in a roomier, sleeker package. With ample storage space and solid towing capacity, crossovers are popular with medium-sized families and outdoorsy singles.
SUVs with Creature Comforts
SUVs have never been more family friendly. Larger models like the Highlander and 4-Runner can seat six to eight passengers in supreme comfort and leave plenty of room for luggage, athletic equipment and groceries. Once relegated to stodgy truck platforms that juddered and bounced over every pothole, modern SUVs have more flexible frames that can handle paved and unpaved roads without trouble. They also boast entertainment packages with DVD players and MP3 functionality for the little ones.
Although the minivan revolutionized the family-car segment in the 1980s, its reputation has suffered a bit in the intervening years. These days, "cool" types cling to the outdated notion that minivans are boxy, decidedly uncool people-carriers that have no place on 21st-century roads.
The brilliant design gurus at Toyota never got this memo. Minivans like the Toyota Sienna boast sleek exterior lines, interior creature comforts and responsive handling. Thanks to changes in engine technology, they're also more powerful and efficient than their predecessors. "Cool" parents can feel secure behind the wheel of a new Sienna.
Roomier Family Sedans
Ongoing improvements in fuel economy have benefited all of Toyota's family vehicles, but many buyers continue to hunt for smaller, more efficient rides for the little ones. Fortunately, mid-size and full-size sedans like the Camry and Avalon are roomier than ever. From satellite navigation systems to second-row cup holders, these formerly modest vehicles now boast many high-end features that wouldn't be out of place in true luxury cars. Of course, you'd never know it from their price tags.
If you're still worried that your next vehicle won't be as cool as your last one, the automotive professionals at Fernelius Toyota can put you at ease. Our Michigan car dealership specializes in new and used Toyota vehicles that stand the test of time and look great in the process. You can browse our selection at our website, call us at 888-337-6354 or stop by in person for a test drive.