People are sheltering in place across the country because of COVID-19. But Matt Schmitz notes that many of those people are making a brief escape from their homes and hitting the roads.
“Our research shows that people just need a break from the daily monotony, and cars are serving as a safe, personal retreat for families,” said Schmitz, who is assistant managing editor for news for Cars.com.
Schmitz continued, “We are even seeing a resurgence in an American pastime: The family Sunday drive.”
New Cars.com research has resulted in insights to understand how American drivers are using their cars. The company even suggested several vehicles as top choices for getting out of the house based on ride comfort, visibility and spacious interior: the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas, 2020 Hyundai Palisade, 2020 Subaru Outback, and the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica.
The company said just about everyone is experiencing new challenges, and research shows that people’s cars represent safety, freedom, and even escape.
As Schmitz noted, Cars.com research shows the return of the family Sunday drive is one top trend since the COVID-19 outbreak. As an activity to get out of the house, nearly 60% of parents and 45% of non-parents have resurrected the leisurely Sunday drive.
Cars.com fielded its survey on April 9 to 20. Of the 990 responses, 536 were parents/caregivers, and 454 were non-parents.
Another trend from the survey: Parents are hiding from their kids.
Fifty-three percent of parents admitted they used their cars as an opportunity to escape from their homes and children.
Top trend No. 3: The car is the new office.
Many people are adjusting to a work-from-home lifestyle, and more than one out of four Americans say they are using their cars as a makeshift office. That is especially the case for parents.
Cars.com says digital engagement remains strong for car shopping. Cars.com internal data says consumers are taking advantage of the Cars.com new Virtual Appointment and Local Home Delivery badges on more than 1.5 million vehicles on its site.
The new badges show that local dealers across the country are meeting shoppers where they are and ensuring safe digital car sales.
Cars.com provided more detail on its recommendations of the Atlas, Palisade, Outback, and Pacifica as top choices for getting out of the house. The company made its recommendations based on ride comfort, visibility and spacious interior.
The company says the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas, with an MSRP of $31,545 to $49,195, was its 2020 Family Car of the Year. The vehicle offers “a spacious interior and a comfortable, quiet ride,” according to Cars.com.
With the Atlas’ roomy third-row, even adults have enough space to enjoy the ride.
The Atlas’ bench-style second row easily allows three child seats to fit across, Cars.com said, adding that a moonroof option is available.
Cars.com offered additional insight on the 2020 Atlas on its website, saying the vehicle will meet the needs of people driving frequently with six or seven people, or who need a lot of cargo space.
“It may not have the flashiest looks or be the most fun to drive, but it has more utility than many competitors,” Cars.com wrote.
Moving on to the 2020 Hyundai Palisade, which is the Cars.com 2020 Car of the Year, the company notes that depending on its roomy second- and third-row seating configuration, it carries seven to eight people comfortably. The vehicle’s MSRP is $31,775 to $46,625.
With the Palisade’s luxury-grade interior, riders experience a relaxing, quiet ride.
“Large side windows and an optional moonroof are great for a lively game of I Spy or car bingo,” Cars.com said about the Palisade.
Cars.com offered additional praise for the 2020 Subaru Outback, noting that because of its quiet, spacious interior, excellent visibility and affordable pricing, the Outback has a “loyal following for adventure-seeking families.”
The Outback, with an MSRP of $26,645 to $39,695, offers comfortable seats in the front and back for a family of five, and Cars.com says the “popular wagon” features plenty of legroom and a back seat that sits slightly raised. That provides stadium-style seating to help passengers see out the front windshield.
Moving on to the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica, Cars.com said that because of its roomy interior, optional captain’s chairs or bench seating in select models, and quiet, comfortable ride, the vehicle is popular among minivan fans.
The Pacifica, with an MSRP of $34,045-$44,795, seats seven to eight people. Cars.com said that because of its more-than-adequate legroom and storage, it’s a perfect fit for busy families.
“The rear-seat Uconnect Theater system and optional panoramic moonroof offer all riders an escape,” Cars.com said.