2013 Ford FlexEnlarge Photo
When shopping for a crossover for the family, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the 30-plus products on the market, let alone be able to hone in on what really separates one from the other in terms of how family-friendly they are.
One way to approach this is to take a look at some of the different features available that are not only nifty, but also neat and, in some cases, nimble (Hint: fold-away rear seats, power liftgates). Here’s a quick look at some of them.
2013 Ford FlexEnlarge Photo
With seating for up to seven, the 2013 Ford Flex boasts a lot of family-friendly features and storage space galore. The Flex has a standard center armrest with interior storage, 10 cup holders, an overhead console with sunglasses holder, hooks for grocery bags in the cargo area, a rear pull-out drawer with cup holders and storage, and a 50/50 split-folding third-row seat. Neat options include a class-exclusive second-row refrigerated console and 40/40 second-row reclining seats with power folding release. The exterior can be outfitted with optional roof racks and carriers and a power liftgate.
2013 Ford EscapeEnlarge Photo
The new 2013 Ford Escape has more cargo space than the previous model and includes numerous clever spots for hiding and toting various family paraphernalia. These include umbrella holders on the seats, a hidden floor bin in the second row, and ticket holders in the sun visors.
The rear seats fold back easily with the push of a button and a lever release to provide sufficient space for luggage, ski bags or a bicycle. Loading and unloading is a snap with the available hands-free power liftgate. All that’s necessary is a gentle kicking motion under the center of the rear bumper and the liftgate automatically opens or closes. The system has an internal safeguard built in so that the liftgate cannot open or close if an animal darts underneath the bumper or when the vehicle is in motion and hits a bump in the road.
Other useful storage and convenience features include eight cupholders; USB ports in the center console and a 110-volt inverter located in the back of the floor console for easy plug-in of laptops, cell phones or other electronics; a center console space to hold a one-liter bottle, CDs or an MP3 player; a card holder below and a stowage bin above the center of the instrument panel, and a rear cargo management system. Check out more about the clever storage spaces in the 2013 Escape in the video below.
2013 Ford Explorer SportEnlarge Photo
The seven-passenger 2013 Ford Explorer has a first-row center floor console with arm rest and storage bin, overhead console with sunglasses holder, and cargo hooks. Optional features include a cargo cover for the interior and roof rail crossbars for the exterior.
Have a connected family? The Explorer offers a media hub that tucks into the center console. It bundles two USB ports, a set of RCA jacks for gaming systems, and an SD card slot for music or data.
2012 Honda CR-VEnlarge Photo
The compact, five-passenger 2012 Honda CR-V features a handy upper and lower glove compartment, a conversation mirror with sunglasses holder that allows the driver to check on the kids in the back seat without turning around, eight cup holders, a retractable tray table, an under-seat storage bin, and cargo area tie-down anchors. Optional interior features include a dual-deck storage shelf and a rear entertainment system with seven-inch display, DVD player, wireless headphones and remote. The exterior can be optioned with a short roof box, roof rack, or skateboard, surfboard, ski, and bike or kayak attachments.