■ Richard Perry / The Hemet Car Guy
Greetings from The Hemet Car Guy
We just got the news from Massachusetts that our beautiful daughter Megan is engaged to Keith Collings, a wonderful young man who is well liked in our large expanding family.
If you’re getting married, it doesn’t mean you need to run out and get a new car. I’m sure Megan’s Mini Cooper is just fine for now. But I’ve had young couples walk into the dealership where the wife is eight months pregnant and they’re in a panic because they just realized that the husband’s two-door Civic coup isn’t going to work.
Small SUVs continue to be the fastest growing segment of the market, and automakers are building in more features that cater to families. Below are a few family-friendly features you might consider when shopping for a compact SUV.
Center storage console: A versatile center console lets you create your own storage configuration to fit gear or supplies. Some have a covered bin plus a big tray for devices or stray items and even a sliding tray to open a larger space.
Bonus: You can stick a flash drive in either console USB port (one also serves for smartphone integration) to play music through the audio system.
Back Seats: Having rear reclining seatbacks is important. Grown-ups can stretch out and enjoy long trips; kids can feel limo’d to school by the family chauffeur. Alternatively, move the seat far up to keep an infant in a safety seat within reach or slide it far rearward so those preschoolers’ feet can’t kick your seat-back.
Power outlets: For the tech-intensive family that wants to stay plugged in, USB ports, 12-volt power ports, 120-volt household power, 4G connectivity and WiFi – yep, this stuff is out there.
Middle center latch anchor: Center latch anchors in the backseat are a must for the baby’s car seat. Some even have one in the center, a more protected area.
Conversation mirror: This is a feature straight from minivans: A drop-down “conversation mirror” in the front ceiling. It’s clearly less about having a conversation than it is about mom’s or dad’s “eyes being in the back of their heads” to see who is doing what to whom. “Stop touching me!”
Cargo space for road trips: Home Depot runs mean the backseat folds down. But likely the extra space in the rear will get more use when the vehicle becomes a travel van with the second row occupied on a family road trip and the luggage and camping gear are in the back — not in a cargo box on the roof.
Easy access: You may need low, kid-friendly step-in height to get to the passenger seats. Also look for parent-friendly lift-over height for loading the rear cargo area.
These are just a few features to consider when shopping for a family vehicle for those growing their family.