Frugal Family Friendly Vehicles
The Car Family

Residents of the Pacific Palisades love their vehicles with over 70 percent owning two more more. Added to that is the fact that residence turnover rate is very low and you have a well established community, but one that still has over 3000 households with children under 18, according to Census data. With that in mind, and the 30 minute average commute time, we found a variety of family friendly vehicles that are capable of 30 mpg and are priced under $30,000. In other words, you don’t have to be rich to afford these fuel frugal vehicles.

If you are looking for something different, the revised Mitsubishi Outlander has enough electronics to make an eight-year-old happy. Everything from dual 12 volt outlets to a 6.1 inch touch sensitive monitor help keep you in touch and the all-wheel drive capabilities provide some security when heavy rains occur, if memory serves us. The high seating position offers a view of the traffic jams ahead and the optional Rockford-Fosgate 710 Watt stereo can help win the decibel battle with motorcycles and pother motorists who desperately want to share their music with you. Prices start around $28,000.

As large as the Impala is the Kia Rio isn’t, and that goes for the price, which is about $17,000. for the SX. The best things about the Rio is that it is easy to park, maneuver, and you can get over 35 mpg with the manual transmission and a light foot. Despite the price, the Rio has an abundance of safety features including the usual array of airbags, traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes and hill assist control, which is ideal given the step grades in some sections of town. The Kia Rio has a controlled ride and the engine is potent enough for legal speeds. There is an plethora of standard equipment including Bluetooth. Go with the hatchback version over the sedan and you can carry even more cargo. Highly rated with a pleasing look, the shapely Rio is worthy of the keep the Palisades beautiful motto.

In nearly the same price bracket of the Kia is Nissan’s popular Sentra SR. It can provide up to an estimated 39 mpg on the highway, but realistically you are looking at around 34. The continuous variable transmission and four-cylinder engine are refined and there is room for four adults, but its
real trumps card are its looks, interior treatments, spacious trunk and rear seat room and easy to master optional navigation and stereo controls.

Another worthy SUV is the Hyundai Santa Fe LTD AWD, which carries a $34,850 list price and that includes an enormous number of standard features that would be extra cost options on the competition. The Santa Fe has three rows of seats and a powerful engine that can be nursed enough to get an average of 25 mpg in mixed driving. A soothing ride, an interior that makes getting into the third row of seats somewhat easier, and user friendly electronics make the Santa Fe attractive to those who like to the idea of a SUV.

Mazda has two 5’s that are remarkably the same in terms of utility, but vastly different in style. Choosing between the two is as difficult as deciding what flavor as the much lamented Baskin-Robbins. The Mazda 5 is a minivan with the emphasis on mini. Yet, it provides all the utility of its larger competition and is much easier to park and maneuver. It is fun to drive, handy, and the EPA-estimated its gas mileage at 22/28. This is an exceptional handling minivan that has a small turning radius and easy to enter side doors. Older people well appreciate the ease of entry as you don’t have to step-up to gain access. The second row of seats are captain’s chairs and there is a small third row of seats as well. Truly a small jewel and fun to drive.

Mazda also offers the CX-5, and as most Mazdas, is pleasurable to drive. This affordable SUV offer Mazdas excellent Skyactive Technology that yields class leading fuel mileage and enough power rank it at the top of the small SUV category. The CX-5 offers standard keyless entry, steering ancillary controls and available with the Smart City Brake Support feature that can automatically brake the CX-5 in emergency cases at up to 19 mph.