I Want An Electric Vehicle That Can Fit The Family! What Car Should I Buy?

After living overseas for a while, Aaron and his family are returning to the US and moving to Arkansas. He is looking for a fully electric car that can handle two kids in car seats and ideally a few bicycles. With a budget of up to $45,000, what car should he buy?

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Here is the scenario-

My wife, 2 young kids, and i have been living outside of the usa, overseas, since 2015 and will be returning to NW Arkansas later this year to live and work for the foreseeable future. We are looking for an all-electric vehicle that will be able to accommodate a 50-mile, one-way, daily commute as well as shuttle the family around periodically as needed. Budget $45,000.00(including any ev charging upgrades to the house). Would also love for it to be able to haul around 2-4 bicycles.

Quick Facts:

Budget: up to $45,000

Location: Arkansas

Daily Driver: Yes

Wants: EV, room for the family

Doesn’t want: A gas guzzler

Expert 1: Tom McParland- It’s The Benchmark For A Reason

Image: Autotrader

Aaron, there have been a lot more EV offerings since 2015, but the market still hasn’t given us a nice selection of electric models that can both accommodate a family and are reasonably priced. With two kids in car seats, smaller models like the Bolt are probably going to feel a bit tight.

You also want to reduce the stress of traveling with kids as much as possible on those road trips, so that means access to easy charging. America’s charging infrastructure, especially in rural areas, still has a long way to go, so I would suggest targeting the brand that invested in their network from the get-go. That of course is Tesla. Putting aside some inconsistent quality control and Elon’s insistence on saying everything that comes into his brain, there is a reason that Tesla is still the benchmark for mass-market EVs.

Now that used EV prices are starting to look pretty appealing there is plenty of inventory to be found. A larger Model X is going to be a challenge at under forty-five grand, but a lightly used Model Y should be pretty easy. The Y will offer a comfortable space for the kiddos, but you will have to get some kind of roof, or rear hatch bike rack set up. Here is a 2021 Long Range model with 30,000 miles for just under $36,000.

Expert 2: Bradley Brownell - Issa Jag-you-are, innit?

Image for article titled I Want An Electric Vehicle That Can Fit The Family! What Car Should I Buy?

Image: Cargurus

With 400 horsepower on tap and a decent 234 miles of range, the Jaguar I-Pace is a little bit of an unsung hero in the EV world right now. These are nicely built posh sport-utes that cost over 80 grand new and now can be had for less than half that, and well under your budget cap. There are tons of standard features that will make your drive a nicer experience. This is a much better-built car than a Model Y, and it uses better materials. Plus it just looks better. You’ll be happier in this.

I was specifically shopping for one in a fun color, which is difficult to do in today’s used EV market, so this red example isn’t perhaps the best I-Pace for the money. You can find higher-spec HSE models for not much more money with lower miles. Nevertheless, this example can be had for just $27,977, leaving you lots of spare budget to get a nice home L2 charger, and a rack of solar panels for free driving.

Expert 3: Collin Woodard - Used? You Don’t Want Used

Kia Niro EV

Photo: Ferguson Superstore

Normally, I’d say you can’t go wrong with any of the previous suggestions, but personally, I’m not a fan of how the Model Y rides. Yes, it’s sporty, but if you’re driving 100 miles a day, I suspect you’ll be happier with something a little cushier, Aaron. And do you really want to roll the dice on a heavily depreciated Jaguar? Even if the car doesn’t have any mechanical problems, I’ve experienced too many issues with the infotainment system to recommend one to someone who needs a daily driver. To be fair, though, it’s been a few years since I’ve been in an I-Pace, so Jaguar may have sorted all of that out by now.

Instead, I’m going to recommend you look at an EV that is often overlooked — the Kia Niro EV. Is it a hatchback? Is it a crossover? Is it some secret third thing? No one really knows, but it’s relatively boxy for an EV, which should make it more practical for kid-hauling duties, and it has a range of just over 250 miles, which would be more than enough for your daily commute and allow you to get away with only charging it a few times a week if you had to. It’s not going to have the kind of handling or power that you get with the other two suggestions, but I highly doubt that will matter much on your daily commute.

The best part is, you can get a new Niro EV for less than you were planning to spend. Here’s one in Broken Arrow for just under $35,000, and it even comes in a somewhat interesting color. You don’t really want a grayscale car, do you? Of course not. Throw in any available tax credits, and you’re looking at a heck of a deal for a brand-new EV that sounds like exactly what you’re looking for. After all, I don’t see “fun to drive” anywhere in your email. Get the Kia and don’t look back, Aaron.

Expert 4: Lawrence Hodge - You Need A Plug In Hybrid

Image for article titled I Want An Electric Vehicle That Can Fit The Family! What Car Should I Buy?

Image: Fields Mazda of Asheville

Aaron I have bit of bad news for you. The vehicle that you want doesn’t quiet exist just yet. I mean it does, but not at the price point you want to be at. To get something that can handle both family needs and be able to haul bikes, you need to spend at least $10,000-$15,000 more. Ideally, a plug-in hybrid would work for you, specifically something like this Mazda CX-90 PHEV I found.

Not only do you get a pretty powerful powertrain setup with 319 horsepower, you also get 26 miles of all electric driving range. While that’s not enough to fully cover your commute, it’s enough to cover half of it which isn’t bad in my book.

And the CX-90 has family hauling duties down to an art. You get three rows of seating that can hold the kiddies with thoughtful little details, like wider opening rear doors and easily sliding second row seats. And when you need to haul stuff, there’s 15 cubic feet of space behind the third row; that grows to 40 cubic feet with the third row folded. With both rows folded it grows to 74.2 cubic feet. I’d say that’s enough for two or three nice sized bikes. The best part of all of this is that these things are in your price range. Even though it’s been on the market a year, you can find used CX-90s PHEVs at good prices with low miles. The example I found you here is only $42,500 with just 5,675 miles on it.


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