As anyone with a large family can attest, getting everyone ready to go and in the car on time is a trial in and of itself. With a big family, it’s important to have a vehicle that caters to one’s family’s needs and makes getting from point A to point B as smooth and painless as possible. Whether it’s a group trip to the movies or a family vacation, it’s vital that time spent in the car together is stress-free and relaxing.
A lot of qualities play into designing the perfect family vehicle: interior space, cargo capacity, safety, comfort, durability, and versatility, to name a few. Just as a family grows and evolves, one’s car should do the same over the years to fit the changing needs of those that matter the most. Taking all of these factors into consideration, here’s a thoughtful list of the thirty best family vehicles available for the 2016/2017 year model.
1. Honda Odyssey
While minivans are often looked down upon as being the transport of fuddy-duddy, “uncool” parents, there’s little that can rival these vehicles in space and comfort. The Odyssey seats up to eight comfortably and affords the driver great maneuverability for such a large vehicle. Some trims even come with a built-in vacuum cleaner, which is a really nice feature for cleaning up the inevitable cracker crumbs and snack wrappers.
2. Nissan Rogue
This vehicle is big on value. One would be hard-pressed to find a comparable family vehicle for such a low price. The Rogue also boasts an efficient four-cylinder engine that gets 28 mpg, and a comfortable, easy ride. This is the perfect in-between step for families who have expanded past a two-row SUV but aren’t ready for a full-size version yet.
3. Acura MDX
The MDX seats up to seven passengers in its three rows of seats, but Mom and Dad will get the real royal treatment. This family vehicle offers features such as tri-zone automatic air conditioning and heated leather seats for those in the front seats. However, the kids weren’t forgotten. The third row is easily accessible, even for little hands, and there’s an optional rear entertainment system that offers a widescreen 16.2-inch display.
4. Buick Enclave
The Enclave is a real workhorse family vehicle. It offers an impressive 23.3 cubic feet of storage, and that’s with all three rows of seats still up. It can be purchased as either front- or all-wheel drive. The V-6 engine produces 288 horsepower, allowing the Enclave to tow up to 4,500 pounds. It’s not all work and no play, though—luxuries like heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel are available.
5. Chevrolet Traverse
This is the most affordable full-size SUV from GM. It can easily seat up to eight and also includes a big cargo area. For the value-conscious consumer, a base LS trim is available, or for those who want to splurge, the LTZ model is available. It comes with leather upholstery, navigation, heated and cooled front seats, and remote start. Any trim comes with a V-6 engine and can be customized with either front- or all-wheel drive.
6. Ford Expedition
The Expedition doesn’t just LOOK big: it IS big! This vehicle doesn’t try to fool consumers by a hulking exterior hiding a relatively cramped interior. The spaciousness of the cabin matches the footprint of the SUV. All three rows of seats offer plenty of legroom and comfort, perfect for growing families. Performance is also highly rated, with a turbocharged V-6 engine and a comfortable ride that’s sure to impress.
7. Ford Expedition EL
One problem that large families often face is that they need all three rows of seats to accommodate their passengers, but they also need the extra room in the cargo area that would be provided by folding down the third row. The Expedition EL addresses this issue. There’s actually 42.6 cubic feet of space behind the third row, which is more than twice the amount of cargo area as most regular SUVs. This model still handles well, like its regular-length brother, and it still seats eight comfortably.
8. Ford Flex
If a minivan or an SUV isn’t ideal, consider the Ford Flex. The design is unique and eye-catching, and the carlike height is more comfortable for many people to climb into. Three rows of seats offer room for up to seven, with the second row being especially roomy. The base V-6 is sufficient for most families, but to turn it up a notch, go for the twin-turbo version that cranks out 365 horsepower.
9. GMC Acadia
The Acadia can seat eight in its three rows, and the cargo area is large at 24.1 cubic feet. The standard engine is a V-6 that produces 281 horsepower, but there’s an available Denali trim with heated and cooled front seats, two-panel panoramic moonroof, perforated leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, and 288 horsepower V-6. For families who like to camp out, the Acadia can haul up to 5,200 pounds, so it’s fully capable of pulling a trailer.
10. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Most of the time, a big vehicle and fuel efficiency don’t go hand in hand. The Highlander Hybrid is the exception, getting about 28 mpg in either city or highway driving. There’s no sacrifice to make here—the driver still gets three rows of seats, lots of cargo space, and a great all-wheel drive, comfortable ride. Selecting the Limited trim adds power liftgate, tri-zone automatic air conditioning, navigation, power moonroof, leather upholstery, and active safety features.
11. Nissan Pathfinder
This vehicle continues to be a family favorite because of its all-around excellence. It consistently provides new features for families to enjoy, the newest of which is the Around View Monitor. This allows the driver a view of where the vehicle is in relation to other vehicles and fixed obstacles, making navigating crowded streets and parking lots as easy as pie.
12. Honda Pilot
The Pilot is the most family-friendly midsize SUV out there. The third row is spacious and easy to get to, since the second row easily moves forward with the press of a button. The second row also slides, so leg room or cargo room can be adjusted. A cargo well in the back adds more space and can keep contents from spilling out when the liftgate is open, or it can be covered if it’s not in use.
13. Chevrolet Tahoe
For the true adventurers out there, consider the Chevrolet Tahoe. This vehicle was made for hauling and off-road family fun. Space and comfort aren’t sacrificed at all in this truck-styled SUV. A recent redesign gave the Tahoe a fresh new look and threw in some high-end materials and features. The Tahoe is one of the best-selling full-size SUVs on the road today.
14. Kia Sedona
The new 2016 Sedona offers a host of new features that its predecessors didn’t, which may make it more attractive to those who’ve disregarded it before. Some of these selling points include adaptive cruise control, around-view camera, and lane-keeping assist. The Sedona also has the capability to seat eight, a stylish exterior design, and great driving dynamics.
15. Toyota Sienna
The Sienna has a well-deserved history of being a great family vehicle. It has received a Best Family Car award from Kelley Blue Book for three years running. New additions to the vehicle include a Connected Navigation Scout GPS App Link for its Entune Audio Plus package, a redesigned multimedia system, and Siri Eyes Free support. This is also the only minivan that offers all-wheel drive.
16. Hyundai Santa Fe
The new 2017 model has three rows of seats and a laundry list of features that come standard. A 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty comes with the purchase, one of the longest in the class. The engine is a 3.3-liter V-6 that produces 290-horsepower to lend plenty of power to transport people or cargo. For such a large vehicle, the handling is also sharp and accurate.
17. Dodge Durango
Another truck-based SUV, the Durango boasts the features and comfort of a luxury sedan. Handling is agile and the ride is smooth. The V-6 engine cranks out 295 horsepower and has lots of get-up-and-go on the open highway. There’s an available RT trim that comes with a V-8 instead. All models have seating for seven and available all-wheel drive.
18. BMW X5
This one if for those who are looking for a performance vehicle. The base model has a 300-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine that will have the passengers skimming over the pavement with ease. While the base model only seats five, there is an available seven-seat option. Luxury materials such as wood and leather adorn, and the front seats are an oasis of comfort. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic moonroof, nine-speaker audio system, and a 10.2-inch display.
19. Land Rover Range Rover Sport
The optional third-row seat for this vehicle gets the total passenger count to seven, and it’s one of the best-performing SUVs on this list. It’s the best off-road SUV, for those wanting to get a little closer to nature. There are three available engines to choose from: base V-6, turbodiesel V-6, and a supercharged V-8 that pumps out 510 horsepower and gets from zero to sixty in 4.5 seconds.
20. Volvo XC90
The XC90 has really been stepped up for 2016, with more interior space and a new, luxurious cabin. There are three rows of seats and an intuitive infotainment system. Leather upholstery, ten-speaker audio system, ten-way power front seats, nine-inch touch screen, push button start, and lane departure warning all come standard. The XC90 also has a whopping 85.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row of seats and 15.4 cubic feet behind the third.
21. Chevrolet Impala
Ranked as the Best Large Car for Families, this sedan might not have all the space of an SUV, but at a cheaper price point, it is the perfect solution for some families. The Impala offers a roomy back seat and features such as in-car Wi-Fi and Apple Car Play for those long road trips. This large sedan is great value for the money.
22. Mercedes-Benz GLC
While this is a compact SUV, it’s still a great family vehicle. It scored high in tests to determine reliability and safety. It also comes with a lot of features, both standard and optional, that include dual USB ports, rearview camera, collision prevention assist, and a smartphone app that allows the owner to start the care remotely.
23. Kia Soul
Not the largest vehicle on the list, but the Kia Soul was named the Best Hatchback for Families and the Best Compact Car for Families. The design of this vehicle is fresh and invigorating, and the compact exterior hides a rather roomy interior. There’s also a smartphone app for the Soul that allows owners to start the vehicle remotely and track it when it’s in use…perhaps when the teenager of the house takes it out on a date?
24. Honda CR-V
When it comes to reliability and safety, the CR-V can’t be beat. It was named Best Compact SUV for Families, and for good reason. Optional features such as blind spot camera, forward collision warning, and a collision mitigation system that will automatically stop the car if an obstacle is detected make this Honda one of the safest cars on the road.
25. Audi A7
Another car that made the list, the A7 is the Best Luxury Large Car for Families. This is a stylish option that will set the driver apart from the typical soccer mom. Luxury features include front and rear parking sensors, quad-zone climate control, and an MMI infotainment system.
26. Nissan Murano
While this SUV only had two rows of seats, it scored particularly well in safety tests. It also has an impressive interior, very comfortable seats, and easy-to-use technology. One of the handiest features is a standard proximity key that allows the driver to balance whatever he’s carrying and still unlock the doors with no problem.
27. Honda HR-V
Named the Best Subcompact SUV for Families, the Honda HR-V can accommodate two rear-facing car seats easily. It comes standard with a USB port, Bluetooth, and a backup camera. The interior is also easily redesigned or rearranged to allow families the space they need for their purposes.
28. Cadillac Escalade
The epitome of class, the Cadillac Escalade was named Best Luxury Large SUV for Families. The outside is striking and beautiful, while the inside has features such as Apple Car Play and Android Auto smartphone integration, in-car Wi-Fi, and tri-zone climate control.
29. GMC Yukon
The Yukon includes a host of family-friendly options. To name a few, there’s Apple Car Play, a rear-seat entertainment system, Wi-Fi, a hands-free liftgate, and proximity key. Safety is also a big component of the vehicle, and is emphasized in its forward collision warning, rearview camera, and lane keeping assist. The Yukon can seat up to nine, making it one of the largest SUVs on the market.
30. Subaru Outback
Finally, a wagon. To be precise, the Best Wagon for Families, according to KBB. The Outback comes standard with all-wheel drive and a lot of active safety features, such as a system to warn the driver of a crash and minimize the impact from that crash. Subaru stays up-to-date by offering USB ports and smartphone app integration.