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Published August 22, 2022
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Some of us looking for a car for our family now may remember a particular family car from the days of our childhood – a station wagon complete with woodgrain paneling along the sides. It certainly wasn’t cool, but it got you to and from school, hauled groceries and fit everyone in for the yearly family vacation.
These days, you have lots of (cooler) options when it comes to what kind of vehicle will serve as your family shuttle. We’ll take a look at what makes a great family car and give you a list of models to consider.
Probably the first thing that comes to when looking for a great family car is size. Do you need the cargo area and seating for up to eight or nine passengers that a 3-row SUV can offer, or will a roomy sedan with a large trunk be suited to your needs? It’s also good to consider interior storage options – cubbies and areas where every member of the family can store their stuff.
What about engine performance and efficiency? Does the family car you’re considering get good gas mileage for running errands and the school run? Is it peppy enough to change lanes and accelerate on the highway for the morning commute? Will it tow your boat or camper for loads of family vacation memories?
Think about tech features as well. Is the infotainment system easy to use? Are there outlets in the vehicle so kids or adults can charge their devices? What safety features does the vehicle offer? What are its safety ratings
And of course, there’s price. Buying a car is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll and most families are on a budget. You’ll want an affordable car that still includes the family-friendly features your home crew needs in the price tag.
The Chevrolet Suburban has enough room for everyone, whether you’re shuttling your little soccer players to practice or loading up the fam and all their stuff for an extended adventure. There’s seating for up to nine, and the Suburban’s cargo area can only be described as massive, so you’ll not only be able to haul people but all of their sports gear, suitcases, dorm room furnishings, whatever.
Reliability and safety ratings rank high, and the Surburban’s engine options offer plenty of power for towing the fun stuff like a boat or trailer. Check out 2021 models, when Chevy redesigned the Suburban with an independent rear suspension for a smoother ride, better handling and more interior space.
If you’re looking for something a little smaller and more agile than the Suburban, opt for the compact Toyota RAV4.
U.S. News and World Report named the popular RAV4 its Best Compact SUV for Families for 2020 and 2021, thanks to its excellent fuel economy, loads of room for passengers and cargo and overall reliability and affordability.
When it comes to shuttling the family, safety is sure to be top of mind. The RAV4 includes standard safety features include a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assistant, road sign recognition, and automatic high beams.
Reliable, practical and fuel-efficient, the Honda Accord is a capable and affordable chariot for your family.
There’s plenty of room inside, along with one of the largest trunks in its class. Everyone in the fam, from parents to growing teens and the toddler in a safety seat, will find lots of legroom and headroom in both the front and back seats. The seats themselves are roomy and comfortable, perfect for longer roadtrips.
The Accord gets great fuel economy for a midsize sedan – 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway with the 1.5-liter, 192-horsepower engine. Active safety features include rearview camera, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking and rear-seat passenger alert is available as a option.
The Kia Telluride boasts many interior comforts perfect for family travels. There’s “stadium seating” for eight, which means the back seats are slightly higher than the front and offer better views while you’re on the road. Dual-zone climate was added in 2022, which will keep the chilliest and hottest members of the family comfortable during a long trip.
Parents are sure to love the luxurious and modern cabin and easy-to-use infotainment system. New for 2023 are the X-Line and X-Pro trims, which add more off-road capabilities and include all-wheel drive as standard. And when properly equipped, the Telluride is capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds. Who’s ready for a family adventure?
This full-size Toyota Avalon sedan is “all-day comfortable,” according to Car and Driver, and U.S. News and World Report named it the Best Large Car for Families for 2022.
Though both the Avalon and its cousin, the Toyota Camry, have spacious cabins and many of the same tech features, the Avalon impresses with its more upscale interior, and moms and dads are sure to love the heated seats, blind-spot monitoring and other features that come standard, such as forward automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist.
Have a teen starting driver’s ed this year? The Avalon has a programmable driving monitor to help keep track of and set limits for teens for peace of mind.
Browse thousands of makes and models online, then head down to your nearest EchoPark with the family and take a used car, truck or SUV for a test drive to make sure it’s the right fit.