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Tips for finding the perfect family car at the Seattle International Auto Show

The Seattle International Auto Show is happening this Thursday through Sunday at the Century Link Field Event Center, and this show presents a great opportunity for serious car shoppers as well as curious enthusiasts. If you’re on the lookout for your next family car, you swing by the Auto Show for a chance to see, touch, test drive and compare a range of makes and models in one convenient location.

Here are a few things to think about as you scope out the scene for your family’s next ride.

In and out

If you’re carting around a carful of kids, you know how much hassle can be involved in getting everybody and in and out of the vehicle. Bring your kids and see if they can easily climb in and out, or if complex seat sliding and seatbelt positioning makes doing so a struggle. This is especially important if you’ll often have passengers in a third row of seating.

Cargo

Different designs have different ways of maximizing cargo space to carry kid’s gear. Make sure to consider your kid’s hobbies when you look around. You can even take a measurement or two before you head to the auto show to help guide your selection. For instance, knowing exactly how tall you kid’s tuba case is can tell you if a trunk will hold it without adjustments or if you’ll be folding seats down every time there’s band practice.

Safety

Keeping your kids safe is of the utmost importance, so make sure to check the safety ratings as you look around. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rates vehicles based on side and front-end impacts as well as rollover resistance, awarding between one and five stars for different tests.

The NHTSA also tests how well new safety technologies perform on different vehicles. Technologies tested include forward collision warning, lane departure warning, rearview video systems and automatic emergency braking. Choose vehicles with more stars to for a ride that’s as safe as possible.

Fun new features

Those who attend the show will also get a chance to see new technologies and features that are especially appealing for families. For instance, the Chrysler Pacifica has an optional in-van vacuum and Uconnect, a system which allows you to stream from a tablet to the minivan’s two 10-inch rear-seat entertainment screens. The “Are We There Yet?” function syncs with your car’s navigation system so kids can see your ETA without asking you (again).

Other cars feature cooling compartments to keep juice boxes cold, built-in booster seats for older kids, rear seat reminders, conversation mirrors and more. Thinking about how you’ll use the vehicle (mostly long trips? daily commutes?) can help you decide which bonus features offer the most value for your family.

The Seattle International Auto Show offers you a convenient opportunity to compare different cars on the market, discover new technology and test drive your dream car. There are also many kid-oriented activities, like wooden car painting and mini-car test drives, to keep your offspring entertained. To learn more and buy your ticket, visit seattleautoshow.com.

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