Top Family Cars at 2013 New York Auto Show

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Last weekend we went into NYC to take in one of my favorite annual activities, The New York Auto Show. This yearly staple at the Jacob Javits Center always yields a big crowd, and lots of amazing vehicles to see. This year I was on a mission: to find family cars for frugal buyers, that would end up being great quality vehicles without breaking the bank. Here are the top family cars at the 2013 New York Auto Show.

New York Auto Show, family car, Scion xB

First, we visited the Scion section of the auto show. I have to admit, I’d never given scions much thought. I’d seen their commercials and a handful of the cars on the road, but it never entered my mind to actually research this oddly shaped car. After talking with one of the representatives, I learned that Scions are under the Toyota umbrella. All Scions are manufactured in the same plant as Toyota vehicles. That made my ears perk up. The Scion xB has ample room and even a compartment in the trunk where you can place small trinkets or important car parts. For some reason, my husband was really impressed with this amenity. My favorite part of the car? The price. The xB is around 17,000. The reason the price is so low is that you add to the car what you feel is important. The rep stated quite wisely ” we don’t want to make you pay for amentities in a car that you won’t use, so you get to pick your own.” Genius!


Next, we stopped to see our buddy, the GMC Acadia. We reviewed the Acadia Denali back in October, and I was pleased to see that the regular Acadia is just as family friendly. The Acadia offers a third row, and has the same options as the Denali. This seemed like one of the more popular cars at the New York Auto Show, so it was interesting to be able to share with others the experience we had with the vehicle while they perused it. For a full review of that car, check out my post from last year.


The Chevy Traverse was a great family sized car. It was well made and roomy. Since our review of the GMC Acadia Denali, I have been paying close attention to GMC, Chevy and Buick vehicles and have been very impressed. They are American made and offer a great quality in a car, while not breaking the bank when it comes to price. The Traverse we saw was around 40,000 but they have a “no option” version for 31,000. After reading what’s included in the no option version, I say you are still getting a great deal with this car.


As we walked the rest of the grounds, we ended up in the Kia section of the auto show. We are still big fans of the Kia Optima Hybrid, and were stoked to see a Superman and Batman version of the vehicle there! Kia mixed with DC comic super heroes can only create good things. But, our mission was to check out the Kia Sorrento, Sportage and Soul. The Sorrento ended up being my favorite of the 3, with lots of room, included “bells and whistles” and a great safety review. When it comes to getting the most for your dollar, I’d have to say Kia Soul is the winner. It’s a car that would do well with a family of 4, has great cargo space and with it priced at 17,000, it won’t break your budget.


Lastly, I decided to search for cars that would accommodate families of 6 and up that may be on a tight budget. The Nissan NV is a 12 passenger vehicle that was comfortable, spacious, and according to the representative, it drives just like a van. At 39,000 this would be a good investment car for a family needing a vehicle that can fit a large family of growing kids, but will last a long time.

Those are my top family cars at the 2013 New York Auto Show. Did you attend? What were your favorite vehicles?

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

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  1. 4.8.13
    Mariah said:

    We are considering the Traverse for our next family car! Of course, we’re hoping we don’t need to buy for another 6 years so who knows what will be available then!

    • 4.8.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Mariah, we loved the Traverse! It would be perfect for a family that’s looking for a long-term vehicle. Our all time favorite in the Chevy/GMC family is the Acadia. You get the 3rd row, smooth ride and great gas mileage. The traverse and Acadia are very similar :).

  2. 4.8.13

    Wow, the Nissan fits 12 people? Did I read that right? That would definitely be perfect for large families. I like the KIA, it’s a cute, practical, yet sturdy car.

    • 4.8.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Yup, you read right! That NV was so impressive, and perfect for big families on a budget. And we’ve become really big fans of Kias lately. Test driving that Kia Optima Hybrid totally opened our eyes to the big things Kia is doing now. Such a great company.

  3. 4.8.13
    Nickida said:

    Wow I like that Nissan NV room for 12 and under 40 grand that sounds great.

    • 4.8.13
      Amiyrah said:

      I loved the price point of that car. I mean, if you are family of 6 or more, knowing that you can get a brand new car for under 40 grand (that will last!) is such a blessing. Thanks for commenting, Nickida!

  4. 4.8.13

    The Traverse and Acadia sure are nice..but, they sure are pricy!

    • 4.8.13
      Amiyrah said:

      I don’t really think they are, considering what you get with the car. For a family of 4 or 5, the traverse and Acadia are great cars for long term family use. I like to price a car “per person” to see if it’s really worth it, and those two actually are. That says a lot coming from this frugal gal lol!

  5. 4.8.13
    Beth said:

    We were JUST talking about cars last night at dinner w/ my in laws! I’m not one for buying brand new cars. I’m 32 and have owned 2 cars my entire life. A 1990 Toyota Celica…loved that car. Had it only for about 2 years as something went inside the engine that affected the heating/air. My dad sold it when I went to Niagara Falls on vacation for $500 to our neighbor’s friends son….but I had someone at my job that wanted it for $3k…darn! But my neighbor ended up fixing it for him! Granted, it took him MONTHS as he did it on the side….all it was was a rubber washer that needed to be replaced, but he had to take the whole engine apart to do so..which is a pain. And it would have cost over $5k to fix it to pay someone, so we sold it…then I got my 1998 Mustang in 2000. Got it for about $12k used. And I still have her…she’s my baby! So she is 15 years old, and i’ve had her for 13 years and she still purrs like a kitten lmao. The closest thing I’ve had to a brand new vehicle is DH’s Explorer. He got it when we were dating for about 7 months, and I got him an awesome deal on it, just by speaking up. That was in 2004…since, we have gotten a 2000 Camry (hand me down from his folks). The 3 vehicles suit us well, but with a baby coming, we have been discussing a new SUV. My brother in law wants us to either get a mini van or an SUV, but says the SUVs it’s higher up for me to get the baby in and out of. Granted, we are about 2 years out in my calculations to get a new one, but I’m a researcher, so I want to see which car to get…I know BIL mentioned the Traverse yesterday. We both like the Explorers (I’m a Ford Girl!!!!) and we both liked the Santa Fe, but for all that money, if we were to buy brand new, I’d spend the few extra thousands for an Explorer, in my opinion. But I love reading your blogs about cars, it gives DH and I a chance to talk about what vehicle we will get next 🙂

    • 4.8.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Hi Beth! Love you long comments lol, they make me smile. We looked at the new explorer, but my husband and I both agreed that the price was way too much for what you were getting. You can go the Kia route and get the same space, better amenities and a better price for a family on a budget. If you are still looking to go Ford, I’d say take a look at a Ford Flex or the new Ford Escape. Great price points and you still have enough room to grow into the car.

  6. 4.8.13
    Tomika B said:

    I attended when it was in the Philly area as I am in the market for a new vehicle. I figured this would be a great way to preview lots of cars without going to 200 dealerships.

    • 4.8.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Tomika you are so right. Along with me going to be able to create this post, we made a point of looking at cars and car companies that we might be willing to give our hard earned dollars to lol.

  7. 4.8.13

    I’ve ridden in a Nissan NV and I was REALLY impressed. My family had 12 and 15 passenger vans when I was a kid (oldest of 8) and they were always the plain old, uncomfortable church bus type. That NV is NOT like that. It’s like luxury van. And, it’s pretty on the outside too!

    • 4.8.13
      Amiyrah said:

      You are so right, Erica. I think the outside is what got me the most. You would expect it to just look like a bread box van with seats inside but it looks chic on the outside and on the inside.

  8. 4.8.13
    Nichole said:

    My sister-in-law just bought a Traverse last weekend! We have a Ford Flex, and I’ve been really pleased with it.

  9. 4.8.13
    Gina said:

    I think I’m going to be a minivan momma forever 🙁 I’ve been waiting for one of these car shows to have a hybrid minivan. We prefer the van to an SUV, and it’s nice fitting 7-8 in our van. I just wish we had more options for mileage. Thanks for sharing what you learned!

    • 4.9.13
      Amiyrah said:

      I feel your pain Gina! In a perfect world, we would be able to get a hybrid SUV that was the price of the Kia Optima Hybrid with the same mileage. We are an SUV family here, although my husband wouldn’t mind getting a minivan. I’m just not ready to take that Mom leap yet lol.

  10. 4.8.13

    I’m not sure about a favorite right now. But mileage is always a priority me for me.
    Did you ask about fuel efficiency on any of the cars?

    • 4.9.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Yes, the mileage was right on the information boards. I can only speak from experience, but the Acadia has phenomenal fuel efficiency for an SUV. The Scion has an average MPG of 24, which is amazing for that type of car as well.

  11. 4.9.13
    Sarah said:

    We haven’t attended. It has been a LONG time since we have been to an auto show. We are usually craigslist people for vehicles. My husband is excellent on fixing and repairing so that seems like a good route for us at the moment. BUT the Kia Optima Hybrid has me thinking…..I like hybrid….I like the price point…there are options. Hmmmmm

    • 4.9.13
      Amiyrah said:

      The hybrid gives you a little “oof” with the amount you put out at first, but thanks to the VERY high gas mileage and how well these new Kias are standing up to everyday family use, it is so worth the money. We still have it on our list of possible cars and are trying to figure out how we can put an even bigger down payment on the car to offset the initial expense. So worth the money!

  12. 4.9.13

    We didn’t attend but we are due to upgrade soon. Hubby has been eyeing the GMC for a while now. Me, I’m not too sure. I currently drive a Volvo and am thinking of just upgrading to a later model.

    • 4.9.13
      Amiyrah said:

      I’d never had the opportunity to try out a Volvo, but a friend of mine loves hers. What kind of Volvo do you have?

  13. 4.9.13

    I have a 1996 Volvo XC90. It’s really trouble free and has great safety features, but, my biggest issue with it is that it is not very fuel efficient.

  14. 4.10.13

    All the cars look so nice. At each description, I thought, this one, I want this one. Then I read the next description and wanted that one! Thanks for sharing.

    • 4.10.13
      Amiyrah said:

      Hehe Janeane. They are all great choices, some better than others. I had a great time at the car show.

  15. 4.14.13
    Caroll said:

    A car note gives me chills but I must say these choices sure do make me dream. Nice piece!

    • 4.14.13
      Amiyrah said:

      As a frugal gal, you can only guess how I feel about car notes lol, but we are offsetting the idea of one by putting up a big down payment. If we do buy new we’ll be making very small payments to finish off the note. So getting a good car is key!

  16. 4.15.13
    Heather H said:

    My aunt just bought a Kia Sorento and LOVES it! It’s affordable & stylish. Sometimes you have to compromise one of the two!