Home > Ask Gary > What vehicle(s) should I consider buying for back to school when I have kids with back packs and sports equipment?

What vehicle(s) should I consider buying for back to school when I have kids with back packs and sports equipment?

Volvo-XC90-LP-Thoughtful-Image-V1For parents, we know the main consideration is safety, combined with plenty of cargo room for sporting equipment and backpacks, along with ample space for the kids, parents, and perhaps even the family dog!

If it’s in your price range, the large and safest SUVs on the road are the luxurious Volvo XC 60 and 90. The XC 60 has 67.4 cubic feet of cargo space and the XC 90 has 93.2 cubic feet of cargo room. The Toyota Highlander is also a great choice for safety ratings and space for a mid-size SUV with 83.7 cubic feet of cargo room in 2014. (Earlier models have even more cargo room.) These three SUVs are all-wheel drive vehicles and won top picks for safety from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

However, the most practical suggestion by far, new or pre-owned, is the Toyota Sienna. This mini-van (which isn’t so “mini”) won accolades from Kelly Blue Book’s distinction for “12 Best Family Cars of 2014” and for the cars.com “Top 10 Tailgaters.” The Sienna is also an all-wheel drive vehicle, so it drives well in the upcoming slick road conditions of wet leaves, snow and ice.

Although many of the other winners on the Top Ten Tailgaters list were very different types of vehicles, such as trucks, cars.com said: “The Sienna stands out for one thing, and that’s cargo room. We’re talking a gargantuan 150 cubic feet with the third row stowed and the second row removed. That’s better than any other minivan or SUV.” Sienna Cargo room

The Boston Globe recognized this Top 10 Tailgater Honorable Mention as helping turn the minivan described on the Toyota website as “Mommy like” to macho! Interestingly enough, this is only one of many distinctions awarded the 2013 Toyota Sienna. The list includes:

• KBB.com Best Resale Value Award

• Best Overall Value Four Years in a Row by IntelliChoice

• IIHS Top Safety Pick Award

• Highest Retained Value in Its Class by IntelliChoice

IntelliChoice – Best Overall Value of the Year Award.

Note: IntelliChoice is a well-respected unbiased vehicle rating service with the theme of helping you “Choose your car wisely.”

For parents like you, looking for a sophisticated and “smart” vehicle, the Toyota Sienna now has “Entune” technology on -board to help drivers and passengers stay connected. This means a panel on the dashboard with an App Suite that allows you to access Bing™, listen to iHeartRadio, purchase movie tickets through MovieTickets.com, make dinner reservations with OpenTable®, listen to Pandora® and more. If that’s not enough, it includes a variety of data services to help you stay informed—something I really believe in. These services include stock, weather, traffic, fuel prices, sports and other updated reports.

What more can a parent ask for? The Sienna offers space, safety, cargo room, technology—all in one vehicle—certainly makes it my number one choice. One of our most satisfied customers of a Sienna is a mother of five sons ranging from 15 years to 9 months—and when she’s in for service, she always tells us how happy she is that she purchased this vehicle.

As the school-year begins, please remember to drive safely, especially around school buses, schools, cross-walks and in neighborhoods where children wait for the school bus. Be sure to leave plenty of space between a school bus ahead of you and your vehicle.

Best wishes to all parents and students as you start the new school-year!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary
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