Cars With Spill-Friendly Interiors

By Nancy Dunham

Don't you hate that first spill?

In the world of new car horrors, the first milk, chocolate or greasy fast food spilled on the upholstery has to rank up there with the first exterior "ding" a shopping cart, nearby car door, or kid with a bike makes on the exterior. Oh yikes – what to do so you don't have a constant reminder of that incident for the rest of the time you own the car?

New cars sales heated up in February and will likely continue to grow thanks to automakers' and local dealers' incentives, said NADA Chief Economist Paul Taylor who joins other automotive experts who believe sales will continue to increase. The question, of course, is what car to choose to keep it looking new despite your kids food and drink accidents.

No matter what car you choose, a whisk broom – to clear away crumbs and lint, a portable vacuum to clean up extra debris and a cloth dipped in soapy water (or leather cleaner depending on the seats' materials) can make your interior good as new.

Still, though, some interiors are more kid- and user-friendly than others. Consider some of these kid-friendly interiors when you go shopping:

Chevrolet Traverse: This crossover that seats up to eight is an ideal family vehicle in large part because of the seating. Consider that the second row slides easily out of the way makes access to the often –elusive third row. But what really makes this car kid-friendly are the premium cloth faced seats with plastic back material. That means spills can be cleaned without the risk of soaking or ruining the inside (we've all smelled that odd, sour aroma on seats that don't have the plastic).

Hummer: Forget the large, heavy duty H1. It's large size and tough-guy image are fondly remembered by many, but the newer models are more in line with heavy duty SUVs and crossovers. What hasn't changed about Hummers since the large H1 days is the "ready to work" interior. One peak inside at the metal dashboard and heavy duty carpet and you realize you can basically take a hose to the interior and it'll be good as new. Cloth seats are standard but buyers can opt for leather. Either way, the grooves in the seat make cleaning a breeze.

Mercury Mariner: What a great family car. It not only easily seats four adults but has plenty of nooks and crannies to store whatever "stuff" comes along. The attractive interior is easy to keep fresh looking, thanks to the seats which look classic – thanks to leather trim – but are easy to clean because most of the seat is Alcantara, a composite that looks like leather but stays clean like vinyl. Wipe that oops away.

Kia Sportage. This crossover is built for the cost-conscious family. The Sportage not only has plenty of cargo and storage space but gives buyers a host of seat material options including flat-woven cloth seat and trim insert, moquette cloth seats and leather seats. If you think there will be frequent, go for the easy-to-clean flat-woven cloth that almost guarantees crumbs and drips won't hide from your whisk broom. If your kids are older and you're fairly neat, consider leather, which can be cleaned but usually not as easily as cloth. Want the best of both world? The moquette cloth can be easily cleaned with a few taps of a brush. Kia is all about options.