Top 10 Best Family Cars - The Short List
Got a litter of kiddies and can’t figure out what vehicle to buy? We’ve some recommendations for you!
So, what are the best vehicles for families? Well, that depends on what kind of family you’ve got. There are big families and small ones, fashion-forward families and eco-friendly families. Rather than, like, recommending 10 of the 18 million crossover vehicles available right now, we mixed things up a little by selecting the best vehicles for different kinds of families.
For Everyday Families: Honda Accord
For your typical, everyday family that can live with a four-door car, Honda’s Accord cannot be beat. It’s probably our favorite model in the sedan segment. The Accord has a roomy and high-quality interior, TONS of standard equipment including Honda Sensing, (the automaker’s suite of advanced driver aids) and it also offers a pair of refined turbocharged engines, not to mention a fuel-efficient hybrid model as well. The Accord is safe, efficient and reasonably fun to drive. For a sedan, it just about does everything.
SEE ALSO: 2018 Honda Accord Review – VIDEO
For Fancy Families: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon
But for all its virtues, that Honda is still a mass-market model. Certain families demand more luxury, an extra slathering of prestige. For them, we wholeheartedly endorse the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon. It’s far more versatile than your typical four-door and it seats up to seven (yay jumpseats!) Beyond that, it’s beautifully finished inside and out. Oh, and it even comes with standard all-wheel drive. The entry-level version features a twin-turbocharged V6 that delivers 362 horsepower, but you can also get a super-sporty AMG version with 603 ponies and an advertised zero-to-60 time of 3.4 seconds! Now that’ll haul some groceries!
For Outdoorsy Families: Ram 1500
Of course, certain families eschew life’s finer trappings. They love nothing more than getting down and dirty in the great outdoors. And for these sorts, there’s the new Ram 1500, currently our favorite full-size pickup. Rugged, capable and astonishingly premium across the range, this truck is more versatile than a proverbial Swiss Army Knife, and A LOT less neutral. With a maximum payload of some 2,300 pounds and the ability to tow up to 12,750, this Ram has no trouble hauling four-wheelers, loads of gravel, kayaks, you name it. And of course, it can drag massive campers without breaking a sweat.
SEE ALSO: 2019 Ram 1500 eTorque Review – VIDEO
For Eco-Friendly Families: Hyundai Kona Electric
Families that want to minimize their carbon footprint, driving a big, burly, Hemi-powered truck isn’t going to cut it. For them, we endorse the Hyundai Kona Electric. This vehicle offers all the benefits of a small crossover, like easy maneuverability, decent interior space and energetic styling with zero tailpipe emissions and sprightly performance. The Kona Electric is more than capable of roasting its tires if you get too enthusiastic with the accelerator. A standard 64-kWh lithium-ion battery pack juices a 201-horsepower motor and provides an electric driving range of up to 258 miles. All around, this vehicle is a fine choice.
For Urban Families: Honda Fit
But in some instances, even the little Hyundai Kona might be too much vehicle. An ideal option for families that live in densely packed cities is the Honda Fit. You’d be hard pressed to find a vehicle twice its size that’s more versatile than this little runabout. With a wheelbase measuring under 100 inches and an overall length of around 161, it’s a snap to parallel park, maneuver in underground garages or dart in and out of traffic. A 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine provides up to 130 horsepower, while the second-row Magic Seat flips and folds to transform this subcompact hatch into a tractor-trailer-rivaling hauler.
For BIG Families: Ford Expedition
And at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Honda’s Fit is the Ford Expedition. This massive body-on-frame SUV is ideal for BIG families that love BIG adventures. This is one of the few vehicles on the road today that offers a truly usable third-row seat. In fact, way back there it’s roomy enough for six-foot-tall adults to be comfortable all day long. For EVEN MORE space, you can step up the Expedition MAX, which is about a foot longer overall and offers commensurately more cargo space. No matter the version, you get a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 tuned to deliver 375 horsepower with a walloping 470 pound-feet of torque, all of which gets sent through a 10-speed transmission.
For Fashion-Forward Families: Kia Stinger
Serving fashionable families is the dramatic Kia Stinger. This fastback five-door features sporty styling and an upscale, Audi-esque interior. Add in pleasant driving dynamics with reasonable practicality and you have a vehicle that checks all the right boxes for those that appreciate seeing and being seen. A 2.0-liter turbo-four is standard, delivering 255 horsepower, but if you’re really in a hurry, opt for the silky-smooth 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. It’s rated at 365 ponies. An eight-speed automatic is used to great advantage across the board, though all-wheel drive is offered for an additional $2,200.
For Crossover-y Families: Subaru Ascent
Families that can’t live without a crossover should check out the Subaru Ascent, an excellent all-around choice. With three rows of seats and room for seven or eight passengers, this utility can haul copious quantities of both kiddos and cargo. Naturally, all-wheel drive is standard, as is an invigorating 2.4-liter turbocharged engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Horsepower clocks in at 260, torque 277 pound-feet. Not only is Ascent the largest Subaru ever built, but it’s also one of the best vehicles in its crowded segment. Base price is right around $33,000.
SEE ALSO: 2019 Subaru Ascent Review – VIDEO
For Sensible Families: Ford Transit Connect
One option that’s sure to appeal to families that don’t care about having the fanciest or most-stylish vehicle, is Ford’s Transit Connect Passenger Wagon, our Wild Card pick. This commercial-van-turned people-hauler features a tall and highly versatile interior with seating for up to seven people. The standard engine is a highly efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivering 150 horsepower. It’s matched to a resourceful eight-speed automatic transmission. A 2.5-liter gasser and a one-five turbo-diesel should also be available for extra powertrain choice. Providing added versatility, you can get either a single, top-hinged rear door or barn-style double doors. It’s up to you!
For Road-Tripping Families: Chrysler Pacifica
Rounding things out, our final selection on this top-10 list is the perfect vehicle for road-tripping families, families that love to get out and explore. Hands down, the Chrysler Pacifica one of our favorite minivans. It offers style, a premium interior, plenty of passenger comfort and loads of room for cargo, all in one very versatile package. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that provides 287 horsepower. It’s teamed to a nine-speed automatic transmission. But if maximum efficiency is a top priority, FCA also offers a plug-in hybrid powertrain, one that delivers 32 miles of electric-only range and an efficiency rating of up to 82 MPGe. Comfortable, quiet, smooth and graceful, the Pacifica will happily devour as many interstate miles as you care to feed it.
Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
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