Starting Price: $13,990
Family-Friendly Features: The 2010 Nissan Cube is loaded with character. There is ample passenger space in this attention-grabbing, four-door hatchback, which also offers a sliding and reclining rear bench and convenient keyless entry. All models come with standard safety features, and in government crash tests the Cube received five starts for side protection and four stars for frontal protection.
Cool Upgrades: There are a couple upgrade options, including the Cube S and Cube SL, but it's the Krom edition that includes exterior styling enhancements, rearview camera, Bluetooth, fog lights, and auto-climate control. And, for the offbeat, colorful family, there's detachable shag carpeting to adorn your dashboard.
Hyundai Elantra Touring
Starting Price: $15,995
Family-Friendly Features: The European styling of the Hyundai Elantra Touring is popular amongst families looking for a family car that sits somewhere between a wagon, a hatchback, and a minivan, yet still has the roomy interior needed to pack up and haul kids and gear. The popular basic Hyundai warranty, 5 year/60,000 miles, is a favorite perk for owners coupled with the vehicle's safety features and comfort.
Cool Upgrades: The Elantra Touring SE offers a host of extras including roof rails, sunroof, heated front seats, cooled glove box, and trip computer.
Starting Price: $15,850
Family-Friendly Features: A hip approach to the family wagon, the Scion xB seats five passengers and offers a standard list of perks: keyless entry, full-power locks and windows, a trip computer, and a great stereo system for the music-savvy clan. Visibility and fuel economy are fave features for owners, as is the ease of folding rear seats.
Cool Upgrades: If you're looking for headrest-mounted monitors and a DVD system to make road trips more kid-friendly in your zippy Scion xB, talk to your dealer for this add-on option.
Starting Price: $18,999
Family-Friendly Features: If you've considered trading in your family minivan for a more sleek, sophisticated ride with added zip, the all-new Suzuki Kizashi is a prime candidate. This mid-size sedan comes standard with front-wheel drive, keyless entry and ignition, and scored a perfect five stars in government crash tests for both side and frontal protection.
Cool Upgrades: Need a little help parking when you have a circus going on in the backseat? Upgrading to the Kizashi SLS offers rear parking sensors, leather upholstery for easier cleaning, and all-wheel drive.
Starting Price: $19, 995
Family-Friendly Features: Considered a lot of car for the money, this 2011 crossover SUV offers a 120 month/100,000-mile power train warranty and comes with standard safety features such as curtain airbags and antilock brakes. With enough room to seat five passengers comfortably, it makes for an affordable family vehicle with convenient tech-features such as Bluetooth and satellite radio capabilities.
Cool Upgrades: An upgrade to the four-wheel drive Sorento LX offers a third row of seating as well as a back-up camera -- a fave feature for Sorento owners.
Starting Price: $18,600
Family-Friendly Features: If you're wavering between a larger family vehicle and a mid-size sedan, take a look at the Mazda MAZDA6's trunk capacity and passenger room. Receiving a perfect five stars for both frontal and side protection for all passengers, this front-wheel drive gives the impression of luxury without the price.
Cool Upgrades: With eight different upgrade options, you have the ability to soup up your sedan with everything from blind spot monitoring to a voice-activated navigation system -- and everything in between.
Copyright 2010 Meredith Corporation.