Why aren't family cars more family friendly?
John Goreham's picture

Why Aren't Family Cars More Family-Friendly?

If you've ever been a parent you know that family cars are far from family friendly. Here are a few suggestions and best practices every family car should incorporate.
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We all know the term, "family car." Yet, the difference between a family car, a mainstream car, or sports car is minimal when it comes to being family-friendly. The joke in my family has been for generations to always buy your car based on the interior. If you have kids, get "chocolate chip cookie" color. Because that is the color they are going to end up anyway.

Alejandra A. shared the image above this week on a Facebook page. It's funny because it's true. Kids are too young to understand that we adults treat the interiors of our cars like we do our clothing. We like them to stay clean. But kids aren't clean beasts. They are messy, yucky, gross, and we love them all the more for it. Except when they take a yellow crayon to the seatback in front of them on the way to camp.

Yellow crayons are extreme, but the 7-year-old who rides in the back of my car likes to put her feet forward and sort of brace against the seatback. Those little pink flip flops look cute on top, but on the bottom, they are all gum and doggie doo. Which makes the backs of my seats all gum and doggie doo. My seats are soft light gray cloth and they suck up any bit of dirt they can find and then hold on for dear life. Cleaning them is a bummer. Why don't automakers make the backs of seats easy to clean? Don't car designers have kids?

Let's not get started on the LATCH child seat anchors. Consumer Reports outed automakers on that topic and they are now even rated by IIHS.

Then there is seeing the kids once they are locked in place and happily muddying up our seatbacks. Why don't we have a little mirror that is underneath the one we use to see out the back window that is focused on the rugrats reaching for the jumbo Sharpie marker? And why don't all large vehicles come with a device like Toyota's Driver Easy Speak that allows us to yell "You settle down back there or we turning RIGHT back around!" more loudly?

And how about making the middle row come with shades on all family vehicles? I've accidentally rolled down my window with the aftermarket shade from Target too many times it is all crinkled up from being down in the door jam. How much could a window shade add to the cost of a $35K crossover? Maybe $14?

Why are rear floor mats in family cars carpeted? Why do we have to buy aftermarket waterproof floor mats? Kids are going to drink a quart of chocolate milk and then hurl at some point. Why force us to fake a car theft so we can ditch the car and burn out that sour smell you know is never coming out of that carpet?

Come on automakers. You've given us 707 hp street-legal track monsters and 4x4s that can climb trees. How about a car that actually works well with an American family?


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