Young couple with baby

10 Best Cars For New Parents

It’s not just another mouth to feed, it’s another seat in the car. If your family is growing, it may be time to shop for bigger wheels. Here’s VroomGirls’ list of the best cars for new parents

By Aaron Gold

Having a baby means making a lot of changes in your life, including the kind of car you can drive. Most of the VroomGirls staffers are parents, and we know from experience that picking the right car can turn travels with baby from an onerous ordeal into a true joy ride. We’ve picked ten cars, aimed at different lifestyles and budgets, that make great first-time family cars.


Now that you’ve had a baby, you’re broke, right? Time to jigger the finances so that you get the most out of your new car. That’s one advantage of the Toyota Prius hybrid: Since it routinely returns around 48 MPG, it can help insulate your family’s budget against sudden spikes in gas prices. The original Toyota Prius Liftback has plenty of room for growing kids and will easily accommodate a jogging stroller in its generous trunk. If you want more space, the bigger Toyota Prius V has as much cargo room as most of the SUVs on this list, and still returns fuel economy in the low- to mid-40s — twice as good as most SUVs. For new parents on a really tight budget, the compact Toyota Prius C will easily deliver 50+ MPG in the city, and with a little creative packing, it’ll easily accommodate your stroller and baby bag. Overall, it’s an easy call to put the Prius on our list of the best cars for new parents.

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Toyota Prius Liftback
Toyota Prius V
Toyota Prius C


Unless you’re having quintuplets, a 7-seat minivan is probably overkill for a first-time parent — but you might want to check out Mazda’s mini-minivan, the Mazda5. Outside, it’s the size of a Honda Civic, but inside it’s got tons of space and flexible seating for up to six, perfect for impromptu carpools or taking the the in-laws to dinner. Folding just one seat down gives you all the room you need for your overstuffed baby bag and king-size Peg Perego, and the sliding rear doors come in very handy in crowded parking lots. Best yet, the Mazda5’s “one-box” design gives a sense of family togetherness that SUVs and wagons don’t deliver.

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A subcompact sedan is probably the last vehicle you’d expect to find on a list of family-friendly cars, but for new families on a tight budget, the Chevrolet Sonic makes good sense: It’s got a decent-sized back seat, a stroller-friendly trunk, and — most importantly — it’s strong on safety, with ten airbags (rather than the six found in most cars), a perfect five-star crash-test rating, and the subscription-based OnStar system, which automatically pin-points the car’s location and calls for help if the car is involved in a crash. The Chevy Sonic is also good-looking, inexpensive to buy and gets excellent gas mileage, with some models delivering up to 40 MPG on the highway.

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Chevy Sonic


It’s been 14 years since Lexus debuted its incredibly popular crossover, then called the RX 300. Lexus was the first to introduce this type of vehicle – all the practicality of an SUV with the excellent ride quality of a car – into the luxury category, and not surprisingly, it still is the best-selling luxury CUV (crossover utility vehicle). This summer, the RX gets a facelift as a 2013 model. Besides a style upgrade, the RX will come in three versions: the RX 350, a hybrid RX 450h, and a super-quick RX 350 F-Sport for guys and gals who just can’t stay in the slow lane. Look for optional upgrades like voice-activated navigation. Just say, “Show me Chinese restaurants” and a list will pop up on the Nav, along with turn-by-turn directions. The voice activation also works on audio controls and the climate system. Say, “It’s too hot in here,” and the temperature will drop by four degrees. Cool!


Several of the VroomGirls staffers drive German cars because we love the way they go down the road — they feel sporty in the corners and give us the confidence that we can deftly swerve our way out of trouble. The Volkswagen Tiguan provides that Vroomy German feel in a handily-sized five-seat CUV (crossover utility vehicle) that is big enough to haul a bulky baby stroller, yet small enough to fit into parking spaces where minivans dare not tread. Best yet, the Tiguan has a groovy cool-mom vibe and a price tag comparable to its Japanese competition.

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VW Tiguan


If you thought parenthood meant your fast drivin’ days were over, you ought to test-drive the Infiniti FX, which is basically an SUV body draped over a sports-car chassis. Like most SUVs, the FX has adequate room for baby and baby gear and optional all-wheel-drive for bad weather. But unlike most SUVs, the Infiniti FX is huge fun to drive, offering a choice of a monstrously powerful V6 engine or an insanely fast V8, and it attacks curvy roads with the eagerness of a Porsche. And since Infiniti is a luxury brand, the accodations are first-class, with plush leather seats, an excellent Bose stereo, and gizmos and gadgets galore.

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Infiniti FX


When you’re a new parent, the reliability of a new car becomes really important — a broken-down car is bad enough, but a breakdown with a baby can be a real nightmare. But what if you only have a used-car budget? Then you should check out the Nissan Versa, America’s least-expensive new car. Prices start under $12,000 with a stick-shift and air conditioning, and you can get one with an automatic transmission and power windows for a bit over fifteen grand. The Nissan Versa isn’t much to look at, but it’s got a big back seat and a trunk that’ll swallow at least two kids’ worth of baby gear. Nissans are notoriously reliable cars, but even so, the 3 year/36,000 mile warranty (which includes free roadside assistance and towing) should bring peace of mind to nervous, new parents.

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Nissan Versa


Swedish automaker Volvo’s name has become synonymous with safety, but there are other reasons to buy the Volvo XC60: It’s good looking, good fun to drive (especially the turbocharged T6 version), its got a massive cargo bay, and its stylishly-trimmed interior has the most comfortable front seats in the known universe. Though the Volvo XC60’s back seat is a bit tight compared to its competitors, it has a built-in booster seat for kids between 33 and 80 lbs, which means you don’t have to worry about an improperly-installed child seat. And since it’s a Volvo, it does indeed offer the latest and greatest in safety equipment.

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Volvo XC60


Honda designed the CR-V for young, active mothers, and if ever a vehicle hits its target market, this is it. Everything about the Honda CR-V is smart, from the fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine up front to the big cargo bay out back; the latter has a low loading floor that you’ll appreciate every time you have to hoist in your stroller. The high-mounted back seat makes it just as easy to swing your little bundle of joy into her car seat, and the all-wheel-drive system is specifically designed for bad weather and extra traction in panic swerves, rather than some off-road oddysey that you’ll likely never take. And the Honda CR-V offers family-friendly features like easy-to-clean leather upholstery and a rear-seat DVD player. Industry-leading quality and affordable pricing ($23,000 – $31,000) round out this road-going Mother’s Little Helper.

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Honda CR-V


There’s a reason Subarus are so popular in New England: When the weather turns foul, these are the cars that keep on going. The Subaru Outback has a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system delivers better bad-weather traction than many full-size SUVs, but it drives and handles like a car, which means it’s much easier to retain control in a panic swerve. The Outback’s station-wagon body provides plenty of room for strollers and diaper bags, not to mention art projects, bicycles, scouting gear, band instruments, and steamer trunks. That’s important, because Subarus are also known for their longevity, and the Outback you buy to bring your new baby home could easily be the same Subaru Outback in which you send her off to college.

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Subaru Outback

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5 Responses to “10 Best Cars For New Parents”

  1. Rich says:

    Vroomgirls: You have a pic of the Mazda CX-5 up there, rather than the Mazda 5. Just FYI!

  2. jen says:

    I find it interesting that the toyota raav4 is not on any list like this that I’ve found

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