The best cars for families in 2021 should have one thing in common – more space. Roominess is essential for car seats and carpool arrangements, wiggly toddlers, and growing teens. Yes, most of the cars on this list are SUVs, but even compact vehicles have well-designed spaces for a (small) crew and gear. All of our picks take safety, reliability, price, warranty, and style into account as well.
Best Midsize Cars For Families
1. Toyota Highlander Hybrid ($38,200 starting MSRP)
2021’s best cars for families, the 2020 Highlander Hybrid has a long track record. Now that Toyota has given the hybrid version of the popular SUV a four-cylinder engine rather than a V6, it achieves even greater mileage. Toyota Safety Sense™ 2.0, including automatic emergency braking, dynamic cruise control, lane assist, and more, are standard. If you prefer the latest model, 2021 has a new sport-focused trim and some upgraded safety features in Toyota Safety Sense™ 2.5+, which is tuned to avoid pedestrian collisions better.
2. Volvo XC90 ($48,350 starting MSRP)
Refreshed in 2018, the XC90 offers three trims and a plug-in hybrid model. Regenerative braking is available even on non-hybrid models to improve MPF. Seating configurations accommodate four to seven people. While the third row doesn’t offer much legroom, each rear-most passenger has an adjustable air conditioning/heating vent, cup holder, and cubby.
Best full-size family cars
3. Kia Telluride ($31,990 starting MSRP)
One of the best cars for families in 2021, the Kia Telluride has comfortable seating for eight passengers and their luggage, thanks to the more than 21 cubic feet behind the third row. This full-size SUV lets you take everyone, and the kitchen sink on vacation. It comes standard with active safety features, including blind-spot detection and auto-emergency braking, and the most extended warranty in its class. It offers the same warranty as a sister company with Hyundai: a five-year, 60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Best compact family cars
4. Subaru Forester ($24,495 starting MSRP)
A good fit for smaller families, especially if you live in a rainy or snowy area, is the 2020 Subaru Forester. The Forester comes with a standard all-wheel-drive and the lowest starting price on the list. Active driver safety features are also included in the base price. Still, suppose you bump up at least one trim level. In that case, many excellent features may be worth the price increase, such as a power panoramic moon-roof and 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability. The 2021 Forester out now adds even more standard safety features such as steering-responsive LED headlights, automatic high beams, and a rear seatbelt reminder, but few significant changes.
Best minivan for families
5. Honda Odyssey ($30,790 starting MSRP)
The 2020 Honda Odyssey has been recognized for its safety credentials from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which gave it a Top Safety Pick award. But there’s good reason to consider the slightly pricier 2021 model, which upped the ante to earn a Top Safety Pick+ and adds the Honda Sensing® safety suite of driving aids as a standard feature on all trims. That’s in addition to exterior changes such as a restyled grille, front bumper, and lighting. Parents will appreciate such touches as a built-in vacuum and CabinWatch® camera that allows front passengers to see the rear seats, even in the dark. Still, they require upgrading to higher trim levels.
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