Not every dad can rock the Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 as the family whip. Even with a disposable income, it’s occasionally necessary to haul groceries, store Little League equipment, and yes, take over the neighborhood carpool duties.
Thus, for dads, the word “practical” and “car” are sometimes lumped into the same sentence, which is why Chevrolet teamed up with Harris Interactive to better understand what it is that busy dads want in a car.
“The trend is shifting and men are becoming more involved with family-driving duties. We’re seeing the rise of the ‘Dadmobile,’” said James Bell, head of General Motors Consumer Affairs
Harris’ research also showed that respondents shied away from the typical mommy minivan, and gravitated more toward crossover SUVs. And that got the dads on our staff thinking—what are the manliest vehicles on the road with seating for at least six?
There is an inverse relationship between manliness and number of passengers, but for $20,140, dads looking for the affordable option can seat six in the 2012 Mazda5. It resembles a small minivan, but it’s also the only van in America with an available six-speed manual transmission. Busy dads can do worse than the 157-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that gets up to 28 mpg highway, and comes standard with front, front-side, and side-impact airbags.
The 2012 Honda Odyssey EX-L has 15 beverage holders, and room for eight passengers. Yes, it’s a minivan, but it’s a strong competitor for the title of best modern man-van. Its 248-hp 3.5-liter V-6 screams when you punch the gas, the van handles like an Accord, and yet it also sips fuel to the tune of 27-mpg highway. Throw in the rear-entertainment DVD system atop the $35,685 base price, like we experienced with our recent tester, and long trips with kids could become, dare we say it—fun.
Want something with more muscle? The 2012 Dodge Durango R/T inhales testosterone. Sure, it only rates 20 mpg highway, but it’s got a Hemi and a 506-watt audio system. At $36,645, the Durango has room for seven passengers, and comes with seat-mounted airbags, something even mom can appreciate.
Because the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG wagon is no longer offered in America, by default, the 5+2 passenger 2011 E350 4Matic wagon wins the commuting award for still actually being a car. At $57,075, it’s not cheap, and with only the 268-hp 3.5-liter V-6, it’s not the man-wagon it could be; but with 11 airbags, all-wheel drive, and an available AMG wheel package, it’ll more than suffice.
Since there the Porsche Panamera Turbo S only seats four, we’re stretching the rules a bit with the ultimate six-passenger “Dadmobile,” the Tesla Model S. It’s a sedan. It seats seven. It has an available 300-mile electric range, sprints to 60 mph in an estimated 5.6 seconds, and Tesla hopes it can achieve an NHTSA 5-star crash rating. Oh yeah, and it isn’t available, yet. But when it is, Tesla says the base model will start at $49,900, not including the $7500 US Federal Tax Credit you can subtract at tax-time.
All prices include destination charges.
By Jason Davis