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12 Great Family Cars for the Recession Page 2

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Likes:
*  Very roomy
* Easier to live with than a full-size SUV
* Luxurious interior
* Lots of standard features
* Clever options (heated windshield washers!)

Dislikes:
*  Transmission "hunts"
* Weighs almost 5,000 pounds and feels it
* Price is high for a non-luxury-brand vehicle

2009 Hyundai Genesis

2009 Hyundai Genesis

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2009 Hyundai Genesis

What is it? A surprisingly sophisticated four-door sedan with V-6 or V-8 power
Family values: Exceptional rear-seat legroom; luxurious interior and quality feel; great safety features
Price range: $32,000-$38,000 base

The 2009 Hyundai Genesis is a major surprise from an automaker bent on breaking into the major leagues. It’s a big four-door with Benz S-Class-sized rear-seat room—and the quality construction of its Japanese kin, the Infiniti M and Lexus GS. The Genesis’ ultimate weapon is a big V-8 with nearly 400 horsepower, though the more economical V-6 edition is quick in its own right. A strong warranty helps build the case that the $32,000 Genesis is a reasonable substitute for cars costing half as much. The Genesis earned a rating of 8.2 out of 10 from TheCarConnection.com’s review experts.

Likes:
* Straight-line acceleration
* Elegant, stylish interior design
* Quiet, refined cabin
* Vast backseat space

Dislikes:
* Overly conservative exterior
* Doesn’t handle like a sport sedan
* Some details are lacking

2010 Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius

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2010 Toyota Prius

What is it? The third generation hybrid hatchback from the world’s biggest hybrid automaker
Family values: Five-passenger seating; 51-mpg city fuel economy; enviable Toyota reputation for reliability
Price range: $21,500 and up (est.)

The 2010 Toyota Prius is a complete makeover of the world’s most popular hybrid car. The new version stands by its five-passenger hatchback shape, which has become a touch more stylish, and now has an interior quality that’s more appropriate to its price point. A new 1.8-liter four-cylinder and electric drivetrain gives the Prius more power but higher fuel economy—51/48 mpg. A special Eco driving mode helps drivers pilot it more efficiently, and an EV mode gives about a mile of electric-only propulsion. Though base prices have stayed about $21,500, smart shoppers will also consider the 2009 model, which still earns 48/45 mpg fuel economy ratings. In all, the 2010 Prius rates 8.2 out of 10 on TheCarConnection.com.

 

Likes:
*Exceptional fuel economy
*Tall, airy cabin
*Hatchback utility
*Improved driving feel
*More upscale effort in general

Dislikes:
*Likely more expensive
*Still drives like a hybrid
*Console design means less knee room in front

2010 Kia Soul

2010 Kia Soul

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2010 Kia Soul

What is it? Compact urban wagon with seating for five
Family values: Tall roof for growing teen passengers; full complement of safety features standard; entertainment includes standard satellite radio
Price range: $13,300-$16,950 base

The 2010 Kia Soul is a brand-new wagon in the cute urban wheels niche that includes the Scion xB and the new Nissan Cube. The Soul trumps them both, and for city families with a need for flexibility, its compact body and flip-folding rear seats will make errands and carpools easy. The Soul’s most stirring feature is its angular, youthful body—but standard Sirius satellite radio and available Bluetooth are uncommon in this class, too. Six airbags and stability control are standard, and Kia expects the Soul to score top crash-test ratings. TheCarConnection.com’s team of auto experts rank the Soul at 8.2 out of 10.

Likes:
*  Adorable, angular shape
* Fun and spacious interior
* Standard safety equipment
* Well-equipped, even in base trim

Dislikes:
*  Manual shifter has long travel
* Drivetrain thrum at highway speed
* Not quick

2009 Subaru Forester

2009 Subaru Forester

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2009 Subaru Forester

What is it? A perennial all-weather favorite, with five-passenger seating and all-wheel drive
Family values: Frugal choice in its class; great safety equipment; more refined interior and more comfortable seats
Price range: $20,000 - $30,000

The 2009 Subaru Forester is a familiar face in the crossover class—only this time around, it’s grown up with a nice new cabin and more supportive seating for five adults. It’s smaller than some mid-size crossovers, and it lacks some cutting-edge features, but the Forester specializes in dependability and simplicity, and its all-wheel-drive system with four-cylinder or turbo four engines makes for good fuel economy. You’ll feel more in control of the Forester’s nimble handling than in most crossovers—and secure in the knowledge that six airbags and anti-lock brakes will keep you safe. TheCarConnection.com’s expert reviewers ranked the Forester 8 out of 10.

Likes:
* Improved styling
* Reduced interior noise
* All-wheel drive
* Carlike handling

Dislikes:
* Still not a great-looking machine
* No manual gearbox on turbo models
* Only four speeds on automatic
* Lots of silver plastic in the cabin


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Comments (2)
  1. "Not a single minivan?"

    Vans are cheaper and more useful than a bunch of "crossovers" you have listed... A true ideal family car for the recession.
     
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  2. Vans? Were is the luxury and comfort in a van for sale? I would recommend 'crossovers' for the family even though you may pay a little moe you get what you pay for i say.
     
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