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Great New Family Cars

Last week, our car blogger Marc Bertucco looked at concept cars with high-tech and futuristic feature—including on onboard computer that will help you keep track of your kids (sort of) and a Millennium Falcon-like secret compartment where you can stow away your Bugaboo…or a Wookie.

Today, he's going to tell us about what’s new and exciting for families and available in your local dealership right now!

Volvo has long been heralded as a leader in automotive safety. The list of safety features that first appeared in a Volvo is long. For example, in 1959 they were first with the 3-point seatbelt (you know this as a regular seatbelt). 1987 brought the first driver-side airbag. This year, Volvo introduces another first.

The 2010 XC60 SUV is the first vehicle that can prevent you from rear-ending another car during low-speed motoring. So the next time you find yourself half-turned around, exasperated, telling your kids to leave each other alone, you might not also find yourself exchanging insurance information with an angry driver.

City Safety uses a combination of hidden cameras, computers, and lasers (awesome right?) to recognize when you are about to tag the car in front of you. In the case of an impending collision, City Safety instantaneously and automatically applies the brakes. Everyone inside stays safe, and you get to avoid at least two uncomfortable conversations (“You did what to my new car?”).

Volvo marketing manager Bill Buchka tells Parenting that 75% of all collisions happen under 20 mph. City Safe is designed to entirely prevent or lessen the impact of fender benders at speeds up to 19 mph. City Safe works as advertised. Even with my foot on the gas, I could not knock over the blue barriers.

Moms and dads who are tired of fighting with their independent-minded little kids about sitting in a “baby seat” will appreciate Volvo’s built-in adjustable two-level booster seats. Click once for kids who are 44-55 inches tall (50-80lbs).

Click twice for the littler ones who are 31-47 inches tall (35-55lbs).


How would you like to tell your friends and family that you are the owner of the best car in the world? A panel of 59 automotive journalists from 25 different countries named the redesigned 2010 Volkswagon Golf, The World Car of the Year. Pictured below is a 2-door model, but this award-winning hatchback is also available with 4-doors making for a surprisingly roomy and flexible family vehicle.


Is the station wagon back? Toyota’s Venza joins a growing list of difficult-to-label vehicles that exist somewhere between the car and the SUV.

5-passenger seating and fold-flat rear seats accessed through a rear hatchback door makes for a versatile vehicle.


Honda has a new hybrid called the Insight that can get up to 43 miles per gallon. On the outside, the car’s styling is virtually identical to the Toyota Prius. On the inside, this is a very different car.