Five Ideal Cars for New Fathers
Contrary to popular belief, having a kid isn’t the end of the road when it comes to being a car enthusiast, and I’ve spent almost the last two years learning this very lesson. As an automotive journalist and a new dad, I’m in the unique position of having to swap car seats into different cars on a weekly basis. In this time, I’ve found that while a minivan or crossover is probably your best bet if you’re just looking to maximize space and fuel economy, there are still many options out there that allow being a father and a car nut to peacefully coexist. So after thinking about all of the cars I’ve driven over the past 23 months, I’ve come up with what I think are the top five cars for new fathers. Dodge Durango R/T
Believe it or not, you can fit a rear-facing child seat in cars like the Nissan GT-R or Cadillac ELR, but it's an exercise in flexibility and determination to get the seat anchored and your child properly buckled in. This is when bigger vehicles come in handy, and when it comes to big, burly people movers with style and power, the Dodge Durango R/T is about as cool as they come. Dads probably can’t look any cooler in a vehicle costing less than $40,000 with plenty of room for numerous car seats and still a handful of passengers. And oh yeah, it’s got Hemi power!
PHOTOS: See more of the 2014 Dodge Durango R/T
On the opposite end of the size scale of the Durango, the Volkswagen GTI packs a lot of punch into a small package. Each time I’d take a turn with some speed, she would giggle as the g-forces tugged on her little frame. But be careful as too much fun can lead to a load of dirty (and smelly) laundry. And with the all-new 2015 VW GTI hitting the scene, now there's even more to love about the original hot hatch.
PHOTOS: See more of the 2015 Volkswagen GTI
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon
The quintessential vehicle in which to meld your new role as a father with your lifelong urges as an enthusiast is probably the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon. What’s not to love about a 550-hp wagon with plenty of room for kids, tires, lumber or whatever? Besides, in sedan form, the E-Class has already proven itself as one of the safest cars on the market scoring a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS.
PHOTOS: See more of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon
I used to think there was nothing better than driving on the beach in a Jeep Wrangler with the doors and roof off, but with my daughter’s hair blowing in the wind and her arms raised like she was on a roller coaster, my experiences in the ultimate off-roader got even better. Room is tight with a child seat in place, even in the Wrangler Unlimited, but if you’re buying this Jeep for its roominess and practicality, you might want to rethink your purchase decision.
PHOTOS: See more of the 2014 Jeep Wrangler
2014 BMW M5 with Competition Package
On a personal note, I’ve driven well over 100 cars since my daughter was born ranging from one of the lowest-priced cars in the U.S. (the Nissan Versa) to the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, but the 2014 BMW M5 stood out as the best. Why? Well there have been plenty of cars that gave her good surrounding views or fun toys (such as seat belts and center console armrests) to keep her busy, but only the M5 brought forth enthusiastic whoas and wows during fast take-offs.
PHOTOS: See more of the 2014 BMW M5 with Competition Package