Moms have spoken: The minivan is no longer their car of choice.
Over the past decade, sales of the car once synonymous with ‘family hauler’ have plummeted. In 2000, 1.37 million minivans were sold in the United States. Last year, sales barely topped a measly half million.
Ford and General Motors no longer make minivans at all. Minivan sales are down another 10 percent so far this year, reports CNBC, even though the overall market is up 8.4 percent.
Mother’s Day weekend is upon us, so we thought it was the perfect time to not only make note of the mom-minivan exodus, but to also dole out some advice. Moms may know what they’re taking off their car-shopping lists. Here’s a few cars they can add in their place.
5. Honda Accord
Sticker price: $21,680 to $33,430
Invoice: $19,849 to $30,567
Fuel economy: 24 city/34 highway
Fads like the minivan have come and gone throughout the history of the auto industry. The sedan has been a constant.
And right now, there aren’t many better than the Accord, which has been at or near the top of its class for the better part of two decades. There aren’t many more reliable cars. There aren’t many more that get 34 miles per gallon on the highway.
What’s new in the latest version is a sportier drive. We really like the responsive, agile driving dynamics now offered. A backup rear-view camera also comes standard.
Sticker price: $19,940 to $24,470
Invoice: $17,511 to $19,822
Fuel economy: 21 city/28 highway
OK, we’re cheating here a bit. The Mazda5 is not officially considered a minivan, but it sure looks like one. Replete with sliding doors and three rows of seats, this might be a good options for moms who don’t mind a minivan but don’t like driving a bigger car.
The mini minivan, if you will, operates with a vertical lift in the back, rear-view backup cameras come standard on Touring and Grand Touring trim levels and six standard airbags for all three rows of seating. The car earned “Recommended” status from Consumer Reports, and is an affordable alternative to normal-sized minivans that cost twice as much.
3. Ford Flex
Sticker price: $31,100 to $44,120
Invoice: $29,312 to $41,143
Fuel economy: 18 city/25 highway
In recent years, the Flex has been a terrific alternative for parents who want a third row of seats without the stigma of a minivan along with them.
It’s powered by a 285-horsepower, V6 engine and comes with 83.2 cubic feet of cargo room. It may be the only car on the market that is more boxy than a Volvo, but the exterior styling on the Flex also looks plenty rugged.
We like its look and performance. Six airbags come standard. The ride is quiet. The only demerit here is Ford’s pesky MyFord Touch infotainment system.
2. Volvo V60
Sticker price: Not yet announced, but expected to be around $44,000
Fuel economy: 20 city/29 highway
You may have thought the only thing more unpopular than a minivan, in the eyes of status-conscious parents, would be a station wagon. Wrong. Wagons are blending sturdy performance with a new infusion of style.
There are several models we like. But one that caught our eye recently is the Volvo V60, a new offering for the 2014 model year. Standard models of this sleek machine come with some serious safety swag, including collision warning with full auto brake, cyclist detection and blind-spot warnings. A perfect car for a mom who wants to haul kayaks and skis, especially if they’re her own.
1. Buick Encore
Sticker price: $24,200 to $29,690
Invoice: $23,232 to $28,502
Fuel economy: 25 city/33 highway
When Buick launched this smaller crossover, experts weren’t quite sure what to make of this miniature version of the brand’s Enclave. Buyers knew exactly what to make of it.
The fuel-efficient crossover has been a brisk seller in its first few months on the market, selling more than 7,000 units. We suspect this is a perfect vehicle for moms, who will appreciate the quiet ride, leather interior in top two trim levels, ability to fit two kids in the roomy rear seats and cargo room to spare.
Most importantly, perhaps, the Encore comes with 10 standard airbags.