Shopping for a car is never easy and when it comes to pleasing the little tykes it becomes even more difficult. From making sure they are safe to fully entertained it’s important to find a ride to fit your new lifestyle. Gone are the days when the only safe bet was a minivan! Below are the 2012 Top 10 Best Cars for Kids along with some interesting stats on just how much time a full time parent’s contribution is really worth!

Best Cars for Kids

The Top 10 Cars for Kids

When you think about cars for kids, you’re mostly thinking safety, right? But you know the kids are going to need some music or TV to keep quiet so you can focus on the road. And when they inevitably aren’t quiet, navigation helps you find your destination anyway, and fuel efficiency makes sure you aren’t paying for it at the pumps! Without further ado, the best cars for carrying your kids.

Hyundai Sonata

At just under $19,700, this compact car still boasts 16.4 cubic feet of cargo space and seating for 5. The 7 speakers will do justice to whatever you pull up on your iPod or satellite radio, and the 6 airbags will keep you all secure. With optional navigation and fuel efficiency to rival others (35 MPG in the city and 40 on the highway!) you can get your motor running and power to your destination.

Kia Optima

This car will run you just $19,500, and you can run all over town in it easily. There’s nearly 20 cubic feet of cargo space and seating for 5 people to boot. With 6 Sirius speakers, satellite radio and hookups for an iPod, the kids can jam out–the 6 airbags instill confidence in their safety. You’ll also get 24 MPG in the city, and optional navigation guides you to Grandma’s at 35 MPG on the highway!

Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion comes in at $20,200 and is great if you don’t need quite as much storage, at 11.8 cubic feet. There’s space for the whole family and more than enough airbags for all. Plug in your iPod or put on a DVD to entertain the team while you drive, that way you can focus on your navigation system and get there fast plus drivers get 23 MPG in the city or 34 on the highway.

Volkswagen Passat

The price tag on this V-dub is just $19,995, and with as many airbags as speakers (6) and seating for 5, that’s quite the deal! Add in that you can play your own tunes and get optional navigation and you’ve got yourself a great little family car. It’s got nearly 16 cubic feet of storage space, gets 20 MPG in the city and 28 on the highway.

Chevy Traverse

If your family is larger than a standard car can handle (or you play chauffeur for the neighborhood kids) you can still seat 8 for less than $30,000. Keep ’em occupied with an optional DVD player or some music on the iPod or radio, they won’t miss a thing with 10 Bose premium speakers. A 3rd row of seats means no one’s crammed in too tight and 6 airbags keep everyone safe and sound and with 116.4 cubic feet of space, you can outfit the team and cater the game, too!

Jeep Cherokee

$26,995 buys you this Jeep. You’ll get 68.7 cubic feet of cargo space, space for 5 people, 7 airbags, and 4-wheel drive for those backroads. You’ve also got an optional DVD player and iPod hookup, as well as navigation. As for mileage, you’ll get 17 in the city and 23 on the highway.

Ford Explorer

Looking for 10 speakers, 4-wheel drive, a whole lot of storage–over 80 cubic feet–and a price tag under $30,000? How about $28,170 for the Explorer? You can also opt-in for navigation and a DVD player to pacify the kids on long trips. The Explorer has room for 5 and comes with 6 airbags with 18 MPG in the city, 25 on the highway–the best for an SUV.

Honda CR-V

You want 7 speakers, 70.9 cubic feet of storage and reasonable gas mileage? Just $24,395 will grant you all that and more–4-wheel drive, optional navigation and DVD player, seating for 5. What’s the MPG on this spacious mid-size? 23 in the city, 31 on the highway.

Toyota Sienna

How much storage do you think you could get for just over $25,000? Turns out, 70.5 cubic feet is pretty sweet. The Toyota Sienna will seat 7 people in this minivan, and there’s more than 1 JBL speaker per person to enjoy iPod music or satellite radio. There’s also 3rd row seating and wireless headset capability, so no one gets tangled. With just as many airbags as seats, everyone rides safely and you will clock 18 MPG in the city or 25 on the highway in this van.

Dodge Durango

Kings and queens of the road, take note. At $28,995, the Dodge Durango has you riding high. 7 people fit into this vehicle, with 84.5 cubic feet of space left over. 4-wheel drive means you can take this auto where it needs to go, and the optional DVD player, iPod capability, radio and 10 Alpine speakers make sure you get there without a bored passenger. 6 airbags don’t hurt, either. You’ll get 16 miles to the gallon on city streets, and 23 on the highway.

The Cost of Being a Sports Mom or Dad

Parenting is not cheap and the amount of time kids consume can get expensive. Imagine having to hire someone to do everything or giving up your day job to be a full time parent. The time value can get really expensive no matter what sports your kids play!

  • If your child plays hockey, you’ll spend about 1,000 hours a year on it – That time is valued at $162,700!
  • Gymnastics buff? 820 hours per year – That’s about $133,414 worth of time!
  • Moms and dads of soccer stars spend about 320 hours per year – $52,064 could be earned in that time!
  • Tiny dancers occupy about 490 hours each year which works out to $79,723 annually!
  • Footballers hut, hut, hike for 420 hours each year and parents can value that time at about $68,334!
  • Little league baseball kids use about 260 hours a year – $42,302 is the time value for a parent!
  • Horseback riders ride on for 750 hours every year – That’s about $122,025!

There are about 300 car models on the US market, so be sure to choose the right one for your family. (FYI: Kids are 50% safer when Grandma or Grandpa is driving, so make the drive once in awhile and let your own parents do the driving!)