The SUV has become a staple for families on the go for their dependability, durability and quality. Having personally owned a variety of family cars over the years, the type of vehicle I am most satisfied with and will repeat buying is the SUV. Want a vehicle that has user-friendly controls, available 4WD, dependable engines, roomy seating and plenty of cargo room as a basic foundation? Then the SUV is the type of vehicle that should be parked in the driveway. As a mom with my own trusted SUV, these are my picks for the best 2011 SUVs for families.
2011 Ford Explorer
This redesigned SUV from Ford has been updated for the 2011 model year on the outside with sleek, contemporary lines, yet keeps its sporty, tough look. With a starting MSRP of $28,190, the 2011 Ford Explorer has a reasonable base price. MPG City/Highway is 17/25.
The interior features seating for seven, with a PowerFold third row seat. The available power lift gate is a new feature, which can be opened with the push of a button, and the height of how far it opens can be adjusted. Curve Control gives the driver added stability, which senses and adjusts speed if a curve is being taken too hard. The interior is sleek and smooth, with comfortable seating. One new safety feature is the inflatable rear safety belts, which are exclusively and first-ever from Ford. SYNC technology allows drivers to use their voice rather than hands while driving.
Although I don’t have the 2011 Ford Explorer, I do know that having owned a 2002 Ford Explorer until present day it has been one of the most dependable, versatile vehicles. It handles well on and off road, is a solid car in inclement weather and has been a wonderful travel vehicle for my family – and we have put a whole lot of miles on the 2002 model. The Ford Explorer has reason to boast being one of America’s most popular SUV’s, and also making my list of one of the best SUV’s for families.
2011 Honda CR-V
With smooth lines and aerodynamic sleekness, the 2011 Honda CR-V is pleasantly pleasing to the eyes, starting with a base price of $21,695. This vehicle has some Green features, such as low-emissions and gets MPG City/Hwy of 21/28. The engine is a bit smaller with only a 4-cylinder engine, still has plenty of power, but not suitable for towing heavy loads.
The safety aspects on the CR-V are something to appreciate. There is a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that notifies the drivers of low tire pressure. The Advanced Compatibility Engineering ™ (ACE) allows passengers, which it seats five comfortably, to have increased protection, along with the multitude of airbags within the perimeter of the vehicle.
2011 Chevy Suburban
For a large family on the go this is a dependable SUV that has been dependable for years. It was voted one of “2010 Top 10 Family Cars” by Kelley Blue Book and has high ratings. The 2011 Chevy Suburban is available in a half-ton mode (MSRP starts at $41,730) and a three quarter-ton (MSRP starts at $42,945) for buyers to have even more choices when deciding what they want from this tough SUV. With a standard V-8 engine in both models, it pulls, hauls, does well off-road, and also has seating for up to nine passengers (in the LS model).
For both models, there are many pleasing options available. Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, rearview camera system, a power-remote liftgate, power-retractable assist steps, and a souped-up off-road suspension package – and these are just a few of the options. The Chevy Suburban also has On-Star® free for the first six months, and very affordable to maintain thereafter.
The one downfall, which should be expected with a large vehicle and larger engine, is the decreased fuel efficiency when compared to other SUVs. The numbers are City/Hwy – 10/15, respectfully.
2011 Ford Escape
Yes, another SUV from Ford makes this list – it has to because I personally have traveled many miles in this SUV with same feeling of security and solid ride feeling you get from the Ford Explorer, even though it is a slightly smaller vehicle. The 2011 Ford Escape does much better on MPG, with City/Hwy being 23/28. To get even better mileage, opt for the Hybrid model to get City/Hwy 34/31. The base price of the 2011 Ford Escape is $21,215.
Being a Green vehicle in more ways than one, this SUV has some nice features to be environmentally friendly. The cloth on the seats in the XLT and Hybrid models are made from 100% post-industrial materials. The cushions are made from bio-based polyurethane foam. Regenerative braking takes power which can be typically lost and returns it to the SUV’s battery pack for recharging – how energy savvy is that?
The one downfall to this model is the middle seat in the second row is quite narrow, so for families larger than four people it can be a challenge to wedge a third car seat in for children.
2011 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC SUV
For the splurge when looking for a family SUV, this vehicle from Mercedes-Benz is for those perhaps past the stages of sippy cups, Cheerios, and diaper changes, with an MSRP starting at $60,950. The fuel-efficiency comes in mid-range performance with City/Hwy at 17/21.
Luxury is the major theme for this seven passenger SUV. The interior is simply amazing with leather absolutely anywhere it could be, lumbar-support, heated seats, high quality audio and entertainment system, and much more. This Mercedes-Benz features a clean-diesel, high performance 3.0L Turbocharged V-6 engine.
There are two choices for options in this luxury SUV for families: Premium 1 Package or the Premium 2 Package. Whichever is chosen those who drive and ride will be spoiled – nicely.