The best cars for families

(FOX19) - High gas prices mean it's becoming more and more expensive to transport your family place to place.

But there are some family cars out there that won't break the bank, and will keep your family safe.

According to car experts, there has been a shift in a car buyer's mentality when it comes to purchasing a family vehicle. It used to be the bigger the better.

"What families come in now to consider is fuel efficiency, safety and performance," said Christian Penafiel, a sales consultant with Kings Nissan.

Penafiel says all newer model cars have to meet rigorous safety standards, so the chance of buying a safe vehicle is pretty high. The number one question buyers ask is how many miles per gallon does the car get.

"Right now fuel efficiency is the main concern with gas prices going up," said Penafiel.

According to several consumer reports, Nissan makes two of the best family cars for the price - the Nissan Versa and the Cube. These vehicles don't look like your traditional family vehicle.

"It's very small and compact on the outside but very roomy on the inside," said Penafiel. "A lot of head room, a lot of leg room."

The best part about these two Nissan models - the price. The Versa sells for just under $11,000 and the Cube for just under $15,000.

Other roomy cars that won't break the bank are the Honda Fit and the Scion XB - both sell for under $17,000. Those family cars aren't your tradition family vehicles, but they are very fuel efficient and offer plenty of room for those long car rides.

If your family needs a bigger vehicle that may not get as good of gas mileage but is still cost effective, consider the Chevy Traverse and the Ford Explorer, which sell for under $30,000 and average 25 miles per gallon on the highway.

Smaller crossover vehicles hot on the market are the Chevy Equinox and the Nissan Rouge.

"It's our best selling SUV, as you can see with the size," said Penafiel of the Rouge. "A lot of head room and a lot of leg room as well."

When buying a new car make sure you always ask the dealership about special buying incentives, like free car washes or free maintenance. It will save your family a lot of money in the long run.

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