Automotive

Reliable Family Car Suggestions

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 12th, 2020 12:06 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 23, 2018
638 posts
251 upvotes

Reliable Family Car Suggestions

Hey, RFD. I'm hoping some of the car experts here can help with suggesting some car options for a family.

Who: Couple with 1 toddler now, and hopefully, another in a couple of years.
Where: Scarborough. Will be our first car in Canada so I realize insurance will be a PIA.
Why: Daily driver to and from work, probably 30-50km a day, or less. TBC, since currently looking for work! Plus leasure trips and exploring the area.
Budget: 12-15k, could go higher if absolutely worth it but trying not to.
  • Wishlist (which I realize may be asking for too much in our budget but that's why it's called a wishlist):
  • Safety first: Multiple airbags, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, backup camera etc.
  • Reliable, low maintenance etc.
  • Good mileage
  • 2016 model or newer (as a non-car person, just thinking I shouldn't go for a car older than 4-5 years)
  • Warranty and/or service history availability
  • Nothing too large as my partner prefers "smaller cars". We thought Mazda CX-3 was good but may be a little too small. Hyundai Santa Fe is considered too big for her.
  • Cruise control
  • Heated steering wheel

Also, if anyone knows reliable mechanics in Scarborough who do detailed and honest inspections, please let me know their contact details and pricing.
Like I said, first time buying a car here, so need all the help I can get.

Suggestions are welcome, and if anyone is selling or planning to, please let me know!
63 replies
Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
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Newest Corolla you can buy. Camry if you want bigger. Don't waste your money on SUVs, you get more for you dollar with cars.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
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Feb 7, 2005
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Beige Corolla with steel rims .
<sig removed> by moderators . Yet no moderator told me they removed or why ?
Deal Fanatic
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Jul 26, 2007
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Whose gonna be 3rd to suggest Corolla?
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Oct 3, 2017
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A lot of compact cars like the cx3 do not have enough room in the back for rear facing car seats and still have the passenger with any leg room. 2 rear facing baby/ toddler seats could be impossible unless the driver is super short and can drive with the drivers seat in the most forward position.

This should be your number one thing to look for. Most modern cars today have a lot of safety features. You will need good if not the best winter tires and ideally on a seperate set of wheels. Budget for this.

A hatchback will give you more room to carry things (you will use every cm).

Some of your important add ons like heated steering wheel are nice but not essential and often only come on the highest trim levels and include even more stuff you don't need.

Your budget is too low and your expectations too high given your preliminary parameters.

Re think your priorities and bring at least 1 rear facing car seat with you and try them in the cars you are looking at.

Don't believe a sales person on this. They wiĺl say their fiat 500 has tons of room for car seats.

Maybe if your childern are mice.

Human car seats require much more room in the rear for the front passengers to have any leg room at all.
Last edited by George613 on Jul 29th, 2020 10:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
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George613 wrote: A lot of compact cars like the cx3 do not have enough room in the back for rear facing car seats and still have the passenger with any leg room. 2 rear facing baby/ toddler seats could be impossible unless the driver is super short and can drive with the drivers seat in the most forward position.

This should be your number one thing to look for. Most modern cars today have a lot of safety features. You will need good if not the best winter tires and ideally on a seperate set of wheels. Budget for this.

A hatchback will give you more room to carry things (you will use every cm).
+1. Even in an Audi Q5 we can't put the rear facing seat behind the driver's seat setup for a 6ft driver. So rear facing is behind passenger, who isn't the most comfortable, and older kid is behind driver. In our previous smaller MINI, we did road trips with 1 baby, but mom sat in the back on longer trips.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
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Oct 28, 2004
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A fellow RFDer is selling a low Kms 2014 Toyota Camry for $14+K.....seems fair.

You could prolly bargain a bit too:

2014-toyota-camry-great-condition-low-kms-2392560/

I don’t know this rfder nor endorsing the seller, just sharing what is posted.

Camrys are sturdy and reliable....I did test drive a newer one with the high trim level (think it was a 2019) and it was definitely sportier looking and more peppy....

Not sure about 2014s though

Oops, just saw your 2016+ requirement, nix above but you might want to consider if no other options
Deal Guru
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Oct 5, 2008
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peteryorkuca wrote: Whose gonna be 3rd to suggest Corolla?
Beige Corolla

Corolla.jpg

What do i win?
Member
Mar 5, 2008
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Swerny wrote: Beige Corolla


Corolla.jpg


What do i win?
bulletproof reliability and ridiculously good gas milage.
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Think of the Childre…
Really sexy looking car as well.
Swerny wrote: Beige Corolla

Corolla.jpg

What do i win?
Garest wrote: bulletproof reliability and ridiculously good gas milage.

WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
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Chev cruze is a great option. So is the subaru impreza and if you want all the bells and whistles at the lowest price, hyundai elantra.
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Mar 13, 2004
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If I was to buy a car for a family I would be looking at the VW Golf Sportwagon or VW Golf AllTrack.

Lots of room for cargo and you can get one of the min AWD for winter driving if you wanted.
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Apr 22, 2013
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I think the Corolla is probably the most ideal, I highly suggest getting the 2020 sedan over the 2014-2019s the comfort from the suspension on the newer Corollas is just far better than the old ones, the added plus is they handle better too. If you want the spacious hatchback the Impreza is a fine choice, for a compact car they're decently roomy.
sickcars wrote: If I was to buy a car for a family I would be looking at the VW Golf Sportwagon or VW Golf AllTrack.
I personally think the Golf Sportwagon is the perfect normal person car. Its literally just being a VW...where its hit or miss reliability-wise. Had Toyota made this...can't think of a perfect solution to this question. Hint hint Toyota, release the Corolla wagon with the new 2.0L.
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I agree some of the older cars had some reliability issues but really the newer generations have greatly improved, mk5 was good, mk6 was also good just had to keep an eye on some things, mk7 has been a big improvement & been very reliable. But like you said, lots of people still have that old thing burned into their mind that vw is unreliable which is no longer the truth.
JeganV wrote: I think the Corolla is probably the most ideal, I highly suggest getting the 2020 sedan over the 2014-2019s the comfort from the suspension on the newer Corollas is just far better than the old ones, the added plus is they handle better too. If you want the spacious hatchback the Impreza is a fine choice, for a compact car they're decently roomy.


I personally think the Golf Sportwagon is the perfect normal person car. Its literally just being a VW...where its hit or miss reliability-wise. Had Toyota made this...can't think of a perfect solution to this question. Hint hint Toyota, release the Corolla wagon with the new 2.0L.
Sr. Member
Jan 28, 2017
995 posts
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With $15k budget (give or take), my picks would be
2015-17 mazda3 hatchback
2014-16 impreza hatch. i think it will be tough to find current gen 17+ impreza's for that price range
corolla lol
2016-18 mk7 golf

Also since this is your first car in Canada and live in Scarborough, I'd check insurance quotes beforehand too. Like others said, hatchbacks have the same if not more cargo capacity than subcompact suvs such as the CX3
Sr. Member
Apr 8, 2020
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sickcars wrote: I agree some of the older cars had some reliability issues but really the newer generations have greatly improved, mk5 was good, mk6 was also good just had to keep an eye on some things, mk7 has been a big improvement & been very reliable. But like you said, lots of people still have that old thing burned into their mind that vw is unreliable which is no longer the truth.
Mazda cx3 is way too small inside , also when choosing car check the trunk - how easy or not is going to be for your wife to put the stroller in/out

BTW
+1 on Corolla (no matter the color Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes)
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 23, 2018
638 posts
251 upvotes
Thank you all for the comments, suggestions, and feedback. I really appreciate it!
There are some cars suggested I wouldn't have thought of so I'll check them out. In terms of VW, I know German cars tend to be reliable, however it's the maintainence and spare parts costs that kill, right? As opposed to Japanese cars?

Thanks again. The research and hunt continues!
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Oct 12, 2007
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OongaLoonga wrote: Thank you all for the comments, suggestions, and feedback. I really appreciate it!
There are some cars suggested I wouldn't have thought of so I'll check them out. In terms of VW, I know German cars tend to be reliable, however it's the maintainence and spare parts costs that kill, right? As opposed to Japanese cars?

Thanks again. The research and hunt continues!
I am going to be an outlier. You have a young family and you say that safety is first so my suggestion is to check out this link: https://www.iihs.org/ratings/insurance- ... -and-model and look up the actual insurance claim ratings for the vehicles you are considering. I recommend focusing on bodily injury and medical payment data.

The data in this link can be difficult to interpret but for higher volume vehicles that are driven (mostly) in similar highway/city mixes by similar demographics, the data is quite conclusive: almost every small CUV has a better insurance claim rating than the Corolla or other small sedans. It does appear, though, that the Mazda 3 and the VW Golf do better than most. Anything by Mitsubishi seems to be best suited for those who have their wills and powers of attorney up to date.

I would recommend you strongly consider a small crossover (small or midsize SUVs in the IIHS data) and consider that safety is not lane departure warnings, etc. but way more about driver attentiveness, visibility, brakes, and - when collisions do happen (and they do) - size, the strength of the passenger cage. Seat belts and airbags save lives.

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