For big families car shopping, SUVs are the new minivans. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a reliable one with tons of standard safety features. However, unlike minivans, SUVs are much more versatile, combining plenty of space with off-roading capabilities while not sacrificing things like technology or quality materials. Additionally, most SUVs are often cheaper to insure than sedans, and some minivans, due to their durability and safety features.
Don’t fret if you are not sure which SUV is the best for you and your family. There are several “best of” lists to help you decide. We looked at a few lists and picked out five of the best spacious SUVs for big families.
The 2020 Honda CR-V
U.S. News named the 2020 Honda CR-V the best compact SUV for the money in 2020, and it also ranks high on the list of most spacious cars and SUVs for families. The CR-V is a two-row SUV that seats five and is one of the roomiest compact SUVs available, with ample head and legroom. It has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear window seats and additional single tethers and anchors. In terms of cargo space, the CR-V has 39.2 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, and if you fold down the rear seats, it opens up 75.8 cubic feet.
The CR-V gets an EPA-estimated 28/34 mpg city/highway rating, with all-wheel drive models getting a 27/32 mpg city/highway rating. It has predicted reliability above average and received top safety ratings from the NHTSA and the IIHS. Standard safety features include automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, road departure warning, and a rearview camera.
The 2021 Kia Telluride
The Telluride was named the best three-row SUV for families by U.S. News, and it also ranks near the top of the list for spacious cars and SUVs for families. This three-row SUV seats between seven and eight passengers, with roomy and well-padded seats. It has three complete sets of LATCH connectors, as well as additional top tether anchors.
There is 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and if you fold down the third and second rows, that opens up to 46 and 87 cubic feet, respectively. The Telluride gets an EPA-estimated 20/26 mpg city/highway rating, with all-wheel drive models getting a 19/24 mpg city/highway rating. Its reliability ranking is slightly above-average and is a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS, with top marks from the NHTSA. Standard safety features include rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and pedestrian detection.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4
U.S. News named the 2021 Toyota RAV4 the best compact SUV for families and is number six overall in the compact SUV class. This spacious SUV has a roomy cabin that seats five, with ample leg and headroom in both rows. There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors and an additional tether anchor. Behind the second row, there is 37.6 cubic feet of space, which increases to 69.8 cubic feet when you fold the second row down.
The RAV4 gets an EPA-estimated 28/35 mpg city/highway rating, some of the highest in the compact SUV class. It has an average reliability ranking and received high safety ratings from both the NHTSA and the IIHS. Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and road sign recognition.
The 2022 Acura MDX
The website Parents named the 2022 MDX the best luxury redesign for three-row SUVs in their list of best family cars for 2021. It seats seven in a completely redesigned interior that is both comfortable and spacious. The second row boasts three complete sets of LATCH connectors, and the third row has a tether anchor for each seat. Behind the third row is 16.3 cubic feet of cargo space, and folding down the third and second rows increases this to 39.1 and 71.4 cubic feet, respectively.
The MDX gets an EPA-estimated 19/26 mpg city/highway rating for front-wheel-drive models, while models with all-wheel drive get a 19/25 mpg city/highway rating. While the 2022 model doesn’t have an official reliability ranking, the MDX has historically received excellent reliability rankings. The IIHS gave the MDX top marks in every safety test. Standard safety features include driver drowsiness monitoring, a rearview camera, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking.
The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder
Another spacious SUV from the Parents list is the 2022 Pathfinder, deemed the best SUV for adventures. This three-row SUV has seats for between seven and eight passengers that are comfortable and provides ample leg and headroom. Depending on the seating configuration, there are three to four complete sets of LATCH connectors. There is 16.6 cubic feet of space behind the third row, and folding down the third and second rows bumps this up to 45 and 80.5 cubic feet, respectively.
The Pathfinder gets an EPA-estimated 21/26 mpg city/highway rating, and all-wheel drive models get a 21/27 mpg city/highway rating. At the time of writing, the 2022 Pathfinder doesn’t have an official reliability or safety ranking, but historically both have been average to above average on past Pathfinder models. Standard safety features include rear cross-traffic alert, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.