2014 Chevrolet Traverse
Built on the same platform as the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, this is the entry-level version of General Motors' Lambda crossover platform. Aside from window dressing, there really isn't much separating the three.
They all have roughly the same electronics package featuring the MyLink radio and apps-based entertainment system. They all seat eight passengers comfortably. They all have 116 cubic feet of combined cargo space -- the best in their class.
So why pick the Traverse? Because a family on a budget doesn't need to blow $8,000 extra on the Buick's luxury appointments. $31,000 isn't cheap by any means, but it also isn't nearly $40,000.
2014 Toyota Sienna
If you're going to play the minivan game in 2014, you have two strategies at your disposal: Cram the giant box with tech toys or fill it with people.
Toyota's decided to take the latter route with the Sienna and use an upright folding seat in the second row to squeeze in as many as eight passengers. The entire second row slides up to allow third-row access and the second and third rows can fold away if there's a need for extra storage. That 39 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row can expand to as much as 150 cubic feet with the seats away.
With power sliding doors, keyless entry, power liftgate in the back, second-row climate controls, a sliding center console, panoramic moon roof, backup cameras and Entune entertainment and information system all available, the Sienna is only giving families more to love by raising the stakes on its rival Honda Odyssey.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.
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