Did you want to take a family vacation to Las Vegas? Or do you want to travel to Florida, relax on the beach, and log onto Grande Vegas online casino USA for some relaxing gaming? Whichever destination you decide to go to, you are going to need a safe and reliable family car.

There are several different categories of cars that can fit a family of 6 or more people.

Station Wagon

In terms of seating, a station wagon has a 3rd row of rear-facing seats. From when they first came onto the market in 1910 until they were removed from the market in 2005. Rear-facing seats were considered a death trap, especially for the young children who usually were sitting in them. Plus, the SUV had taken over as the new family car.

Van

A van can have a wide variety of sitting options.

Ford Transit Connect

This is a standard van that seats up to 7 people.

Ford Transit

This one can seat 15 people. But the interesting thing about this car is that the seats can be set into different configurations. So you can sit a family of 6, while at the same time, still have room for the “stuff” that the family of 6 is going to take on vacation.

This van is also classified as a commercial vehicle because all of the seats are removable. So this van can be used for your business during the week, and a family van on the weekends.

Crossover

This vehicle is built on the frame of a passenger car, specifically the old station wagons. As station wagons were being phased out, car manufacturers simply changed the upper body of the car to look more like a van. The end result was a 6+ person passenger vehicle that was smaller than a traditional van.

Ford Flex

Seats 7 people. Built on the frame of the old Ford Taurus station wagon, but with some updates. The Ford Flex has a more boxy look than the Ford Explorer.

Ford Explorer

Seats 7 people. Starting in 2011, the Ford Explorer became a crossover vehicle when it started to be built upon the Ford Taurus platform instead of a truck platform. The Ford Explorer looks more like what the old Ford Taurus crossover vehicle looked like.

Minivans

Ford Expedition

Seats 8 people. This vehicle is built on the frame of a truck. It is larger than the crossover vehicles, hence the additional seat. Two in the front row, 3 in the second row, and 3 in the third row. You can get bucket seats in the second row, but that will reduce your seating to 7 people.

Which car should you buy if you are a petite woman?

I can only comment on what goes through my mind. I am a petite woman with a height of 4 feet 10 inches with short legs and arms.

It has been 10 years since I last brought a car, so I decided to do a bit of research on the changes that have taken place over the past 10 years. The research that I found is actually quite disturbing.

According to the United States National Center for Health Statistics, the average height for a woman is 5 feet 4 inches. For a man, the average height is 5 feet 9 inches.

A petite woman is defined as 5 feet 4 inches or under. 40% of women are 5 feet 3 inches or shorter. 25% is 5 feet 1 inch or shorter. 3% of women is 4 feet and 11 inches. 1.7% of the female population is 4 feet 10 inches. So I am part of the 1.7% of the female population – “lucky” me.

Car manufacturers have two major crash dummies. The average male dummy is 5 feet 9 inches. The petite female dummy is 4 feet 11 inches, which is slightly taller than even I am. But the disturbing fact is that a female dummy was not used in official crash test results until 2003. The only reason why a woman dummy of this height was included was due to issues with airbags and short women. Earlier versions of airbags injured or killed some smaller women and children.

So women were finally put into crash tests as a passenger, not in terms of car design.

Although women, specifically short women, are included in the 20 mph head-on tests as the driver, they are generally NOT included in the 38.5 mph head-on tests as the driver. They are only included as the passenger. The excuse given was “because men drive more and die in greater numbers than female drivers.” But for certain classes of vehicles, for example, minivans, women tend to drive these vehicles more.

“It’s more difficult to protect smaller drivers because they sit closer to the gas and brake pedals. Smaller drivers also sit more upright to see over the dashboard,” consumer advocates and biomechanics experts say.

This can bring a short woman’s head and chest closer to the steering wheel and its airbag. The angle of their knees and hips as their shorter legs reach for the pedals also makes their legs more vulnerable.

The result is that when a woman is involved in a car crash she is 47% more likely to be seriously injured, and 71% more likely to be moderately injured, even when researchers control for factors such as height, weight, seatbelt usage, and crash intensity. She is also 17% more likely to die!

This all has to do with how a car was designed. If the driver’s seat was designed for a 5 feet 9-inch male, trying to fit a 4 feet 10-inch woman into that same seat is going to have issues.

When I last test drove cars, Ford was the only company whose car I could actually fit into. See over the steering wheel, reach the gas and brake pedal, etc.

Of the Ford minivan type cars I tested, I was deciding between the Ford Explorer (which at that time was built upon a truck frame) and the Ford Taurus Crossover (which at the time was built upon the frame of the Ford Taurus Station Wagon).

As strange as it sounds, I am more cramped in the Ford Explorer than the Ford Taurus. When I asked the salesperson about this, he told me it was because the Ford Explorer was built upon a truck frame, so that took away some of the interior areas where the driver sat. This may not be noticeable when a person is of “average” height, but it was definitely noticeable when the seat was raised to its highest height.

The Ford Taurus Crossover did not have this problem, because the Ford Taurus was built upon the station wagon frame.

But times have changed and names have changed. The Ford Taurus not longer exists. Now the Ford Explorer is the Ford car that is built upon the original station wagon frame.

The Ford Expedition is the one that is built on the truck frame.

Summary

The Ford Explorer would be the top car on my test-drive list. With the Ford Flex being number two. A crossover vehicle built on the frame of a passenger car is the only category of cars that I would consider as a very petite female driver. Moral of the story? Test drive a car before buying – be sure the car “fits” you as it should to be a comfortable and safe drive.