Best Family Cars for 2019
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If you’re looking for a vehicle to carry up to nine people and their groceries, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the best family cars whether you’re looking for a full-size SUV to haul a small army or a particularly roomy sedan for five. As a spoiler, most of the best cars for big families are SUVs with third-row seating.
Best family cars: full-size
Best family cars: mid-size
Best family cars: small-sized
Best family cars: minivans
If you need to seat eight to nine people regularly — and comfortably — but don’t want a van or a minivan, check out these large SUVs.
4.7 by KBB experts, 4.5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (2 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA
The Expedition can carry up to eight people with legroom for everyone, even those in the back row, plus a lot of luggage and gets 20 MPG. If you don’t need the third row and 21 cubic feet of cargo space isn’t enough, you can open up the back door, press a button and the third row seats fold down; power-folding third-row seats are standard. Other standard features include 15 cup holders and slide-and-tilt second-row seats, which allow you third-row access without having to remove and reinstall child safety seats that may be in the second row. Available features include a dual headrest rear entertainment system and USB charging ports in the third row.
4.5 by KBB experts, consumer reviews unavailable on Edmunds
4 stars NHTSA
A large, heavy SUV, the Tahoe gets 18 MPG but its base trim seats seven and the LS trim can seat up to nine. With potentially that many people, it’s good that tri-zone climate control comes standard. Another nice perk is that remote start also comes standard, meaning you can warm up or cool down the car before you pack people into it. Room may be a bit tight at the back of the vehicle as it has less cargo room than some competitors, 15.3 cubic feet, and the third row offers little legroom, which may not be a problem if the people in that row are little ones with short legs.
Maybe you need the capability to haul seven passengers but only occasionally. A mid-size car may be a budget-friendly option if you need third-row seating but not the same amount of space as a full-size SUV.
4.7 by KBB experts, 4.4 out of 5 by Edmunds (35 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA
The 2019 Honda Pilot comes standard with a suite of safety systems and can seat seven to eight passengers, depending on the trim level and seat configuration you choose. It’s the largest SUV Honda offers. It gets 22 MPG, which is higher than what the full-size SUVs can offer, even though it can carry a similar number of passengers.
4.4 by KBB experts, 5.0 out 5 consumers on Edmunds (1 review)
5 stars NHTSA
A mid-size crossover SUV, the Atlas seats five to seven passengers and has some driver aid technology that now comes standard on 2019 model years, such as rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights. It gets 24 MPG and the second row seats can tilt forward to allow third-row access without requiring you to remove and reinstall a child safety seat.
Most five-passenger vehicles can, in fact, seat five passengers in a pinch, but any long-ish drive with five people will cause actual pinching. This may be especially true if you have bored, confined kids in close quarters who know their parents are facing away from them. These five-seaters count as smaller vehicles but have more interior room than normal, which may give passengers less reason to torment each other.
4.8 by KBB experts, 4.4 by consumers on Edmunds (11 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA
An SUV crossover, the 2019 CR-V has a good combination of interior room, engine power and fuel economy. The model has a reputation for lasting more than 200,000 miles and the 2019 model year already earned top safety marks from the NHTSA and the IIHS. Only 11 consumers on Edmunds left a review of the new 2019 model at the time of publication. On KBB, 83 consumers rated the 2017 to 2019 CR-V models an average of 4.3.
4.7 by KBB experts, 4.8 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (4 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA safety ratings
Beautifully roomy with huge backseat space to accommodate long legs, the Accord can fit five people for a comfortable amount of time. The Honda Sensing suite, packed with safety features, is standard on all new Accords. It gets 33 MPG with a regular engine and nearly 50 MPG as a hybrid. Note there were only four consumers who reviewed the 2019 model year on Edmunds, but 30 consumers on KBB rated it for an average of 4.6 as of publication.
A favorite of soccer moms and real estate agents, minivans can be dead practical. They have a similar passenger capacity to SUVs and, of course, second- and third-row seats fold down to give way for a relatively huge space for ferrying any odd cargo, whether it’s science projects or business signs. Yet they get better gas mileage than full-size SUVs and their base prices can be $20,000 less.
4.6 by KBB experts, 3.9 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (31 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA
The 2019 Odyssey has a slew of advanced safety features, plenty of room in all three rows and a strong resale value. Helping that value is the “Magic Slide” second-row seats, which move not only back and forth, but side to side, allowing easy access. Perhaps the only thing that could be more ingenious than that is the built-in vacuum, available on the Touring and Elite trim levels. The standard V6 engine gets 22 MPG.
4.5 by KBB experts, 4.5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (4 reviews)
5 stars NHTSA; IIHS Top Safety Pick
The Pacifica comes standard with a V6 engine, but it’s also unique in that it can come as a plug-in hybrid. It is the only hybrid minivan available. As a V6, it gets 22 MPG and if you get the plug-in hybrid, it gets 84 MPGe. Whichever type of engine you choose, the Pacifica can seat seven to eight people with some room for luggage. It’s slightly smaller than the Odyssey, but the back seats have a “Stow ‘n Go” feature that provides more storage in the floor when the seats are up and provides a smooth, flat surface for transporting large things when the seats are down. While four consumers rated the vehicle on Edmunds, eight consumers on KBB rate it 3.5 out of 5.
Financing the best cars for big families
Before shopping for an SUV, minivan or full-size car for your family, shop for an auto loan. Potential lenders include a credit union, bank or online lender. Bes sure to compare offers and see which one is best for you before stepping foot onto the car lot. Dealers are often able to raise your APR and make a profit off your loan, not just your car. The best way to avoid this is to go in with a preapproved auto loan in hand, so you know what APR you deserve and ask the dealer to beat it. On LendingTree, you could fill out an online form and receive up to five potential auto loan offers from lenders at once, instead of filling out five different lender applications.
Our picks received at least four-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Vehicles also had to receive at least four out of five stars by Kelley Blue Book (KBB) experts and consumers on Edmunds, when available.
All MSRPs are for base trims with no added options. Unless otherwise stated, all features mentioned are standard and included in a base model. Available features require additional costs. Car prices are as of January 2019.