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Families want SUVs that provide spacious accommodations, advanced safety features, a comfortable ride, and overall value. For 2023, U.S. News highlights two Hyundai SUVs — the Santa Fe and Tucson — in its “Best Cars for Families.” Let’s review the criteria for this best-of list and the Hyundai vehicles that please families the most.

How does U.S. News choose the ‘Best Cars for Families’ winners?

Hyundai SUVs: 2023 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid compact SUV
The 2023 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid | Hyundai

Because families are the primary users of SUVs, U.S. News caters to those buyers when determining which models to include in the annual “Best Cars for Families.” In addition to considering features and interior dimensions, reviewers also evaluate which models are the most reliable. Each winner also has excellent crash test scores and high praise from automotive experts.

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe boasts plenty of room

The Hyundai Santa Fe midsize SUV is also one of U.S. News’ “Best Cars for the Money.” The 2023 model starts at $28,450 and packs a 191-hp four-cylinder engine. Reviews mention the optional 281-hp turbo-four is faster, but you’ll lose the smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic for a dual-clutch setup.

The suspension also reportedly struggles to absorb some bumps, but critics were satisfied with this Hyundai SUV’s handling overall. Because the Santa Fe doesn’t have a third row, it has more rear legroom than most midsize rivals. Backseat riders can also recline their seats, and this row has standard heating starting on the Limited trim.

Even with almost 42 inches of rear passenger legroom, the 2023 Santa Fe provides over 36 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. However, its maximum cargo capacity is only 72 cubic feet. In comparison, the three-row Kia Telluride provides 15 more cubic feet.

Most critics found the 2023 Santa Fe’s infotainment interface user-friendly, and its wireless smartphone pairing is a big plus. However, Consumer Reports didn’t like the placement of the 8.0-inch touchscreen and mentioned it has some repetitive functions. 

As for safety, the Santa Fe has every rider covered with a vast suite that includes several crash mitigation features. It also earned mostly “good” crash test scores from the IIHS and an overall five-star rating from the NHTSA. However, its J.D. Power predicted reliability score is just average.

What about the 2023 Hyundai Tucson?

Despite being a compact SUV, the 2023 Tucson still provides a pleasant interior and ample accommodations for five riders. It has nearly as much legroom as the Santa Fe and even more cargo space than its larger sibling. The cargo area behind the second row is a generous 36 cubic feet. With those seats folded down, the interior provides 75 cubic feet.

The standard 2023 Hyundai Tucson has wired smartphone integration, but higher trims, such as the Limited, have a wireless charging pad and a 10.2-inch touchscreen. However, many reviewers don’t like this setup because it removes the physical audio and climate controls. 

Though it doesn’t have as many standard driver’s aids as the Santa Fe, every Tucson trim has forward automatic emergency braking with collision warning. It also has a perfect overall NHTSA score.

However, like its larger sibling, the Tucson received only an average J.D. Power predicted reliability score. But most critics still agree it has a satisfying ride quality despite some complaints related to acceleration.

According to U.S. News, the 2023 Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe aren’t the only stars this year. The Kia Telluride is the most family-friendly three-row SUV, while the Chevy Suburban is the best large SUV for families. U.S. News also gave nods to the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Even a few sedans, notably the Kia K5 and Toyota Camry Hybrid, are excellent cars for smaller families.