What Dads Should Look For at the L.A. Auto Show

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I just got back from covering the new models at the L.A. Auto Show (for Cars.com) and was impressed by how good new cars are getting. It’s strange to think that Hyundai, Kia and Suzuki have interiors that best Ford and GM and are darn close to Honda.

The most important model for dads is definitely the 2011 Toyota Sienna. It gets a new design that mimics the Venza crossover and there’s even a sport-tuned SE model with a blacked-out grille and better handling for the dads who need more excitement in their minivan. Reclining rear seats in the Limited trim are a good gimic, but even the standard seats are really comfy with tons of legroom.

All-wheel drive is now offered on more trims than just the most expensive Limited like last year, but pricing hasn’t been announced. Did I mention I want an all-wheel drive minivan?

2011 Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai is now about styling and practicality. In person this car looked stunning in red and the interior I sat in was a light tan. Usually cars look better with black interiors which hide flaws, this tan looked terrific. I’d definitely pick it over black. Quality is up a notch and it wasn’t bad before either.

It’s really spacious with interior room of a large sedan not a midsize. So it should fit two rear facing infant seats like the Accord does. I’ll have to test that out though.

2011 Kia Sorento
The looks didn’t wow me but at a starting price of under $20,000 you’re not going to find an SUV this big (it costs the same as a Nissan Rogue but is bigger) and the interior was a huge step up for Kia, although not quite as nice as the Hyundai Sonata. It’s really similarly priced to Dodge’s Journey and both have really unusable optional third row seats. However, the interior edge goes to the Kia…big time.