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Car Buyer's Guide: Even teens do not travel light
By Jack Biddle • 26/09/2015
Two hour commute and three teens demands comfort, says Jack Biddle.
Troy and Lucy have three children from 12 to 16. They have read past columns on vehicles with multi-seating configurations but thought the recommendations catered more for younger children.
“Our children and their friends are at an age where they need extra room and adult-like comfort when travelling, which is something many of the multi-seaters don’t really offer, from what we have seen. On average, our total daily commute with the kids is around two hours — which makes comfort and space a lot more important,” says Troy.
The big hurdle they have encountered with the SUV-body styled vehicles checked out so far is difficulty in accessing the rear seats.
With safety a high priority also, they are prepared to look at newer vehicles in their price range.
I appreciate the dilemma. Families with young children often need to look at additional space for accommodating bulky pushchairs and the like as much as anything else, while leg room and overall comfort becomes more important as the offspring move into those teenage and young adult years.
But they don’t travel light at times, which can mean additional space is just as important as comfort.
Kia Carnival (EX Diesel $49,990)
The new Carnival has raised the bar when it comes to combining appealing exterior looks with interior practicality. For those who dislike the people-mover tag associated with these sorts of vehicles, the Carnival could almost be described and classed as a station wagon on steroids.
The way the centre seats fold and provide ease of access to the third row has been very well thought-out. The centre middle seat can be easily removed and the rear seats fold flat to provide excellent interior space to enhance the multi-task capabilities of the vehicle.
Moving the fuel tank forward is another great design feature, allowing for a deep rear cargo space, handy when packing for larger families.
Dual auto-sliding rear side doors don’t detract from the exterior looks too much either and bolster the practicality package.
Diesel sounds like a good option with the amount of regular daily travel undertaken.
The EX is the base model in the Carnival range, but still offers loads of convenience and comfort features for all including multiple USB connections.
Honda Odyssey S ($45,900)
Honda has long been the master of making the best use of interior space and the new generation Odyssey won’t disappoint.
The addition of a passenger-side power-sliding rear door on the eight-seater S model also allows for a wide opening for passengers behind the driver.
It still tends to carry a people-mover persona, however, with more instant inward than outward appeal. Petrol is the only option in the Odyssey range with the 2.4-litre engine a proven performer.
In its favour is a very competitive retail price tag, which should appeal to large families or those looking to ferry multiple people around on a regular basis.
Subaru Tribeca Premium 3.6R 2008 (sub 30K)
In my view, the Tribeca was ahead of its time when originally launched into the New Zealand new vehicle market. It still holds its ground in the used market, offering loads of interior space suitable for all ages along with a very extensive safety and entertainment package.
Front-seat passengers have to be comfortable as well, so check out all the available features.