Trucks & SUVs

Here’s What to Look for in the Perfect Family SUV

SUVs are some of America’s most popular car body types to buy. That’s because a good SUV can do a lot of things, from daily commuting to having a fun road trip with the family. But, there are many options on the market. Here’s what you should look for when you’re shopping for the perfect family SUV.

Size matters in your SUV

One reason why customers are buying an SUV rather than a sedan is because of its size. Sport utility vehicles are simply larger than sedans are, and as such, most SUVs can carry more passengers, provide more head and legroom, and carry more stuff in the trunk than a sedan can. But not all families are alike, and some families are bigger than others.

That’s why Edmunds says that the first thing to look for in a family SUV is related to its size. It’s up to you to determine what you and your family need in an SUV, and if a model can’t provide that, then you’ll have to look for something else. This should be your starting point because obviously, if an SUV is too small for your family, then you really could’ve bought a cheaper sedan instead. 

Once you’ve figured out how big of an SUV you need, Edmunds says that you should then think about what features in that model are important to you. Is fuel economy important or is its cargo room more important? And what about its price? Every family should have a budget, and if you don’t have a budget for your SUV, then you’ll also need to work on that too.

Less important features to choose from

Chevrolet introduces the new Traverse High Country during a press conference at the 2017 North American International Auto Show
The Chevy Traverse | GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images

While a sport utility vehicle’s fuel economy or cargo room are important things to consider, modern SUVs aren’t empty wagons with just seats inside them. Modern SUVs have so many features that are either standard or available to them. These features all have the same goal, and that’s to create a comfortable and convenient vehicle for you and your family.

However, not all of these features are made equal. Some are more necessary than others. For example, Edmunds says that things such as multiple USB ports and a hands-free powered liftgate are important features for families to have. These features may end up costing you more if they’re not standard, but they should be worth it for most families. 

Once you’ve found an SUV that’s within your budget and has those features, you may have some money left over to add more features to your model. This is why setting a budget is important. At this point, it’s really up to you to pick and choose what additional features you want, so long as it’s within your budget.

But SUV safety should always come first

That said, one area of your SUV that you should not compromise on is safety. Obviously, nobody should buy a car that’s unsafe, but SUVs also offer a lot of features that’ll help make your vehicle even safer. Accidents will always happen, but a well-equipped SUV in terms of safety is an important thing to have to make sure that your family stays as protected as possible. 

Edmunds says that many family vehicles will be pretty safe to begin with, but obviously, you should check how an SUV performed in its crash tests no matter what. That said, there are still plenty of options that you can add to your SUV to make it even safer. It all depends on your budget and how safe you want it to be. 

The safest family SUVs will have plenty of smart safety features as standard, while others may have them as options. Once again, while safety is a top priority, it may ultimately boil down to what you and your family can afford.