10 Best Features for Your Family Road Trip
Whether you are taking a cross-country trip to grandma’s house or just shuttling your family around town, there are plenty of cool features available in today’s SUVs and minivans that can make your trip even better. While many families will be perfectly happy with a compact SUV or a 2-row midsize SUV, we still believe the amount of cargo and passenger space a 3-row setup allows makes it a better choice for family outings. Whether that’s a minivan or an SUV is up to you. Here are 10 of our favorite family-friendly road trip features.
1. Spacious third row
It's essential that the third row has enough space for the people you’re taking along. It’s also just as important to make sure that it's easy to get into and out of. The rear seats of the Volkswagen Atlas are spacious, even for tall adults, and getting in and out is a snap.
2. Intuitive navigation
Few navigation systems are as easy to use or have as clear a display as the Uconnect system available in Chrysler, Dodge, Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Ram vehicles. Seen here is the 12-inch system in the Ram 1500, which can display a massive map, or it can be used as a split-screen.
3. A lot of cupholders
Why would you want more cupholders than seats? When you're between stops and those empty beverage containers start to pile up, extra cupholders can serve as short-term storage. The cupholder champ is currently the Subaru Ascent, which boasts 19.
4. USB ports and power outlets
Making sure everyone can stay connected -- and charged -- can make a trip a lot less stressful. Vehicles are available with USB ports in all three rows, such as the Chevrolet Traverse. It also has a 120-volt, 3-prong outlet like you have in your house.
5. Seats that stow in the floor
Unlike SUVs, minivans can have their seats stowed in the floor when not in use. Collapsing the seats creates a flat cargo area. When the seats are up, such as with the Chrysler Pacifica's Stow ’n Go system, there are hidden, weatherproof storage cubbies.
6. Towing capacity
With some road trips, you want to bring an RV, boat, or some ATVs with you. There are quite a few SUVs that offer more than 5,000 pounds of towing capacity, but the SUV towing champ is the Ford Expedition, which can tow up to 9,300 pounds.
7. On-board vacuum
On the road, things get messy in a hurry. Cereal can be a great kid-friendly road snack, but it finds its way on the floor and under seats. A vehicle like the Honda Odyssey with a built-in on-board vacuum lets you easily clean the minivan’s interior at a rest stop.
8. Magic Slide second row
This feature might be a way to ease sibling bickering in the second row. The Magic Slide seat slides side to side, so that if two kids are fighting over a USB port or the last juice, the Magic Slide can separate the kids. Only one vehicle, the Honda Odyssey, currently offers it.
9. Rear-seat entertainment
Games, several USB inputs, and multiple video choices can make the miles fly by. The Uconnect system in the Chrysler Pacifica has several games built in, as well as large screens for second-row passengers, and the ability to stream video.
10. The car seat stays in place
If you are traveling with a toddler, it’s a pain to remove or adjust the car seat every time passengers want to get in or out of the third row. The Nissan Pathfinder has tilt-and-slide second-row seats that will keep the car seat in place, even when the second row is forward.
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