Ten of the Best Cars for Dads

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Best Cars for Dads

Dad with car
Getty Images

What makes a car good for dad? Practicality? Big trunk and back seat? Yeah, whatever. Sure, we dads want all that -- but more importantly, it's got to be cool and it's got to be fun to drive. Here, presented in alphabetical order, are ten cars that I find particularly well suited to the demands of fatherhood.

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Audi RS7

2014 Audi RS7 front view
Audi RS7. Photo © Aaron Gold

It is a good thing that Audi is right at the beginning of the alphabet, because the RS7 may well be the ultimate car for dad. Outback, it has an enormous tailgate that opens up to reveal 24-plus cubic feet of cargo space, perfect for school projects, band instruments, and other bulky items. And up front, it has a 560 horsepower twin-turbo V8 to get those items where they are going in record freakin' time. 0-60 in 3.7 seconds, top speed of 190 MPH, and an exhaust note that will make your nerve ends dance -- all things that a modern-day dad needs to parent effectively.

Read review: Audi RS7

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Chevrolet Impala

2014 Chevrolet Impala front view
Chevrolet Impala. Photo © General Motors

When I was a kid in the 1970s, the Impala was one of the go-to cars for dads. Now here we are, forty years later, and the new-generation Impala is still a great choice. Like the Heavy Chevys of yore, the new one is a big, handsome, American-made car with plenty of stretch-out space and room for kids and luggage. But unlike the Impalas made when I was a kid, the new ones are packed with modern technology that makes driving easier, more comfortable, and more fuel-efficient, perfect for a modern-day dad.

Read review: Chevrolet Impala

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Dodge Charger

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat front view
2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Photo © Aaron Gold

This is a car that has "father" written all over it: A big car with lots of stretch-out room and styling that says "Look out, kids, dad is comin' through!" There's a practical side to the Charger: With its big back seat and cavernous trunk, it'll haul kids and gear almost as well as Mom's SUV. All the Chargers are good, but the V8-powered R/T is the one Dad will want... unless he catches sight of the 707 hp Charger Hellcat, which is one of the most powerful sedans you can buy. If the Charger is too far over the top for your dad, check out the Chrysler 300, a more luxurious (and subtle) iteration of the same car.

Read review: Dodge Charger

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Ford Fiesta ST

2014 Ford Fiesta ST front view
Ford Fiesta ST. Photo © Ford

Most fathers played with toy cars when they were kids, and for many of us, the fascination hasn't gone away. Think of the Fiesta ST as a toy car for adults: It's small, fast, and fun to play with for hours on end. It's also relatively affordable, so it makes a perfect weekend toy. And with four seats and four doors, Dad can even use it to take the kids to school. (Provided they wipe their feet before getting in, that is.)

Read review: Ford Fiesta ST

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Honda Civic Si

Honda Civic Si sedan
Honda Civic Si sedan. Photo © Honda

After sixteen years of parenthood, I still haven't lost my appetite for mischief -- and that's why I love the Civic Si. The souped-up Civic has a hot-to-trot 201 horsepower engine that loves to be thrashed to the redline, and a 6-speed manual transmission so Dad can do just that. The Si two-door coupe is a great way to deal with a mid-life crisis, but the Si can also be had as a practical (and subtly-styled) 4-door sedan, making it the perfect way for Dad to set a bad example for his children.

Read review: Honda Civic Si

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Hyundai Genesis

2015 Hyundai Genesis front view
Hyundai Genesis. Photo © Hyundai

A big, quiet, high-end luxury car is a great reward for years of parenting -- but not everyone is in the position to shell out $80,000 or more for a Mercedes or an Audi. The Genesis delivers the same space and amenities, but without the fancy brand name -- and it does it for about half the price. Big, quiet, comfortable, and loaded with technology, the Hyundai Genesis is a great way to show your appreciation without breaking the household budget.

Read review: Hyundai Genesis

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Lotus Evora

Lotus Evora S
Lotus Evora S. Photo © Lotus

If your dad is a car nut, chances are he's dreamed of having an exotic car in his driveway -- and with the Lotus Evora, that's a real possibility. The Evora is a true exotic: The styling looks like it belongs on a poster with Samantha Fox, the interior feels like it was assembled in someone's basement, and the handling on a curvy road is nothing short of electrifying. What makes it accessible is the reliable Toyota powertrain and the $65k price tag.

Read reviews: Lotus Evora, Lotus Evora S

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Mazda5

2014 Mazda5 front view
Mazda5. Photo © Mazda

Women may have spurned minivans for their mommy mobile image, but a lot of the dads I know (myself included) love them -- we take pride in our families, and besides, a car with three rows of seats is a sign of virility. The Mazda5 is the smallest and sportiest of the vans, with seats for six and a uniquely car-like driving experience that makes it great fun on a curvy road -- and for dads who love cars, the Mazda5 can even be had with a manual transmission.

Read review: Mazda5

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Porsche 911

Porsche 911 Carrera
Porsche 911 Carrera. Photo © Aaron Gold

I admit it -- I used to look down on 911 drivers as a bunch of leather-backed-glove-wearing egomaniacs. But then Porsche arranged for me to spend some quality time with a 911, and I saw the light. The 911 really is something special. It turns every trip, even the quickest, most mundane run to the corner store, into a drive. Yes, the 911 is expensive -- really, really expensive -- but I can think of few better rewards for the trials and tribulations of fatherhood. It even accommodates two small children in the back seat -- and that's all the practicality we need, right, fellow dads?

Read review: Porsche 911 Carrera

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Volkswagen Jetta GLI

2015 Volkswagen Golf R
2015 Volkswagen Golf R. Photo © Volkswagen

Most Volkswagens are good fun to drive, but the Golf R is the best they offer, with a lightning-quick turbocharged engine and an aggressive chassis that refuses to give up its grip on the pavement, no matter how hard you fling it into the corners. It's also an exceptionally practical Dad-mobile because it's based on the Golf, which, though not exceptionally popular here in the States, is the best-loved choice of dads throughout Europe thanks to its relatively roomy back seat and trunk.

Read review: Volkswagen Golf R