Kid haul­ing

Ten ve­hi­cles with fea­tures par­ents should love

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS - BY BRETT RO­MANS

Look­ing for a ve­hi­cle to haul around your grow­ing fam­ily? While a big­ger and roomier car, mini­van or SUV is likely a top pri­or­ity, there’s more to a fam­ily’s needs than just “big­ger is bet­ter.” Cer­tain fea­tures can make kid-haul­ing a lot eas­ier and safer, and fo­cus­ing on these fea­tures can of­ten give you a wider va­ri­ety of ve­hi­cles from which to choose.

Edmunds rounded up 10 SUVs, mini­vans and cars that of­fer fea­tures it thinks par­ents will love. Note that the pric­ing be­low is for the trim level re­quired to get the high­lighted fea­ture.

BMW 3 SERIES

THE FEA­TURE: Built-in rear win­dow sun­shades. After dark­t­inted win­dows, rear door sun­shades are the best de­fence against strong sun­light and pry­ing eyes. The 3 Series’ mesh fab­ric shades man­u­ally clip to the top of the win­dow frames or re­tract into the door when not in use. Own­ers will like these a lot more than flimsy af­ter­mar­ket sun­shades that at­tach with suc­tion cups.

STARTING MSRP: $39,745 (2017 BMW 330i)

CHEVRO­LET EQUINOX

THE FEA­TURE: Mul­ti­ple USB ports. Trav­el­ing fam­i­lies of­ten need to con­nect or charge more than one de­vice. The prob­lem is that many ve­hi­cles have just one USB port. But the all-new 2018 Equinox of­fers up to six USB ports: two up front, two in the cen­tre arm­rest bin and two charge-only USB ports for rear pas­sen­gers.

STARTING MSRP: $27,695 (2018 Chevro­let Equinox LT)

CHRYSLER PACIFICA

THE FEA­TURE: Stow ‘n Vac vac­uum cleaner. You can get the Pacifica with an op­tional on­board vac­uum cleaner. It can eas­ily clean up the typ­i­cal kid­cre­ated de­tri­tus and dirt, and it stows away in the side of the ve­hi­cle’s in­te­rior. The re­tractable hose has enough length to reach the en­tire cabin.

STARTING MSRP: $44,790 (2018 Chrysler Pacifica Tour­ing)

FORD EX­PLORER

THE FEA­TURE: MyKey. The Ex­plorer, along with many other Ford ve­hi­cles, has this spe­cial fea­ture. When ac­ti­vated, MyKey primes the Ex­plorer to en­cour­age younger driv­ers to de­velop safe habits. Own­ers can set cer­tain pa­ram­e­ters on the ve­hi­cle, such as a top-speed limit or max­i­mum vol­ume for the stereo. Per­fect for the times when teen driv­ers get be­hind the wheel.

STARTING MSRP: $32,105 (2017 Ford Ex­plorer base)

HONDA ODYSSEY

THE FEA­TURE: CabinWatch. This over­head in­te­rior cam­era shows a de­tailed view of the all-new 2018 Odyssey’s se­cond- and third-row seat­ing. It’s a sur­pris­ingly use­ful and ef­fec­tive fea­ture for keep­ing track of what the rear oc­cu­pants are do­ing. You can even check in on an in­fant strapped in a rear­fac­ing safety seat.

STARTING MSRP: $45,450 (2018 Honda Odyssey Tour­ing)

HYUNDAI SONATA

THE FEA­TURE: Blue Link’s re­mote en­gine start. Hyundai’s Blue Link ser­vice al­lows you to start the Sonata us­ing your

smart­phone, which pro­vides ex­tra time for the car to au­to­mat­i­cally de­tect the tem­per­a­ture in­side and set the cli­mate con­trols to a com­fort­able level. It also can warm up the en­gine on cold days or get the air con­di­tion­ing crank­ing on hot ones.

STARTING MSRP: $24,585 (2018 Hyundai Sonata SEL)

MAZDA CX-9

THE FEA­TURE: A tilt-up se­cond-row seat. Nor­mally, a rear-fac­ing child safety seat in­stalled on a se­cond-row seat can keep you from slid­ing the seat for­ward to ac­cess the third row. But the CX-9 has a seat de­sign that still al­lows you to slide the se­cond row for­ward, even with a safety seat in­stalled.

STARTING MSRP: $32,460 (2017 Mazda CX-9 Sport)

TOY­OTA CAMRY

THE FEA­TURE: Safety SenseP. Ev­ery all-new 2018 Camry comes with this safety pack­age, which bun­dles ad­vanced driver safety aids such as adap­tive cruise con­trol, for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing with au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing, and lane de­par­ture warn­ing and in­ter­ven­tion. It’s a nice safety net to have in a time in which driver dis­trac­tion can be a ma­jor prob­lem.

STARTING MSRP: $24,380 (2018 Toy­ota Camry L)

VOLK­SWA­GEN AT­LAS

THE FEA­TURE: A hands-free lift­gate. If your hands are full, it can be a real has­sle to un­lock a SUV’s lift­gate and ac­cess the cargo area. The all-new At­las not only has a power-op­er­ated lift­gate but hands-free op­er­a­tion, too. Just walk up to the ve­hi­cle with the key in your pocket, wave your foot un­der­neath the rear bumper, and the lift­gate opens au­to­mat­i­cally.

STARTING MSRP: $38,015 (2018 Volk­swa­gen At­las SE With Tech­nol­ogy)

VOLVO XC90

THE FEA­TURE: A 360-de­gree sur­round-view cam­era. Why set­tle for just a rearview cam­era? The XC90’s sur­round­view cam­era sys­tem can dis­play a com­plete view, in­clud­ing peo­ple, cars and other pos­si­ble haz­ards to the side and the front of the ve­hi­cle. It makes park­ing a lot eas­ier and pro­vides ex­tra in­for­ma­tion about things you can’t see from the driver’s seat.

STARTING MSRP: $47,895 (2018 Volvo XC90 T5 Mo­men­tum)

EDMUNDS SAYS: Get­ting se­lect fea­tures on your new ve­hi­cle can fur­ther im­prove its use­ful­ness for fam­ily-haul­ing duty. Use our guide to 10 of our favourites.

WEBB BLAND/COURTESY OF FIAT CHRYSLER AU­TO­MO­BILES NORTH AMERICA LLC VIA AP

This photo pro­vided by Fiat Chrysler shows the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, an ex­am­ple of a ve­hi­cle that has fea­tures par­ents will love. One fea­ture in par­tic­u­lar is the built-in vac­uum cleaner that makes clean­ing up the in­te­rior a snap no mat­ter where the mess is left.

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