As you prepare to bridge the endless gap between New Year’s Day and Spring Break with winter’s lone long-weekend respite, perhaps you’re looking at the dilapidated old beast in your driveway and wondering whether it can really handle to the job you’ve signed it up for with your ambitious vacation plans.
Whether you’re overdue for a trade-in or your old ride is just no longer meeting your family’s changing demands, we’re here to help. Check out this list of common Family Day pastimes across Canada, and then find the one that matches the activities you have in the works. From there, you’ll find we’ve suggested what might just be, based on your unique needs, your own family’s next ideal vehicle.
Going up north for winter sports
If your crew loves the snow and is constantly struggling to get skis, snowboards, skates, and snowshoes packed into the same cargo area, take a closer look at the Nissan Rogue. The combination of a cargo shelving system and a second-row centre pass-through makes packing in a diverse range of sporting equipment a snap – and it’ll get you to the slopes without costing you too much at the pumps.
Staying cozy at the cottage
If nothing sounds more relaxing than tucking the kids into bed and cuddling in front of the cottage fireplace with wine in hand, then the ride you’ll love to have take you there is the Mazda CX-9. It’s much more than simply an attractive SUV: its capable all-wheel drive system will get you up a rugged rural driveway reliably; and the Signature trim’s real wood, chrome, and leather interior evokes the country’s natural surroundings long before you arrive.
Heading out to explore on a long road trip
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Road trips with kids make for life-defining memories, but they also mean planning for a lot of eventualities. We can’t help much with “I need to go to the bathroom,” but you can stave off “I’m hungry,” “I’m bored,” and “Are we there yet?” by choosing the new Subaru Ascent. Its 19 cup holders – yes, 19! – leave lots of space to stow a variety of drinks and snacks, and a pair of USB charging ports in each row allow each member of the family to stay busy with handheld personal devices. (Just remember to top up your data plan.)
Shuttling the kids to their next hockey tournament
Sport parents know that the struggle is real: a ride that can comfortably accommodate gear bags and two rows full of passengers – or maybe even three – is hard to come by. Choose the Toyota Sienna and you get just over 1,100 litres of cargo capacity behind the third row and just under 2,470 litres with the third-row seats folded, all with a lower load floor that’s easier to lift a heavy bag into. And for those weekends when the weather isn’t cooperating, you also end up with the only minivan in Canada with available all-wheel drive.
Meeting your other single friends for coffee
If your fam jam is made up mostly of friends – they’re the family you choose, after all – then maybe you’re a confirmed urbanite who prizes the technology that keeps you connected with your clan. If so, you’ll love the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Available as a sedan or a hatchback, the A-Class launched in Canada for the first time with the MBUX infotainment system – which allows users to ask it to place a call, find the fastest route, announce the latest sports scores, and much more – all with verbal commands that feel natural to deliver. You can even ask it to tell you a joke, though it will simply respond with “Sorry, my engineers were German.”
Taking your fur kids to the dog park
The joy of watching a dog be released from the binds of its harness and allowed to run free from all restraint is appreciated by the same sort of people who would love owning a Volvo V90 Cross-Country. It’s the epitome of practical, loaded to the brim with capability, premium finishes, and desirable safety features, all at a reasonable price point. And if you ask, you can even pick up a Volvo-designed harness for your dog as a dealer accessory, available in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes.
Staying home to offset your carbon footprint
Are you so eco-conscious that you’d consider not making plans at all to reduce your family’s impact on the planet? Good news: there are great battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the market today that might allow you to reconsider. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is one of the market’s current top all-rounders with SUV proportions, comfortable seating for five passengers, all-wheel drive, Level 3 charging capability, six different regenerative braking modes, and a pure electric range of 35 km with a fuel tank as a back-up. Plus, it comes with a 10-year limited powertrain and battery warranty, too.