Mama ride: Five ways to break out of the ‘mom car’ rut

2014 Subaru Forester 2014 Subaru Forester

Time for a mom car? If even the thought of a minivan has you imagining the smell of stale French fries, you’ve got options. We talked to some area dealerships about their best-selling choices fit for a family on the go, and here are a few of their top picks.

2014 Subaru Forester (above)
At a glance: Motor Trend voted Forester the 2014 Car of the Year.
How it fits your family: Seats five. Plenty of cargo space, and roof racks to take bikes or kayaks along for the ride. Oh, and it’s very pet friendly, with room for a “pretty good-sized dog cage in the back,” according to client manager Richard deButts, and miles per gallon between 24 and 30.
Price: From $24,000 to the low $30ks, depending on how it’s outfitted.

Brown Automotive

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe
At a glance: Rated the top overall best buy by Consumer Reports magazine.
How it fits your family: A choice of five or seven passenger seating, with seats that fold into the floor for more cargo space and 24mpg. And it’s stylin’. “People are getting these sleek lines in a car that doesn’t scream, ‘I overspent,’” according to Jim Price guest relations rep John Snow.
Price: Starts around $25,000.

Jim Price Automotive

2014 Volvo XC79
2014 Volvo XC79

Family wagon
2014 Volvo XC70
At a glance: “We maintain the wagon can get it done.” That’s what sales rep Joe Lombardo said about the long-standing favorite Volvo station wagon.
How it fits your family: Sitting lower and longer means easier loading of golf clubs and an easier time getting in and out of your driveway. It comfortably seats five. All-wheel drive gets you around no matter the weather, and the Volvo gets around 26 mpg.
Price: From the mid-$30,000s up to the high $40,000s.

Volvo of Charlottesville

2014 Honda Accord
2014 Honda Accord

2014 Honda Accord
At a glance: This full-size sedan fits five people comfortably with trunk space that rivals Monticello’s entrance hall.
How it fits your family: Long known for safety, the newest Honda feature is a crash avoidance camera that gives you an audible warning if you’re coming up quick on stopped traffic. Plus it’s fuel efficient, with a low drag design and a gas rating of almost 40 miles per gallon.
Price: $22,000-23,000.

Brown Honda

2014 Hyundai Elantra
2014 Hyundai Elantra

2014 Hyundai Elantra
At a glance: This is a compact car with mid-sized cargo capacity and space for a family of five, and a nearly unbeatable price tag.
How it fits your family: Great gas mileage (average of 32 city or highway driving) for about $17,000. “It gives people a nice vehicle at a price they can afford, without sacrificing comfort,” said Snow.
Price: $17,000.