If you’re planning to start a family, or maybe you already have a little one on the way, you know that a lot of exciting changes and challenges come along with this next stage. Gone are the carefree days of living life on your own terms. And now that you’ve got another person tote around, you may find yourself looking at used vehicles for sale. As you plan for your growing family, one of the many questions you might be asking yourself includes, “what are great small family vehicles?”
For some, having kids means moving into a bigger home with a better school system. Adding child locks on drawers and cabinets, swapping your purse or gym bag for a diaper bag, and equipping your car with a secure car seat are all par for the course for parents-to-be. It doesn’t take long for family finances to become strained with the addition of a new family member on the horizon. Luckily, there are plenty of great family vehicles on the resale market that won’t break the bank. Here are five suggestions to get you started on your search.
The 2014 Chevy Impala
The Chevy Impala is a king-sized sedan with plenty of room for both you and the kids. Are you bringing the new uncle along for the trip? The Impala will comfortably fit a tall adult in the backseat on long rides without feeling cramped.
The Impala’s large truck with 18.8 cubic feet of space gladly accommodates your new stroller, a pack of diapers, and maybe even a tricycle. Furthermore, a 60/40 split-folding rear seatback adds something that every family needs, flexibility. All in all, with this sedan, you won’t feel the need to upgrade to an SUV anytime soon.
Several modern conveniences can be found for a bargain in the 2014 model. An 8-inch MyLink touchscreen interface offers easy access to audio controls, navigation, and your cell phone. Even if you opt for the base LS model, you’ll get a 4.2-inch touchscreen. However, the LT and LTZ models included the larger screen as standard.
The top trim LTZs even provide several standard driver safety aids. Forward collision warnings, blind-spot monitoring, and lane departure with automatic steering correction technology will quickly make you forget that you’re in a used car. These high-tech features may also be found in LT models that were equipped with the optional safety package.
The 2014 Hyundai Sonata
The 2014 Hyundai Sonata came in three different trims (GLS, SE, and Limited), along with a hybrid model, and families will find lots of standard features in even the base model. The GLS is equipped with air conditioning, cruise control, heated mirrors, and satellite radio. Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Hyundai’s BlueLink telematics system, and a trip computer are all guaranteed. If your 2014 GLS has the Popular Equipment Package, you’ll also find automatic headlights, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a 4.3-inch touchscreen, and a rearview camera. Not bad for a used base model that could be found for under 10k.
Moving up, the SE trim brings a keyless entry and ignition, a color LCD trip computer, sport-tuned suspension, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A 2-liter turbocharged engine also became available on the SE, as does dual-zone climate control to keep everyone at their preferred temperature for your family vacation. If you decide to go for the 2014 Limited, an 8-inch touchscreen display and 12-speaker Infinity sound system (with the Limited Technology Package) are right in line with the types of features you’d expect in a brand new sedan. While the backseats are better suited to children than adults, you’ll have no trouble fitting a family of four, with an occasional extra friend in the back.
The 2016 Chevy Malibu
The Chevy Malibu was completely redesigned in 2016, securing its reputation as a top-choice midsize family sedan. Major improvements happened in 2016, including a modernized exterior, a new turbocharged 1.5-liter base engine, and a decent offering of technology features. Adding four inches to the wheelbase opened up rear legroom, providing your family with plenty of room to grow.
Opting for the LS trim (second up from the base) brings 4G LTE wifi connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen with the MyLink infotainment system and smartphone compatibility, a rearview camera, and Bluetooth streaming audio. For busy parents on the go, the LS Malibu pretty much takes care of general connectivity needs. Upgrading to the higher-end, Premier adds more modern conveniences such as a remote ignition, heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless smartphone charging, a 120-volt power outlet, and two more USB ports. The touchscreen is also bigger, at 8 inches, and the standard navigation and 9-speaker Bose audio system are the icing on the cake.
The 2017 Honda Civic
The flashy Honda Civic will make you feel like a cool parent with plenty of safety features to give you peace of mind. Beyond just looks, the Civic’s top safety ratings across the board make the 2017 model a stellar choice for your family. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2017 Civic a perfect 5-star score in every test from rollovers, side crash testing, and frontal barrier crash ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shared this sentiment by awarding the highest “Good” rating in side-impact, roof strength, frontal crash protection, and more.
A bit more lively than most sedans, the Civic still manages to provide competitive fuel economy and a roomy interior. Starting with LX, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. This can be paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission. Civic EX-Ts in 2017 were built with the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that boosts output to 174 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque.
If you’re running late for that PTO meeting or parent-teacher conference, the Honda Civic will give you an extra edge to beat traffic and arrive on time. Its compact maneuverability makes fitting into tight parking spaces a breeze, even when you’re in a hurry. Despite its excellent safety ratings, safe driving habits behind the wheel are the most important factor in keeping you and your family protected. Don’t let the Civic’s sleek performance tempt you to speed beyond the safe limit.
The 2018 Toyota Corolla
If you’ve got a bit more flexibility in your budget, a slightly used 2018 Toyota Corolla is another fabulous family find. With lots of room, ample convenience features, and Toyota’s dependable engineering, buying a Corolla means you will have one less thing to worry about. Also highly rated by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a 2018 Corolla is a vehicle that you can feel confident driving young children in.
A 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine powers the Corolla’s six trims. You can expect 132 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque, aside from the LE Eco trim, which is slightly different at 140 hp and 126 lb-ft of torque. Given that this model is newer than the other used vehicles mentioned, you will find better tech, such as a 6.1-inch touchscreen and Siri Eyes Free voice control system, standard even on the base L model. Generous standard safety technology features include lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, a rearview camera, and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection.