Survey: Family Cars - The Controversy of Style vs. Functionality

Half Who Say Minivan Best Fulfills Family Car Needs Would Rather Drive Something Else

IRVINE, Calif.

A recent New Vehicle-Buyer Attitude Study, conducted by the marketing research arm of Kelley Blue Book ( was released today, giving consumers a voice on issues related to the "family car." The study shows that while minivans still provide some utility and many of the features desired by family car shoppers, half would rather be driving something else. 29 percent of those who say a minivan best fulfills their needs would rather be driving an SUV.

   Best Fulfills         SUV      Sedan    Minivan    Wagon
   Family Car Needs

   Would Most
   Like To Drive

   SUV                   89%       14%       29%        6%

   Sedan                 10%       82%       16%       29%

   Minivan                1%        3%       50%        0%

   Wagon                  0%        1%        5%       65%

"What we see in this study is a style versus functionality issue," said Charlie Vogelheim, executive editor, Kelley Blue Book. "Minivans have long been associated with 'a car full of kids,' which may be driving newer younger families toward more SUV-type styling. But several new minivans are coming out this year with more versatile and functional features that may be able to break through the stereotype and be the family car of a whole new generation."

In ranking which vehicle-types best fulfill the needs of family-car shoppers, SUVs come out on top followed by sedans, minivans and finally wagons. Consumer concern over high gas prices and safety issues caused a five percent decline in SUV interest according to a Kelley Blue Book study conducted in March of 2003, however when it comes to the family car, 43 percent of shoppers say SUVs best fulfill their needs as a family car.

   Category                 Attribute                      Rank

   Defining Factors         Seats 5 Comfortably             #1

   Attribute Importance     Roominess/Comfort               #3

   Feature/Option           Power rear up/down windows      #1
    Importance              Fold flat seats                 #2
                            Rear climate controls           #4

Offering family-friendly features is one way manufacturers sway consumers toward specific cars, but the features families want may be a bit of a surprise. Based on the study, family car shoppers say they are looking for power rear up and down windows as well as fold flat seats, with entertainment packages and power sliding doors coming in at the bottom of their wish lists. Other top features family car shoppers find important include options that allow the rear passenger to control their comfort level such as rear climate controls.

                Additional Statistics from the New Vehicle
                   Buyer Attitude Study on Family Cars:

   *  Those with a household income over $75,000 felt an SUV best fulfilled
      their needs as a family car while those with a household income under
      $75,000 felt a sedan best met their family car needs.

   *  Safety is seen as the most important attribute among consumers when
      buying a family car.  Value for the money and comfort run close

   *  While family car shoppers say storage capacity is not an important
      factor when choosing a family car, 73 percent of them say it will be
      used to run errands "often" versus 44 percent of shoppers using the
      family car to transport children "often."

   *  Half of vehicle shoppers plan to spend between $15,000 - 25,000 on
      their next family car.

   *  In-market car-buyers say seating five comfortably and overall value
      best define a "family car" rather than a vehicle that is simply "big."

  Demographic Information of Survey Respondents

   *  57 percent of respondents are between 30 and 50 years of age

   *  80 percent of respondents are married

   *  54 percent have 3 - 4 people in their household

   *  Half of the respondents have an annual household income above $75,000

The KBB New Vehicle-Buyer Attitude Study on Family Cars was administered via the company's Web site;, the No. 1 Internet site among car-buyers who are within 180-days of purchasing a new vehicle. For this particular survey, respondents include only those buying a new vehicle within 180-days and are likely to buy a "family car." The study was completed over a 10-day period at the end of May 2003 allowing consumers to discuss their buying choices and desires when it comes to the "family car."

For more information on future KBB New Vehicle-Buyer Attitude Studies or the complete results of the Family Car Study, please contact Robyn Eckard at 949-770-7704 x8349. All study results may be used for public and/or private use with clear attribution to Kelley Blue Book®. As long as clear attribution is present, no further permission is required for use.

About Kelley Blue Book

Kelley Blue Book is the most trusted vehicle information resource by both consumers and the auto industry, providing research tools and up-to-date pricing on thousands of used and new vehicles. Since 1926, car buyers and sellers have relied upon Kelley Blue Book for authoritative and unbiased information to make well-informed automotive decisions. The company offers objective vehicle pricing via products and services including the famous Blue Book Official Guide, software and Internet site, has been rated the No. 1 automotive information site by Nielsen//NetRatings as well as No. 1 and first visited automotive site by J.D. Power and Associates five years running. No other medium reaches more in-market car-buyers than; one in every four American car-buyers complete their research on

Safe Harbor Statement

This release contains data from recent news reports as well as a Kelley Blue Book New Vehicle-Buyer Attitude Study and does not reflect the opinions of Kelley Blue Book employees, management or any person associated with the company. The data presented herein reflects only the attitudes and opinions of consumers and in-market car-buyers participating in the online survey.

SOURCE: Kelley Blue Book

CONTACT: Robyn Eckard of Kelley Blue Book, +1-949-770-7704, ext. 8349,

Web site:

Key Contacts

Director, Public Relations
Lisa Aloisio

Sr. Public Relations Manager
Brenna Buehler

For general or customer service inquiries,
please call 1-800-258-3266.




* Required Fields
Thanks for Supporting
Kelley Blue Book.
We deliver up-to-date car values, expert reviews and unbiased reporting at no
cost to you. To do this, we display ads from only trusted automotive partners.

To continue on our site, simply turn off your ad blocker and refresh the page.