Family car advice

Hi BPN-After 12 years as a happy 1 compact car family, now, with two kids in two different schools, we’re realizing we need to buy another car. We are NOT car people-really coming at this without any knowledge. Our driving is mainly local school drop off, weekend adventures (rarely longer than 70 miles), and the 2-4 times a year long drive to Tahoe or Southern California. Our plan was always to wait to buy another car until electric cars came down in price-ha!-but recent supply issues tell us that day is no where near. I’m finding the whole search overwhelming-would love someone to just say: here’s the car for you. Any advice from EV or plug-in hybrid owners? So far, the Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid and the Chevy EUV seem most in-line with our needs (fits four of us, reasonable-ish, good range), but would love any suggestions or tips if there’s other models parents recommend. This will be a pretty significant purchase for us, so I’m trying to be practical. Thank you!

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RE: Family car advice ()

Hey, We are in exactly the same boat! And second hand cars (EV) seems to be more expensive bc of the supply issue.Going to tang along here and see if anyone has any great tips. Good luck, thks 

RE: Family car advice ()

We’re a one car family with two small kids. We bought the Tesla Model Y when our second was born and couldn’t be happier to have gone electric! It’s roomy (can have a third row) but not a huge suv. We got the long range version which I would recommend. 
good luck with your car search. 

RE: Family car advice ()

I would highly recommend an electric cargo bike. We are a one car family and our electric bike is our primary form of transportation for anything under 5 miles. If your schools are close, e-bike is a great way to do it, possibly even quicker than driving depending on traffic and parking. And way more fun. It truly replaces a car for local trips - I can carry two kids and all their stuff or a week's worth of groceries and don't worry about hills with the pedal assist. We have a Radwagon, which is one of the more affordable ones (and there is a showroom in Berkeley!) but depending on your needs there are A LOT of other options out there - I'd be happy to share more about other models if you want or direct you to some resources for researching them.

I can also share a little about our EV experience. We have a 2015 Nissan Leaf with a range of about 80 miles. We got it cheap because it's an older model (EVs are advancing fast so 2015 is old) but of course we pay for it with the low range. We priced it out and decided that it would be better financially to get the cheaper EV and then use the money saved to rent a car any time we need it for a longer trip.

RE: Family car advice ()

We have a plug-in hybrid Hyundai Sonata and it's been great - it has a 25-mile range on a full charge and most days we don't use any gas at all for trips to school, grocery store, etc. When it does kick over to gas on longer trips the transition is seamless and the mileage is still pretty good. The back seat is the roomiest of any car I've ever owned - plenty of room for 2-3 people. I had a regular hybrid before and after driving this one for a year I'm totally sold on the plug-in hybrid idea.

RE: Family car advice ()

Hi there,

We just bought a Hyundai Ionic 5 which gets over 300 miles to a charge and we really like it. We bought it at Fremont Hyundai through the car broker Cartelligent right before the gas prices hit the roof. There are several incentives going on for buying EVs including a $7500 federal; tax rebate, a $2000 Clean air rebate, and a state rebate. If you are interested in electric cars, call Cartelligent who negotiated with the dealer. Our broker was Vincent vdenis [at] cartelligent.com, and he was incredibly helpful and patient as we took months to make up our minds. Feel free to tell him that Jamie recommended him. The care wasn't cheap, but the rebates made it much more affordable, and we are hopeful that this will be our forever car.

RE: Family car advice ()

We have two Chevy Bolts in our family and we love them! I've definitely had my eye on their EUV. I can't speak for any of the other options, so maybe there's something better out there, but I would absolutely recommend the Bolt or the EUV. Good luck with the car hunt!

RE: Family car advice ()

I too am not a car person and have only bought 1 car in my life. That car was a 2007 Hyundai Elantra that I bought new. We still drive the car as a daily driver. We have a camper van that we use for trips so its mostly an around town car now. But I still love this car. It was cheap ($16k then) and came with a 10 year warranty.  It has had almost no problems (a cracked ac belt and a small thing to pass smog) in its 16 years / 120k+ miles. I can't speak to other models but I am so happy with Hyundai.  I know lots of people love their Subarus too. But I am pretty sure we will replace this hyundai with another one. And I bet we get many more years from this one.  Still drives great. Has great pick up. Really no complaints. 

RE: Family car advice ()

We have a Nissan Leaf (purchased used) that we love - the hatchback trunk makes it easy to load strollers and other kid gear easily. We also rarely drive long distances, so range was not a huge concern for us and we were able to buy it cheap. Very happy with our purchase!

RE: Family car advice ()

Some new cars have these odd handles on the back doors that are way up near the roof - like the Honda HRV and the Toyota C-HR. I'd never thought about it but read in a review that kids can't open these kind of handles! So that could make it harder for kids to be independent getting in and out of the car. Just wanted to mention since I'd never considered that and it's what crossed the Honda HRV off my list.

And I assume you've checked out Consumer Reports? Definitely worth the membership price with so much info about any given car.

Good luck in your decision!