- Posted 02 Jun
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If your family is in the market for a new vehicle this year, check out the winner and finalists of the recent National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) competition. NRMA offers car reviews and has an annual competition to designate the best performing cars in a variety of categories. For their late 2014 competition, they added a new category, “Best Family Wagon”, and here we look at the three top competitors.
Winner – Citroën Grand C4 Picasso
The modern family wagon has to be versatile enough to carry many passengers or lots of cargo. Most offer seven or eight passenger seating and third row seats that fold flat for extra transport space.
For the first year of competition, the NRMA looked at multiple competitors but narrowed their selection down to two top finalists, the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso and the Honda Odyssey VTi-L. Both are great vehicles, but they gave top honours to the Citroën.
The Citroën has a six-speed automatic transmission and 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine. It comes with a standard six-year warranty, and the Association gives it a perfect rating for fuel consumption.
The only small downside is that while second-row passengers benefit from separate heating and cooling controls, but third row passengers do not. Also, both the Citroën and Honda offer third-row seats that fold flat when not in use to provide extra storage capacity. However, the Honda is overall a larger vehicle, so if storage capacity is important you’ll get more cubic metres of storage here.
Citroën has said that its target audience for the Grand C4 Picasso is families with children up to 12 years old. Based on user friendliness, passenger and cargo capacity, and reliability and fuel consumption, Citroën has built the ideal vehicle for this target category.
Starting price: $48,122
Honda Odyssey VTi-L
The Honda Odyssey was a strong contender and has won the NRMA Best Wagon award in three previous years and best overall car from 2004 to 2007. The Odyssey is more expensive than its Citroën competitor, but the VTi is a lower spec, cheaper model you might want to check out.
The Odyssey has a 2.4-litre petrol engine and a CVT transmission to improve fuel consumption. It is a larger vehicle and offers additional storage capacity or seating for eight, instead of the seven that can fit in the Citroën. So if you need to haul more people this may be the vehicle for you.
Starting price: $51,806
Kia Sorento Si 2WD
The third-place choice, also a strong contender, was the Kia Sorento Si 2WD. The Kia has SUV styling instead of a van appearance, which will appeal to many drivers. It scored high in the Value for Money category and beat out many competitors on overall price and depreciation.
The Kia is also a seven-seater vehicle, though the judges agree that the third row can be cramped for adults and is more suitable for younger children. The Sorento has a 3.5-litre petrol engine for it’s base model, which did not score as well on fuel consumption as others in the Family Wagon category. But if you’re willing to spend money to upgrade, you can get a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine that will pay for itself in fuel efficiency over time.
Starting price: $42,825
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