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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Carpool Cool

How many seats do you need?  How much cargo will you carry? How does one vehicle stack up against others in the level of gadgetry that your family demands?  Where else will you want to take your family-friendly vehicle besides the city streets?  And last but not least, will your little junior execs and sports stars and their friends find it cool enough?


We’ve selected some family-friendly vehicles that deliver the goods without breaking the bank.  Our price estimates do assume you’ll opt for some of the extras.

3 Rows and Able to Tow in the Mid $30Ks


The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder brings to the table a more powerful V6 engine that produces 24 more horsepower and 19 more pound-feet of torque than its predecessor.  The acceleration improvement plus revised steering and suspension and greater towing capacity (up to 6,000 pounds) are some good reasons to check out the 2017 Pathfinder.  How about an optional all-wheel-drive system that includes a four-wheel lock function and hill-descent controI?  The Pathfinder also received some exterior style modifications and additional creature comforts including a large touchscreen interface.


Powerful and Loaded in the $40K Range


Consider a fully loaded Acura RDX with Advance package and optional all-wheel drive for about the same price as your base model Euro imports. The RDX also proves that a compact SUV doesn’t have to be tight on space, in fact it may also be worth a comparison if you’re looking at 5-seat mid-sizers. Its elevated rear seat provides a commanding view and generous legroom.  The RDX also ranks tops in cargo capacity in its segment.  A 3.5-liter V6 engine good for 279 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque makes it plenty quick while still rating 23 mpg combined. 

Up to 8 Jet Around Smoothly and Comfortably for about $35K


The all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica completely sets the bar as the only minivan earning a 2017 Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) rating.  Its interior feels a bit like a private jet cabin due to its front to back center aisle that allows you to get easily to the third row.  There's also a second-row seat tilt feature that allows you to tip the Stow 'n Go seats forward without having to remove child safety seats.  A removable center second-row seat, boosting passenger capacity to eight, is also available.  Optional features include a dual-screen rear entertainment system, a built-in vacuum cleaner, an automated parallel and perpendicular parking system, a 20-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and a tow package good for 3,600 pounds.  A 3.6-liter V6 delivers 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque to the Pacifica’s front wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Pacifica Hybrid variant is the first hybrid minivan on the market, operating up to 30 miles on electric power alone before switching over to regular gasoline/electric hybrid power.

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