Sometimes you just need the best multi-purpose vehicles, or cars that do it all. But is there such a thing? And how can you find an all-in-one type of vehicle? Here are three suggestions for our picks for Best Multi-Purpose Vehicles:

  • Ford FlexHow about 7-passenger seating (or 6-passenger seating in more upscale trim), standout looks, adequate power and loads of cargo capacity? Try the 2010 Ford Flex midsize crossover SUV on for size. Sure, it’s going to be a tad different than your neighbor’s ride, but isn’t that part of the attraction? Anyway, Flex is gaining a lot of attention among young families in search of a unique multi-purpose vehicle that won’t break the bank. Standard power plant is a 262-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine. There’s also the optional 355-hp twin turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 – which is a blast to drive. Choose front-wheel drive (FWD) or optional all-wheel drive (AWD). EPA-estimated fuel economy in FWD models is 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway, while AWD models achieve an estimated 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway. There’s also 83.2 cubic feet of storage space. And a truly spacious third row, to boot. Edmunds says, “The 2010 Ford Flex is a thoughtfully designed and cool-looking alternative to minivans and seven-passenger crossover SUVs. We think most families would be well served by its diverse abilities.”
  • Chevrolet EquinoxAnother excellent choice for best multi-purpose vehicles is another midsize crossover SUV, the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox. Redesigned for 2010, Equinox seats five in comfort, comes in FWD or AWD, and features two engines: standard 182-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder or optional 264-hp 3.0-liter V6. Both engines are teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 1,500 pounds in the 4-cylinder Equinox and 3,500 pounds in the V6-powered models. Equinox features the cool Multi-Flex rear seat that can be moved fore and aft a full 8 inches to better accommodate passengers and cargo needs. Consumer Guide comments: “Forget everything you might remember about the first-generation Equinox. This model is better in every way. It boasts quiet powertrains, flexible passenger and cargo accommodations, and value pricing…Chevrolet has done an excellent job of taking Equinox from a segment also-ran to one that earns our Recommended nod.”
  • Subaru OutbackAn affordable full-size wagon rounds out the list of Best Multi-Purpose Vehicles. The 2010 Subaru Outback straddles the best of both SUV and wagon worlds. It offers the SUV’s convenience, with large cargo area, and the drivability of a sedan. Standard AWD makes handling all-weather conditions a breeze. It’s also an extremely safe car, earning a 2010 Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Motor Trend named Outback Sport Utility of the Year, and Popular Mechanics named it Most Versatile Car for 2010. As Motor Trend remarks: “Sharing many structural and mechanical elements with the also-new-for-2010 Legacy sedan, Subaru’s contemporary AWD crossover gets an extra measure of everything that matters to the active-lifestyle buyers it’s seeking: bolder character, enhanced functionality, and improved performance.”

Other potential candidates for Best Multi-Purpose Vehicles, Cars That Do it All include Ford Transit Connect, Honda Fit Sport 5, Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC, Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI, and Volvo XC70.

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