The phrase "family friendly" is often looked down on, especially when applied to automobiles. That's a shame, and just plain misguided. Just because you buy a roomier, more versatile vehicle to accommodate the little ones doesn't mean that you've forsaken all of your hopes, dreams and desires to rip through the twisties. In fact, if you put some serious thought into purchasing the right pair of vehicles for your family, you can look like the coolest cat on the block as well as the most practical parent around. The following automotive one-two punches illustrate combinations that get the job done yet are fun to drive.

Bing: Two-car families

Cheap Thrills

Click to enlarge pictureScion tC / Kia Sportage (© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A./Kia Motors America, Inc)

Scion tC / Kia Sportage

Scion tC and Kia Sportage
Here are two sporty propositions that start in the $18,000 range. Both are all-new for 2011, both boast spirited driving characteristics, and both can accommodate the family in a squeeze. The Kia Sportage is the main family hauler. This sport cross is a blast, with its 176 horsepower, its relatively low ground clearance and its available 18-inch wheels, all of which translate into more agility in tight quarters. The Scion tC is a tighter fit for your brood, but the payoff is a sporty coupe that delivers nimble handling, a responsive 180-horsepower powerplant and plenty of excitement.

Read: First Drive Articles of the 2011 Kia Sportage and the 2011 Scion tC

Practically Posh

Click to enlarge pictureInfiniti FX50 / Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG (© Nissan North America / Mercedes-Benz USA)

Infiniti FX50 / Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and Infiniti FX50
This combination is more upper-class, with a dash of Euro chic thrown in for good measure. AMG is Mercedes-Benz's performance division, so the $58,200 C63 AMG gets a hand-built 6.3-liter 451-horsepower V8 engine, hot suspension, big brakes and more. The $59,000 Infiniti FX50 is one of the wildest rides on this list. Its 390-horsepower V8 engine and 20-inch rims are impressive, but not as much as its 7-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox's innovative Adaptive Shift Control delivers quick upshifts and rev-matching downshifts, opening the floodgates to an invigorating drive.

View Slideshow:  Ride Like Royalty for Less

Fast and Furious

Click to enlarge pictureNissan GT-R / Porsche Cayenne Turbo (© Nissan North America / Porsche Cars North America)

Nissan GT-R / Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Nissan GT-R and Porsche Cayenne Turbo
The supercar family will really get their kicks with this combined 985 horsepower at the ready. No doubt the Nissan GT-R will cramp your family style, but it's so much fun to drive. In supercar terms, it is a bargain at $84,060. The all-wheel-drive coupe sports a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine pumping out 485 horsepower. The more family-friendly $99,900 Cayenne Turbo is the more powerful of this duo. It flexes a 4.8-liter 500-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine that can propel you and the little ones from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

Read:  2011 Porsche Cayenne — First Drive

The Odd Couple

Click to enlarge pictureChevrolet Suburban / MINI Cooper S (© General Motors / BMW North America)

Chevrolet Suburban / MINI Cooper S

MINI Cooper S and Chevy Suburban
This big-car/small-car combination makes for some interesting visuals. The $40,925 Suburban seats up to nine and can tow 8,100 pounds — the equivalent of three MINI Cooper Hardtops with a few pounds to spare. On the flip side, the burly 'Burban is offset by the roller-skate antics of the MINI Cooper S. The turbocharged S model, $23,300, gets a 9-horsepower bump for 2011, pushing output to 181 horsepower. Its refined chassis, sporty suspension and outstanding road feel will make the Coop the go-to player in this family.

Read:  Small on the Outside, Big on the Inside

Rough Riders

Click to enlarge pictureJeep Wrangler / Subaru Impreza WRX STI (© Chrysler Group LLC/Subaru of America)

Jeep Wrangler / Subaru Impreza WRX STI

Subaru WRX STI and Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
This combo teams a dirt-loving rally-inspired car with an iconic off-road ramblin' truck. The line-topping Rubicon, at $28,775, is more ruggedly outfitted than typical Wranglers, and features Jeep's high-end Rock-Trac 4-wheel-drive system, Tru-Lok electronic locking differentials, beefier Dana 44 axles and more aggressive off-road tires. Power comes from a 3.8-liter 202-horsepower V6 engine. The Subaru WRX STI, $33,995, is more of an adrenaline pump, with 305 turbo-infused horsepower and an adept all-wheel-drive system that's ready to tame either trail or tarmac.

View Pictures:  2011 Subaru WRX & WRX STI