Every year, automakers are upgrading and updating their model lineups with the sole purpose of answering the needs of today’s active families. For model year 2014, the magic word is: Technology.
Nowadays, everyone from post-toddlers to senior citizens have a need to be connected on any of a multitude of techie platforms. We demand to stay safely connected while on the road, so automakers are taking notice and adding more tech features with each model update.
For example, in 2014 the highly popular Honda Odyssey minivan is adding a technology package to every vehicle that would make Thomas Edison’s head spin. Standard Bluetooth connectivity is now offered across all lines, along with a special hands-free SMS text messaging function and an interface that features Pandora Internet radio. On the safety side, the Odyssey is adding blind-spot display and forward collision and lane departure warnings.
That’s just a sample of some of the tech-savvy features that are popping up on many new and revised family cars in the next few months. Here’s a sneak peak at what’s new for family cars for 2014. Prices listed are the base Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) and fuel economy is listed in miles per gallon (MPG) and based on the most efficient engine for that model. NA means data is not yet available.
Honda Odyssey This minivan arrives refreshed with a host of the necessary engine, styling, interior, feature and safety upgrades, all designed to meet the needs of today’s family. In addition to the tech gadgets listed above, Honda also has a vacuum option available on its top-of-the-line Odyssey models. After a quick clean-up, you are ready to go!
MSRP: $28,825 | MPG: 19 city, 28 highway
Kia Cadenza Kia, which is not typically known for producing high-end models, is launching this new full-size sedan as its entry into the luxury market and it’s loaded with treasures. The Cadenza features a large interior cabin with leather upholstery, real wood trim and a nifty navigation system that shows traffic and many other e-services. There’s even an app for your smart phone.
MSRP: $35,100 | MPG: 19 city, 28 highway
Honda Accord Hybrid As fuel prices continue to rise, parents are more aware than ever about the new advances in hybrid technology. For 2014, Honda expands its lineup with the Ohio-built Honda Accord Hybrid that should average almost 50 mpg in city driving. Featuring the same comfort and styling as the redesigned Accord, redesigned in ’13, parents should be pleased that the hybrid model has three driving modes – EV, Hybrid and Engine – to help optimize fuel efficiency.
MSRP: $39,780 | MPG: 47 city, 46 highway
Acura RLX Acura’s new entry into the luxury sedan market is the most powerful, spacious and technologically advanced sedan in its lineup.
MSRP: $48,450 | MPG: 21 city, 31 highway
Cadillac CTS This mid-size luxury sedan is longer, stronger and yet lighter than its predecessor, and adds dramatic styling with a lower profile and striking LED-enhanced lighting. In addition, Cadillac is offering a CTS Sport Wagon that is a progressive take on the classic American family wagon.
MSRP: $46,025 | MPG: 18 city, 27 highway
Chevrolet Impala This stalwart family sedan is taking a bold leap into the future with a new, contemporary design and more space for people and cargo. The Impala’s high-tech cockpit features a driver information system with an 8-inch touch screen that can be configured to appease each family member.
MSRP: $27,535 | MPG: 21 city, 31 highway
Jeep Grand Cherokee The new Grand Cherokee has been redesigned and refined to help families enjoy the best of all worlds: luxury, safety and economy. A new EcoDiesel V-6 engine is expected to get 30 mpg while delivering a wide array of safety features and user-friendly technology to keep the family connected and entertained.
MSRP: $29,790 | MPG: 22 city, 30 highway
Mitsubishi Outlander The largest SUV in Mitsubishi’s lineup has a new look and less weight that will help improve fuel mileage for this seven-seater. A plug-in hybrid Outlander is also due to come out in 2014.
MSRP: $22,995 | MPG: 25 city, 31 highway
Range Rover Sport The new Sport has been trimmed and toned to be faster, more agile and able to tackle the toughest off-road challenges while featuring high-end technology and luxury interior appointments.
MSRP: $63,495 | MPG: 17 city, 23 highway
Ford Transit Connect Wagon This passenger-focused wagon is an expansion of the Ford Transit Connect cargo van, and some may argue that this is the perfect parent-mobile. Despite its boxy appearance, the wagon rides like a car, seats five or seven, provides great cargo flexibility and is expected to achieve close to 30 mpg.
MSRP: $22,425 | MPG: 21 city, 27 highway
Jeep Cherokee This legendary Jeep model has risen from the grave with a new design that is stronger, lighter and way more fuel efficient than its previous incarnations, getting an estimated 31 mpg with the four-cylinder engine. Safety innovations include lane departure and forward collision warnings, rear backup camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, adaptive cruise control and more.
MSRP: $23,990 | MPG: 21 city, 28 highway
Mitsubishi Mirage The newest model from Mitsubishi also carries the lowest sticker price of our list, but don’t think it means the Mirage is any less of a car; an impressive array of features and great fuel mileage are just a start.
MSRP: $12,500 | MPG: 37 city, 44 highway
Volvo V60 Based on the popular S60 sedan, Volvo’s new V60 Sports Wagon has already been pleasing parents in Europe by offering the same Volvo safety and handling characteristics, combined with greater flexibility for hauling cargo and kids. There’s even a choice of integrated two-level child booster cushions.
MSRP: $32,400 | MPG: NA
BMW X5 The makeover of the X5 “Sports Activity Vehicle” (SAV) adds style, comfort, convenience and safety features, and a new rear-wheel drive option. An available third-row offers seating for up to seven passengers, a feature that’s sure to please the carpool crowd.
MSRP: $53,725 | MPG: NA
Toyota Highlander The popular Highlander gets a full makeover this year, adding family-friendly features like the sliding second row seats that make it easier to access the third row and full seating for eight. Heated second row captain’s chairs are also available.
MSRP: NA | MPG: NA
Fiat 500L Chrysler’s model lineup has expanded to include a full line of Fiat 500 models, with the latest being a four-door, five-passenger micro-minivan that features a generous amount of cargo space.
MSRP: $19,100 | MPG: 24 city, 33 highway
Toyota Corolla Totally redesigned for 2014, the entry-level Corolla – a favorite among college-bound kids – is longer, lower and wider than the current version, and comes standard with air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and eight airbags.
MSRP: $16,800 | MPG: 28 city, 37 highway
Nissan Versa Note A hatchback sport wagon, the Nissan Versa Note features an open cabin with lots of cargo space, split rear seats and hidden under-floor storage compartment.
MSRP: $13,999 | MPG: 31 city, 40 highway
Kia Soul The new-look Soul enhances its too-cool-for-school design to accentuate the exotic look that has made Soul a popular pick for all ages. The interior has expanded a bit to add more leg and head room for all passengers.
MSRP: $14,700 | MPG: NA