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We get it, many families want a big SUV to haul all of their stuff. But not everyone wants a big, tall, heavy and (usually) inefficient vehicle when all you have to do is get to the pickup line at 3:30. While this year’s U.S. News and World Report Best Cars for Families list is weighted heavily in favor of SUVs like the Kia Telluride and the Honda Odyssey minivan, three cars made the list, too. They’re cooler than a minivan, and a lot easier to live with than a giant three-row SUV.

What makes a good family car?

A pair of 2023 Kia K5 GT-Line models pose under an overcast sky.
2023 Kia K5s | Kia

When you’re looking to take the whole fam out, or just to drop off the little ones at school, safety is paramount. All three winners earn the top Safety Pick + rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS. They’re also frugal, and come with a host of driver’s aids, such as automatic braking and adaptive cruise control, and with lockable trunks you can keep toys and whatever else away from prying eyes.

We understand that many families think they need an SUV. But, in truth, most SUVs are decidedly less practical than cars. Cars are more fun to drive, easier to park, just as safe, and get better mileage than a tall, heavy, ponderous SUV.

The 2023 Kia EV6 is the best electric car

The best electric SUVs for seniors include this Kia EV6
A 2023 Kia EV6 | Kia

Some say the 2023 Kia EV6 is an SUV, U.S. News says it’s not just a car, but the best electric car for families. While the styling is daring, inside you get a well-thought-out car that has plenty of storage and cup holders. The driver gets a pair of screens, including a giant 12.0-inch infotainment screen with an easy-to-use interface.

We like that in GT trim you get a 576-horsepower car that can hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. But most 2023 Kia EV6s will probably come equipped with the 310-horsepower two-motor system that has a 232-mile range. An extra pack extends that to 310 miles. The EV6 Wind starts at $50,000 and all-wheel drive is a $3,500 option.

The 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid is the best hybrid car for families

2023 Toyota Camry front corner view
2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

While the big V6 in the TRD and top-level versions of the Toyota Camry make it quite the performer, U.S. News picked the Hybrid version of the Camry as the best hybrid car for families. In top-level trims, you’d be hard pressed to tell an XLE Camry Hybrid from a Lexus inside, too. The 2023 Camry does everything you want a family car to well: it gets great mileage, it drives great, it’s roomy, and every option you can think of is available. Also, because it’s a Camry you know that it will be reliable and it won’t stick out.

The 2023 Camry starts at about $27,000, but the Hybrid drive adds $2,000 to the price, which you could make back in the gas mileage savings alone. While the base Camry gets a stupendous 39 mpg on the highway, the Hybrid beats that with 51 mpg in the city and 52 mpg on the highway.

The Kia K5 is the best midsize car for families

Cabin in 2023 Kia K5, U.S. News best midsize car for the money in 2023, not Toyota Camry
2023 Kia K5 | Kia

Kia launched the K5 as an all-new model in 2021 and it still looks fresh, with a sleek nose and Volvo-like fastback rear end. There may be some cars that do some things better than a K5, but none look as good doing it. Though the base car is basic, stepping up to the $30,000 EX Trim adds a lot of goodies, like a power driver’s seat, leather, wireless charging and available driver’s aids like adaptive cruise control and forward collision warnings.

You can get the K5 with a gutsy 180-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder or a monstrous 290-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder in the GT package. The GT is great at doing a “Fast and Furious” imitation. But, the base car at about $26,500 has most of the features that you want. For $1,600 you can also order all-wheel drive.


Why the 2023 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid Is the Best Camry Trim