Mom Cars for 2023: Is It Time for a Minivan?

OK, first, what are mom cars? And why would you want one?

Today, moms — and dads — have a huge variety of lifestyles.

Some of us love outdoor activities and road trips. Some of us are constantly commuting between classes and recitals. Meanwhile, single moms and dads are trying to do it all.

Some parents need to fit a single toddler in the back of their car — while others need to fit five children into their minivan.

Basically: a “mom” car is safe and practical. But that also doesn’t have to mean it isn’t stylish.

Let’s look at what makes the best mom cars today.

What are the most important features of mom cars?

So, you’re probably not looking for a V8 engine. You want something that can fit your car seat and isn’t going to roll over. Something you can fit all your groceries in — and then some.

  • Safety is the number one feature. A mom car should have a good safety rating, many airbags, and features like blind spot monitoring. Most new cars today have exceptional safety features.
  • Another important factor is dependability. Moms need to trust that their car will get them anywhere without problems. Cars like the Honda Odyssey are known for their dependability.
  • Comfort and practicality are also key. A good mom car is comfortable to drive and easy to maneuver. It should have plenty of cargo space for your family’s gear, as well as a rear-seat entertainment system for the kids.

But you’re also more than a mother. You have your own needs, too. Maybe you want a luxury vehicle. Or maybe you want an electric car. Because so many modern cars are very safe and dependable (at least compared to previous cars), you still have many options.

And, finally, cost matters! Good mom cars can be found in all price ranges, so it’s important to find one that fits your budget. Let’s be real: cars are getting way, way more expensive these days.

The best mom cars for 2023

Here are some of the top cars of 2023, along with a brief description of what makes people consider them the best.

Toyota Sienna

A fuel-efficient minivan, the Toyota Sienna is considered both extremely durable and practical. Features include a motion-activated liftgate, seating for up to eight, and LATCH systems. The motion-activated side doors and liftgate mean that it’s easier to get into the vehicle (and get things out of the vehicle) with your hands filled. Pick this vehicle if you need a reliable car for a large family.

Chrysler Pacifica

If you’ve got a bit to spend, consider this luxury-forward minivan. It has an onboard vacuum, second and third-row seats, LATCH systems, and an electric range of up to 30 miles. So, you can actually avoid refilling this vehicle at all if you have a short commute, which is pretty great when gas prices go up. There are a lot of hybrid vehicles now that give you the option of using electricity or gas as needed.

Honda Odyssey

Few vehicles have the reputation of the Honda Odyssey as a stable, reliable family car. But it also has some crazy entertainment options, such as a drop-down entertainment screen and wireless headsets, along with some luxury features like an onboard vacuum. The Honda Odyssey has been a family car for many generations, and it shows — and it’s not too expensive for the features it provides, either.

Nissan Pathfinder

An on-the-go SUV for families of up to eight. The Nissan Pathfinder is designed for outdoorsy types or those who love to take long road trips (especially if the roads aren’t particularly well-paved). Get some of the higher trim levels, and you can off-road to your heart’s content in a large vehicle that’s made for camping.

Volkswagen Atlas

This SUV seats six or seven comfortably and has quite a few trim levels, from the fairly basic to the very luxurious. It’s a great all-around family car, but do note that because it’s a Volkswagen, it may be harder to get repaired. Volkswagen is known for being a reliable brand; it may not have a lot of flash, but it will usually keep going.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Sometimes you want a vehicle with size and power. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a surprisingly good family car, even with all the ruggedness. It’s got seating for up to seven people, lots of USB ports, LATCH systems, and it’s also just a pretty beautiful car. A Jeep Grand Cherokee is a good choice for families that tend to be active or families who live in rural areas where there are a lot of unpaved roads.

Chevrolet Equinox

OK, maybe you don’t need to cart around the entire soccer team. The Equinox is a mid-sized SUV with two LATCH seats, multimedia features, and cargo space. This is a durable, affordable all-around vehicle. The Chevrolet Equinox, like the rest of the Chevrolet line, has a lot of advanced safety features and, while this vehicle isn’t made for off-roading, it should hold its own in any weather.

Lexus ES350

It’s possible you just need a sedan. Why not a luxury sedan? If you’re the type of parent who prizes comfort, a Lexus is a great choice. Lexus sedans are on the pricy side, but they come with a lot of space and a lot of comforts. This might be a vehicle that you get when the kids are a little older and a little less likely to spill their soda in the car.

Honda Civic

And then there’s the old classic. For carting one or two kids around, you can’t beat the Honda Civic in terms of raw durability. These vehicles are affordable, they’re great to buy pre-owned (because they tend to still be in good condition), and they will usually just keep going. You won’t get a lot of bells and whistles in the lower-end models, but you also won’t be too sad when your kids destroy the interior of your car.

Minivan, SUV, or sedan?

I listed a lot of options. But there’s still a really basic question. Do you need a minivan, SUV, or sedan? Here’s how to figure it out.

  • Minivans are great for big families or a family with a lot of activities. You can fit seven people into one easily, and you also get plenty of cargo room.
  • SUVs will usually seat five to seven people and often have more off-roading capabilities than minivans. Plus, they tend to be a bit more rugged and durable.
  • Finally, sedans are great for small families or those who don’t need a lot of cargo space. Sedans usually only seat five people or fewer, but they tend to be cheaper than the other two options. They also generally have better gas mileage and are easier to maneuver in traffic.

So, here’s the thing. If you can get away with a sedan, it’s usually better. But most people can’t because you need that space — if you’re carting around kids, musical instruments, bicycles, and more, you need an SUV at least.

That said, mom cars don’t have to be boring cars. There are a lot of great luxury sedans and SUVs that are very safe today.

Mom cars: new or used?

Traditional wisdom: A new car is better. The reality is that you can’t always know what happened to a used vehicle. When you’re a parent, you need a car that will be dependable and safe. A new car will have all the bells and whistles.

But the other reality is that cars are super expensive, especially now. A used model is frequently the practical solution. If you want a used car, consider buying a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle from a dealer. You can also consider purchasing a car from a rental lot — they tend to take pretty good care of their cars and sell them early.

The best accessories for mom cars

The right accessories can make your car the ultimate mom machine. A few of the most popular include:

  • Car Seat Adapter. Make it easier to move a car seat from one car to another with an adapter that fits into the safety belt slots.
  • Cargo Organizers. Keep all your kids’ toys, snacks and other necessities in order with organizers that fit in the trunk or back seat.
  • Sunshade. Block out the sun’s harmful rays and keep your car cooler (and less sticky!) with a good sunshade.
  • Roof Rack. Have bikes, kayaks, or other outdoor gear? A roof rack can make transporting them easier.

Every family is unique. So think about your family’s needs before investing in a new vehicle!

Conclusion: So, is it time for a minivan?

That depends! Minivans are great for big families and can offer tons of cargo space. But some moms may not need that much space and would prefer an SUV, crossover, or even a hatchback.

Photo Courtesy of Automotive Rhythms

It really comes down to your family’s lifestyle and needs. Consider what’s important to you and find the perfect “mom car” for 2023!

FAQs

What type of car is a mom car?

A mom car can be any type of vehicle — Sedan, SUV, Minivan, Hatchback, etc. The important thing is that it meets your family’s needs regarding safety, dependability, comfort, and practicality. Of course, traditionally, it was always some form of a minivan, but the most common today is probably an SUV!

What’s the best mom vehicle?

Consider how often you’ll be using the car if there will be any long trips involved, and what kind of cargo space you need. A lot of families find great utility in a mid-sized hatchback, while others cannot live without their full-sized SUV.

What is the most common mom car?

SUVs are probably the most popular mom car today. The good news is that there’s a wide variety of sizes and prices to fit any budget. But, again, you want to ensure it meets your family’s needs in terms of safety, dependability, comfort, and practicality.

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