2017 Best Cars for Families

March 29th, 2017 by

The U.S. News Best Cars for Families awards highlight the cars, SUVs, and minivans that offer families the space, safety, practicality, comfort, and convenience that make life easier. These awards aren’t just for families with young kids, however. Each of the winners will work for any stage of family life, from diapers and daycare to teen drivers and even grandkids. The awards cover 18 different classes, and each winner has the best combination of quality, space, safety, and features in its class.

When we say the Best Cars for Families award winners make family life easier, that’s not just corporate boilerplate. My kids were home on a snow day when I wrote this slideshow. That means it was written to a soundtrack of snack requests, Cars, three fights, and an epic adventure involving both Star Wars and Paw Patrol figurines. In short, we get family life because we live family life. The family-friendly features we used in award scoring are things that we know, from experience, will make your family safer and your life easier.

Check out the winners in the following slides to find the right car for your family.

Best 3-Row SUV for Families: 2017 Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot has gotten plenty of accolades since its 2016 redesign, and the 2017 model is the Best 3-Row SUV for Families. This is the second year in a row the Pilot has won, and with three comfortable rows of seating, advanced safety features like automatic braking, and strong crash test ratings, it’s clear that the Pilot is a smart choice for families who need seating for up to eight.

Best 2-Row SUV for Families: 2017 Ford Edge

With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the 2017 Ford Edge makes it easy for anyone to stay connected. When you add in its great passenger and cargo space, as well as its available MyKey system, which allows parents to set limits on new drivers, it’s easy to see why it’s the 2017 Best 2-Row SUV for Families.

Best Compact Car for Families: 2017 Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is the Best Compact Car for Families, which it has won for the second year in a row. While the Soul’s styling make it a carpool lane-standout, it has a lot more than looks going for it. Its roomy backseat has plenty of space for passengers and car seats, and its just-right ride height makes it easy for both Junior and Grandma to get in and out. Kia’s UVO system has features that track teen drivers, giving you peace of mind when it’s time to hand over the keys.

Best Midsize Car for Families: 2017 Chevrolet Malibu

The Chevrolet Malibu is the Best Midsize Car for Families. Fresh off a 2016 redesign, the Malibu wins for the second year in a row. For 2017, the Malibu adds family-friendly features like Chevy’s new Rear Seat Reminder system, which prompts parents to check the backseat to make sure small kids haven’t been left behind. Features carried over from 2016 include teen driver controls and Apple Car Play.

Best Compact SUV for Families: 2017 Honda CR-V

Fresh off a redesign, the Honda CR-V, which is the Best Compact SUV for Families for the third year in a row, hasn’t strayed from its core mission: providing families with the utility, space, and safety they need. The CR-V has the most passenger and cargo space in its class, strong reliability ratings, convenient features like a hands-free liftgate, and advanced safety systems, including forward collision warning, automatic braking, and lane keeping assist.

Best Large SUV for Families: 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe

Families who need to haul up to nine people and tow heavy loads can’t do better than the Chevrolet Tahoe, the Best Large SUV for Families. With its strong V8 engine and composed handling, there’s no denying the Tahoe’s performance bona fides, but the Tahoe also has all the family features of most minivans, including rear-seat entertainment, in-car Wi-Fi, a rear seat reminder, and Apple CarPlay.

Best Luxury 2-Row SUV for Families: 2017 Lincoln MKX

Lincoln may not be the first brand that springs to mind when you think of family cars, but the Lincoln MKX, the Best Luxury 2-Row SUV for Families, will have your kids saying “alright, alright, alright.”

Like its corporate cousin, the Ford Edge, the MKX has teen driver controls and excellent smartphone connectivity, as well as advanced safety features. The Edge offers family-friendliness in an upscale package, and that’s perfect for when mom and dad ferry the kids to the mall, or head out on their own date night.

Best Luxury 3-Row SUV for Families: 2017 Infiniti QX60

Infiniti sedans are known for their sporty performance, so maybe it’s no surprise that the Infiniti QX60 drives well for a 3-row SUV. What makes the QX60 the Best Luxury 3-Row SUV for Families isn’t its performance, however.

The QX60 not only has forward automatic braking, but also rear automatic braking, so if something crosses behind the QX60 while you’re backing up, the SUV will stop on its own. You can also move the QX60’s second row to access the third, even if a car seat is installed. All passengers will enjoy the available in-car Wi-Fi as well.

Best Luxury Compact SUV for Families: 2017 BMW X3

The BMW X3, the Best Luxury Compact SUV for Families, has all the performance you’d expect from a BMW, but many family-friendly features you wouldn’t. Rear sunshades keep napping passengers cool, comfortable, and asleep, while in-car Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay keep everyone else connected and entertained.

Best Large Car for Families: 2017 Kia Cadenza

The same features that make the Kia Cadenza, the Best Large Car for Families, a great choice for adults also make it the best family car in its class. The back seat is as roomy as you’d expect in this class, but it’s features like a rear sunshade, UVO teen controls, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, that put the Cadenza ahead of the competition.

Best Luxury Large SUV for Families: 2017 Cadillac Escalade

Plenty of bling and V8 power are the Escalade’s calling card, but the Best Luxury Large SUV for Families has plenty of practicality underneath its flashy exterior. Seating for up to eight, a rear seat reminder, rear auto braking, Apple CarPlay, and an around-view camera that gives you a 360-degree view of the Escalade during parking maneuvers, make the Escalade the best family car in the class.

Best Luxury Midsize Car for Families: 2017 Cadillac CTS

The Cadillac CTS is the Best Luxury Midsize Car for Families thanks to its high-tech safety features like forward collision warning, forward and rear automatic braking, and lane keeping assist. The CTS also offers a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, teen driver controls, and a rear sunshade.

Best Luxury Large Car for Families: 2017 Cadillac CT6

Parents will love the Cadillac CT6 because it looks like a million bucks and has all the luxury cachet you need to impress coworkers and clients. Other parents, however, will be impressed by the CT6’s rear automatic braking, which can prevent you from backing over toys left in the driveway.

A rear sunshade keeps rear passengers, old and young, cool and comfortable, while a Wi-Fi hot spot keeps them connected. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make it easy to access navigation and contacts on your phone and can even read text messages to you.

Best Hybrid SUV for Families: 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

If you have a large family, but want to lessen your carbon footprint, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the Best Hybrid SUV for Families. With seating for up to seven in three rows, the Highlander Hybrid is better suited for carpool duty than almost any other hybrid on the road.

Advanced safety features, including forward collision warning and automatic braking, are available, as are innovative features like Toyota’s Driver Easy Speak system. Easy Speak projects the driver’s voice into the third row, sparing your vocal chords while you remind passengers that biting is frowned upon.

Best Hybrid Car for Families: 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is the Best Hybrid Car for Families. Though it may not be as well-known as other hybrid cars, the Malibu has the space and features that make it a smart family car. Available features include Chevy’s teen driver controls and a rear seat reminder system.

Best Minivan for Families: 2017 Honda Odyssey

With a redesigned Chrysler Pacifica hitting the market this year, the minivan class is heating up, but the Honda Odyssey managed to extend its unprecedented seven-year winning streak as the Best Minivan for Families.

The Odyssey has the practicality that is the cost of entry for the minivan class, but goes beyond the competition with features like a rear sunshade, cooler, built-in vacuum, and more passenger and cargo space than much of the competition. The Odyssey is being redesigned for 2018, so it remains to be seen if it will extend its streak or if the competition will be able dethrone it.

Best Subcompact SUV for Families: 2017 Honda HR-V

Subcompact SUVs may not seem family friendly, but a few trips in the Honda HR-V, the Best Subcompact SUV for Families, proves that doesn’t have to be the case. The HR-V has the best cargo and passenger space in the class, with plenty of room for car seats – even rear-facing ones – in the back seat. It’s a great option for families seeking a smaller footprint than other SUVs offer.

Best Wagon for Families: 2017 Subaru Outback

The SUV may be the new family truckster, but for some families, the wagon will always be the chariot of choice. The Subaru Outback is the Best Wagon for Families. It has SUV-like space and all-wheel drive, but car-like drivability and comfort. Rear autobrake is available on the Outback, as is forward collision warning with autobrake and lane keeping assist. The Outback also has top-notch crash test scores.


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