Daddy Driven: My Favorite Cars of 2011

Touareg
Last week I posted the very long list of all the cars I tested this past year. But which ones were my absolute favorites coming strictly from a dad’s perspective?

Well, obviously driving an Audi R8 Spyder and Porsche Panamera are givens in terms of time away from the kids.

But what about cars real families can afford and use?

Newly Awesome
VW is doing something right. I liked the new 2011 Jetta and Touareg for different reasons. The Jetta was big enough in back to fit child safety seats…comfortably (see below) and it’s the same price as a Corolla. Folks mention that the interior isn’t as nice as the outgoing model, but it’s as nice as a Civic and nicer than a Corolla and costs the same. Get over it.

Jettaseats
The Touareg is more expensive than its peers but drove incredibly well, with tons of room and gadgets. Nav is standard for example. The tougher-looking exterior will also be a bonus for dads. The top of the line Hybrid at $60K hauls like a V-8 too. But the V-6 (same engine as in the Panamera) was plenty of power for me.

I’m driving the updated 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan right now, which is a big improvement from the 2010, but the redesigned 2011 Honda Odyssey remains the best minivan out there. It gets better mileage with a better engine and transmission. The interior also tops the bunch and it features Honda’s newest navigation system which is a big step up.

Still Awesome
I was really impressed with the 2011 Honda CR-V I tested recently as apart of a shootout. It does everything well and comes decently equipped for a price that matches the competition. Plus it has Honda resale and reliability and can handle the family. I can say exactly the same about the 2011 Subaru Forester. Weird.

If you’re a dad looking for a manly sedan for the commute, the Nissan Maxima is completely underrated. People point to the CVT and the front-wheel drive, but those people are Internet trolls. The thing is fast, mean looking and has plenty of room. I’d take it over a Ford Taurus any day of the week. Maybe even the SHO version for the money you’d save.

And I’ll say it again, the 2011 Lincoln MKT with EcoBoost is a badass frickin’ crossover. It’s got power, room and a very nice navigation unit. If you don’t like the looks I’m sorry, get a Ford Flex. But for me, I want the MKT.

*I stand behind my picks above but they are just my personal opinion and not those of Cars.com. However, I wouldn't pick anything here that I wouldn't recommend on the publication that I work for.

** Thanks to Greg at DaddyTypes for the link and pointing out the odd headline. In my sleep deprived mind I should have typed "2010" but since they are all 2011 model years and anyone seeing these recommendations would likely buy in the 2011 calendar year it makes a lot of sense to leave as is.