SINGAPORE, June 16 — Being a dad usually means you have to put the needs of the family before yours. When it comes to cars, that sporty coupe you have had your eye on might have to take a back seat on your bucket list to make way for something with more doors and seats.
So, what sort of cars are available for dad? Well, while offerings such as the Honda Civic or MPVs such as the Toyota Previa make for dependable family transport; we thought that, with Father’s Day being this Sunday, we would indulge deserving dads with a little wishful thinking.
Here, then, are some alternative motoring options that would not only look good on bucket lists, but can be surprisingly practical and family-friendly too.
For the dad who likes a little bit of style with his ride
When it comes to family cars, Volkswagens offer a compelling combination of safety, comfort and reliability which makes its cars a natural choice for many.
Add a tantalising dose of style to the mix, and you get the recently launched Arteon.
It is based on the popular Passat, which means it offers lots of interior space and a high level of refinement for effortless travel wrapped in a shapelier body style, with stylish coupe-like features such as frameless windows and a fastback hatch.
The carmaker defines it as a “five-door Gran Turismo” that is positioned above the Passat.
While dad can look forward to driving thrills by way of a 280hp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, the rest of the family will be entertained by the highly advanced Car-Net App Connect system, which offers a suite of apps and services that works in tandem with your smartphone.
Depending on the app downloaded, you can improve your driving style with a virtual eco-driving coach (and if you dare, you can let your kids be the backseat driver on that one); or even an automatic music selection that matches your driving style so your journey has a nice accompanying soundtrack (that way, you can avoid having to listen to that Disney song for the umpteenth time).
Volvo V90 Cross Country
For the dad who wants that adventurous touch
If you need something with some serious load capacity, but find the blocky styling or a tall stance of the usual Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) not to your liking, then perhaps the Volvo V90 Cross Country might be up your alley.
A classy alternative that offers the best of both worlds, the V90 is the latest in a long line of big Volvo station wagons from the Swedish marque.
This car trades in its predecessor’s blocky look for some very sleek lines, which make it one of the best-looking estates in the business today.
The ‘Cross Country’ suffix to the V90’s moniker denotes a more rugged treatment, all-wheel drive and a slightly higher ride height that allow this car to venture a little further from the tarmac than your standard rides. (If you ask us, it looks even better when it is muddy — and this is a great excuse to get out of car-washing duty.)
On a practical note, the higher-profile all-terrain tyres also make for a suppler ride; while the higher ground clearance makes getting in and out of the car much easier.
Of course, family safety is always a major concern, and Volvo is legendary for its industry-leading safety features. So it is no surprise that the V90 Cross Country has quite a number of them.
Apart from the usual airbags and such, it has City Safety, which functions like a co-pilot — it improves directional control during descents on steep slopes or slippery surfaces, reduces engine power when the brake and gas pedals are applied simultaneously, and it can even brake autonomously if it senses an imminent impact.
For the dad who has won the S$10 million (RM30.9 million) Hong Bao Draw
There are many four-door cars augmented with powerful engines and beefed-up suspension systems with huge tyres to transform them into performance machines that dads might consider buying as the family ride — the Audi RS 6, BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E 63 come to mind.
But as capable as they are, these cars are really more like workhorses on steroids. On the other hand, if you are going to splurge, then there are few choice buys that can trump the Porsche Panamera, which has the pedigree of a thoroughbred race horse.
Designed to be a four-door, four-seater sports car from the outset, everything about the way this car feels — the driving position, the instrument layout and how it sticks to the road — feels like it has the DNA of the legendary Porsche 911 and the brand’s motorsports know-how infused in every fibre of its being.
But the driver is not the only one who will enjoy this ride. This is a car that is made for road trips and track days, while offering enough room and comfort for all its occupants.
Those in the back can keep themselves entertained with optional rear video displays that can be connected to games consoles or personal computers. For even greater comfort, the long-wheelbase Executive models can be configured with folding tables and drinks chillers.
The only thing now is to make sure that the kids do not mess up the interior too much. — TODAY