When it comes to buying a new car, the sheer number of options can be intimidating. Even if you know that you want a small crossover SUV, nearly every automaker offers one these days, and almost all of them are pretty good. When you don’t have your decision narrowed down to a specific segment, it can be even more overwhelming. That’s a situation that a lot of families find themselves in when they’re looking for a new car. After all, there are all kinds of vehicles out there that tout themselves as great for families, but what does that really mean?
To help buyers out, Kelly Blue Book takes a group of family cars every year and puts them through their paces to come up with a short list, or cheat sheet, of the best bets in the family car game. This list takes into account comfort and driving, safety, cargo space, child seat readiness, rear seat entertainment, and any extra features. So which cars took home the win? Here they are in alphabetical order!
1. Chevrolet Impala
The Impala is a large and comfortable, full-size sedan that provides a huge trunk and plenty of rear seat legroom. You get a well-appointed interior with features and technology to spare that make the Impala nearly a luxury car. Also, it’s the only full-size car that made the list.
2. Chevrolet Tahoe
For families who need all the space a minivan provides but can’t quite take the minivan plunge, the Tahoe is a great full-size SUV. It can seat up to nine people while still having space for luggage. And even though it’s big, it has a very comfortable ride. The Tahoe is also great for families who need more towing capability than you get with a crossover.
3. Ford F-150
For families who want a truck but also need to tow, the F-150 offers the highest towing capacity in its class. It’s been redesigned with a bolder look and modern interior that’s spacious and well thought out. The available 2.7 liter Ecoboost V6 also offers excellent fuel economy for a full-size truck.
4. Honda Accord
Long popular with families, the Accord’s inclusion should come as no surprise. It’s comfortable, fuel efficient, and reliable, but its interior also receives praise for being well thought out and stylish. It might not be a true luxury car, but in top trims, it’s almost there.
5. Honda Civic
For families who are looking for inexpensive but reliable transportation, the Civic is KBB’s pick. It has good fuel economy, and it has a low starting price, but it also includes premium features like a standard backup camera.
6. Honda CR-V
The CR-V’s redesign this year is flattering, but it’s not too wild of a departure from the previous generation. You get all the comfort and reliability of a compact Honda, but with more room than the Civic, more upright seating, and the option of all-wheel drive.
7. Honda Odyssey
The reigning king of practicality, the Honda Odyssey returns to the list this year with all kinds of family features. Beyond flexible seating and plenty of storage, there’s also a vacuum included for cleaning up those inevitable spills. Plus, it’s kind of fun to drive, at least as far as minivans go.
8. Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai makes only one appearance on this list, but it does so in style with its midsize sedan, the Sonata. Completely redesigned for 2015, the Sonata scales back the previous generation’s bold look, but its low starting price, long list of standard features, and a 10-year warranty make it a compelling alternative to the Accord and Camry.
9. Kia Soul
For families on a budget, or buyers looking for a little more style than the typical family car, it’s hard to beat the Kia Soul. Its boxy shape makes it roomier than its small size would suggest, while the back is perfect for car seats.
10. Nissan Pathfinder
Any family looking for a midsize SUV is bound to appreciate the Nissan Pathfinder. It has a spacious interior, a back seat monitoring camera, and third row seating. The Pathfinder is also designed to allow access to the third row with a child seat in place, making it convenient for families with lots of kids.
11. Ram 1500
Lots of families are driving trucks these days, and the Ram 1500 is a great choice. It rides smoothly and comfortably, and the interior offers lots of room. Being a truck, there’s plenty of cargo room, as well as the ability to tow heavy loads.
12. Subaru Outback
When the weather and the roads get rough, it’s hard to beat all-wheel drive, and the Subaru Outback’s system is excellent. It’s styled like a station wagon, but its raised ride height makes it easy to get into, and easy to load down with gear. With a much more refined cabin than in previous versions, it’s hard to top the Outback.
13. Toyota Camry
While the Camry has historically been known mainly for its reliability, it received a redesign this year that gives it a much more attractive, even sporty look. You still get the reliability and comfort that you expect from a Camry, but this time around, it’s a lot more fun to drive, too.
14. Toyota Highlander
While spokesperson Terry Crews does not come with every Highlander purchase, last year’s redesign does give this SUV a more muscular look than before. With seating for eight and lots of storage and technology options, the Highlander makes a great minivan alternative for families.
15. Toyota Sienna
The fact that it’s a minivan makes the Sienna a very practical and accommodating choice. Its flexible seating and rear seat entertainment options serve to make it an excellent pick for families, especially on long trips. The Sienna’s party piece though, is that it’s the only minivan that’s available with all-wheel drive.
Check out Autos Cheat Sheet on Facebook