The Ultimate Family Back to School Vehicle Shopping Tips

Shopping and car pick tips for a family vehicle from experts at AutoTrader.com

car buying tipsWhile parents are gearing up and preparing to send their kids back to school in August and September, many shoppers are on the hunt for the perfect vehicle to get them through the next school year.  Experts from AutoTrader.com, the largest online auto classifieds site, offer the following insights on what parents should be on the lookout for when selecting a back to school vehicle and the most popular SUVs and mini-vans searched on AutoTrader.com:

What to look for:

  • Payment:  what can you, they, or both of you afford?
  • Warranty:  Available on new and most used and certified vehicles. A warranty that can be used at dealerships, or through independent mechanics, will be invaluable when the inevitable maintenance need occurs.
  • New, Used, or Certified Pre-Owned: It’s important to learn and explore the advantages of each of these options when determining price, dependability and safety.
  • Navigation: Parents are tasked with a lot of driving during the year between after school activities, carpooling friends for their kids and numerous shopping trips.  It’s good to look for a vehicle with a navigation system already built in.
  • Entertainment: Keeping your focus on the road is a top safety concern, so finding a car with a DVD player or even a gaming system for the kids can be a great feature to keep them occupied and keep the parents attention on driving.
  • Ease of use: Things are always hectic around back to school, so find features such as automatic sliding doors which will help lessen the stress of loading the car while holding a child and remove one less thing to worry about.
  • Roominess for passengers: Families come in all shapes and sizes, so parents should make sure they pick out a vehicle that fits everyone comfortably as they head back to school.
  • Safety: On the minds of all shoppers, parents should be on the look out for cars that come equipped with features such as electronic stability control, side airbags, anti-lock braking systems and tire pressure monitoring systems.

Top Family Car Picks

Below are the most popular SUVs and mini-vans searched on AutoTrader.com. For more ideas on specific vehicles to purchase for your back to school needs, visit the AutoTrader.com Lifestyle Center at www.AutoTrader.com/lifestyle. In the Family Focus and Trend Watch sections of this part of the site, you can view the Top 10 most researched SUVs, minivans and wagons, as well as the Top 10 most popular new vehicles.

Top Most Researched SUVs:

  • 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee – starting at $30,215
  • 2010 Toyota 4Runner – starting at $27,500
  • 2010 Jeep Wrangler – starting at $21,165
  • 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe – starting at $33,980
  • 2010 Kia Soul – starting at $13,300
  • 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe – starting at $37,280
  • 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee – starting at $27,415
  • 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – starting at $23,410
  • 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – starting at $23,065
  • 2010 Ford Expedition – starting at $33,355

Top Most Researched Minivans:

  • 2010 Honda Odyssey – starting at $26,805
  • 2005 Dodge Caravan – starting at $18,280
  • 2010 Toyota Sienna – starting $23,595
  • 2007 Honda Odyssey – starting at $25,645
  • 2006 Chrysler Town & Country LWB – starting at $25,620
  • 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan – starting at $23,265
  • 2008 Chrysler Town & Country – starting at $23,415
  • 2005 Honda Odyssey – starting at $25,195
  • 2008 Honda Odyssey – starting at $25,860
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