Great two-car combos for families

For many families, one vehicle is simply not enough to handle all of the tasks that the various members will need a car for. That's why many families choose to purchase multiple vehicles, so as to ease the load on the family car.

When a family hits the dealership, they'll have a wide variety of cars for sale to choose from. One thing that buyers want to keep in mind is the concept of pairing their vehicles to accomplish different tasks. If there's already a minivan in the garage, an SUV or crossover might be a bit redundant. Conversely, if dad already has a Ford Mustang, mom won't likely be looking at a Chevrolet Camaro.

MSN Autos recently gave some suggestions for families looking for two vehicles that compliment each other nicely. Most follow the "small car-big car" formula, which should allow drivers the flexibility to haul cargo and kids while also maintaining an everyday vehicle for less-intense tasks.

In terms of an affordable pairing, the news source recommends the Scion tC from Toyota paired with the Kia Sportage from Hyundai. When bought new, these two vehicles retail in the $18,000 range, but those shopping the used car market can likely get the pair for under $30,000 – the price of many upscale vehicles.

The Sportage serves as a great family hauler, with plenty of room for seating and cargo. Meanwhile, the tC is an affordable option for drivers who don't want to sacrifice performance, packing 180 horsepower under a sleek coupe-inspired frame.

Another pairing is titled "The Odd Couple" by the news source. The Mini Cooper from BMW is an extremely fuel-efficient and fun city vehicle that can produce some serious horsepower with the right performance package, but drivers may worry about their ability to handle more than two people. By opting for a Chevrolet Suburban, those fears will be out the window. With seating for up to 9, the Suburban is more than three times the size of a Mini Cooper, according to the news source. An odd couple, indeed.

What about for families that are trying to go green? Purchasing a big family vehicle may seem contradictory to that philosophy, but recent offerings like the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid are smart alternatives to the gas-consuming models of yesteryear. Additionally, purchasing one of these vehicles will allow the family to use a compact electric car, like the new Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf, without worry. Families won't have to stress about battery range if they use the SUV for road trips and the EV as a secondary car for shorter excurisions.

Another thing that families should keep in mind is that it will be significantly easier to purchase two vehicles if they shop used auto dealers. It might be more efficient for a family to purchase two cheap used vehicles rather than an expensive new one.