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With wayward french fries and Cheerio crumbs in tow, Subaru’s SUV lineup has become a haven for families on the move. Models like the Ascent and Outback have become family favorites with spacious cabins and reputations for safety. Yet, no Subaru models appeared on a new list of the industry’s best family vehicles. According to U.S. News and World Report, looking elsewhere for family-friendly SUVs is best. 

The Top Family SUVs According to U.S. News and World Report

U.S. News and World Report identified five models as its leaders by size/segment among family SUVs. Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, and Chevrolet made the final list. 

  • Best Two-Row: 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Best Three-Row: 2023 Kia Telluride 
  • Best Compact: 2023 Hyundai Tucson 
  • Best Hybrid: 2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 
  • Best Large SUV: 2023 Chevrolet Suburban 

Subaru’s absence on the list might be a surprise considering the brand’s presence among Kelley Blue Book’s Best Resale Value SUVs of 2023. The Crosstrek, Outback, and Forester all made that top-ten list. 

Does Subaru make family-friendly SUVs?

A silver Subaru Forester drives on a forest road.
2023 Subaru Forester | Subaru of North America, Inc.

Subaru may have missed this narrow list of best family SUVs – but the brand still has some benefits for growing families.

Namely, Subaru SUVs carry strong reputations for safety. IIHS Top Safety Pick+ ratings back those reputations for the Outback, Forester, and Ascent. Furthermore, Subaru’s proprietary EyeSight Driver Assist technology offers a solid active safety package across most of its model lineup. 

Subaru SUVs offer mechanical safety for families as well. Symmetrical all-wheel drive comes standard with every model. The system can shift power among all four wheels to help maximize traction in all conditions. It’s especially well-known for providing excellent snow performance. SUVs like Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Telluride only offer all-wheel drive as an option. 

Does Subaru have a 7-passenger model?

The 2023 Subaru Ascent three-row family SUV drives down a road with trees in the background.
2023 Subaru Ascent | Subaru of North America, Inc.

Cheapest New Subaru SUV Has Outstanding Redesign for 2024

The three-row Ascent is arguably the brand’s most family-friendly SUV. It’s available in seven-passenger and eight-passenger configurations, depending on whether you choose a second-row bench or captain’s chairs. Fold all the seats down, and the Ascent yields more than 85 square feet of cargo space. The Ascent isn’t a minivan, but it gets close. 

Which Subaru SUV is midsize?

The Subaru Outback competes against the Hyundai Santa Fe as a two-row midsize SUV. It doesn’t have three rows like the Ascent but still has plenty of family-friendly characteristics. Originating as a wagon in the 90s, the Outback has grown to SUV size with its higher ground clearance and a larger cabin. Yet its styling still recalls its station wagon roots. 

Why didn’t Subaru make the best family SUVs list?

U.S. News and World Report chose its list of best family SUVs by cross-referencing its safety, reliability, cargo space, and review ratings. According to the publication, it considered dozens of 2023 SUVs for the awards. 

Ultimately, Subaru’s SUVs failed to meet these specific criteria. Falling short of one list doesn’t mean families should not consider Subaru’s SUVs. Choosing the best vehicle for one’s family is a subjective decision, after all.