2. 2014 Mazda CX-5

Starting price: $21,195

It's way sportier than its compact-crossover cousins, but the Mazda CX-5's more practical features are the big draw here.

Let the driver play with the 155-horsepower engine and available Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, HD radio, Pandora ( P) Internet radio and TomTom navigation system. It's the ample rear seating and up to 65.4 cubic feet of cargo space that are going to get you and your family through this trip. That and maybe the optional blind-spot warning system or the combined 28 miles per gallon that jumps up to 31 mpg if you can handle a manual transmission.

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