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5. Ford Explorer (MSRP $28,280)

Ford Explorer

Throughout the years I have not been a huge fan of Fords to be completely honest; they tended to be rather cheaply-made. However, the 2012 Explorer changes things quite a bit.

This year’s model features an upscale passenger cabin with an excellent ride and an available four-cylinder turbocharged engine. This is a great option considering that this will boost fuel economy while retaining much of the V6 power thanks to the turbo. Additionally, the 2012 Explorer comes standard with stability and traction control, which helps keep your family safe.

6. Honda Odyssey Minivan (MSRP $28,225)

Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey has been a longtime favorite due to its agile handling, fuel-efficient V6, quiet cabin and excellent safety scores. This car also offers a large seating capacity with 8 seats and more legroom in the back due to a slightly larger frame than its predecessor.

Also, if you decide to go with a higher-level trim than the base model, expect to see great features such as Bluetooth phone connectivity, a digital audio system, and a rear-seat entertainment system. What I like best however is that the Odyssey scored a perfect five stars in frontal and side impact crash tests.

7. Hyundai Sonata (MSRP $19,795)

Hyundai Sonata

The 2012 Hyundai Sonata is definitely a car for the family 2.0 who lives in an age of high-technology and gas prices at over 4 dollars a gallon. Even the lowest models have features that make other cars pale in comparison including Bluetooth, iPod inputs, stability and traction control, and side/curtain airbags.

In regards to fuel consumption, this car really shines. You can choose between a 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine or an available turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder that churns out 274 hp while doing about 24 cty/35 hwy MPG. You really can’t get much better than that.

8. Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI (MSRP $25,540)

Volkswagen Jetta

In the United States diesel engines are still a bit taboo; however, these engines can have some of the best gas mileage and reliability on the market. The Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is a bit of a mouthful to say, but packs an excellent array of features for the price.

The TDI model comes with a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, iPod input, stability and traction control, and large cargo space. These features, coupled with 30 cty/42 hwy MPG and an excellent crash test rating, makes this car a great choice for the family.

Photo Credits: All photos copyright Edmunds.com

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