The most notable thing about the Kelley Blue Book (KBB) list of the 12 best family cars of 2017 is that there isn’t a single car on the list. American families have flocked to sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossovers, and carmakers are delivering more features and options on these vehicles than ever before. What’s not to like?
The KBB editors recommend their choices for a diverse group of new vehicles that best meet the needs of today’s families. Vehicles are tested and evaluated on a variety of metrics: safety; value; reputation; driving manners; comfort and convenience; cargo versatility; technology; and fit of various rear-facing and forward-facing child safety car seats.
Another important feature of a family car is affordability. Starting prices for these top-rated vehicles range from about $20,000 to the low $30,000 range, with only one exceeding a $40,000 starting price.
Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for KBB noted:
Looking at sales trends, soccer field parking lots and school drop-off lines, it’s clear that families have moved on from the family sedan, and now the modern family car is an SUV. As SUVs have grown more comfortable and fuel efficient over the years, car shoppers have demonstrated an increasing preference for the elevated driving position, superior cargo versatility and higher profile of SUVs, which make them more functional as family cars than traditional sedans.
KBB identified the top four vehicles in each of three categories: best two-row SUVs for families, best three-row SUV for families and best minivan for families. Here are the winners, along with a brief comment from the KBB editors and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for a base model of the vehicle. Winners are listed in order of popularity based on sales volume.
Best Two-Row SUVs for Families
2017 Honda CR-V
Totally redesigned for 2017, the CR-V is the best-selling SUV in the country and one of our most awarded cars every year.
2017 Subaru Outback
Whether you see it as a higher-riding wagon or a lower-profile SUV, the Outback is a top choice for go-anywhere, do-anything families.
2017 Kia Sportage
Totally redesigned for 2017, the roomier new Sportage checks all the right boxes for families.
The most affordable entry on this list outshines its subcompact SUV competitors in roominess, refinement and flexibility.
Best Three-Row SUVs for Families
2017 Toyota Highlander
Updated and enhanced for 2017, the clever and reputable Highlander is among the industry standards in three-row transportation.
2017 Honda Pilot
Positively minivan-like in family-friendly features and amenities, the Pilot is also our Midsize SUV Best Buy of 2017.
2017 Nissan Pathfinder
Boasting an impressive array of enhancements for 2017, the Pathfinder maintains its position among the most family-oriented SUVs available.
2017 Chevy Tahoe
The lead workhorse of the active American family, the Tahoe combines available seating for 9 with the ability to tow the family’s biggest toys.
Best Minivans for Families
2017 Toyota Sienna
The only minivan with available all-wheel drive, the Sienna has been further improved for 2017.
2017 Honda Odyssey
Even in its last model year before a full redesign, the Honda Odyssey remains a slam-dunk minivan standout in almost every aspect.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica
The all-new Pacifica is the best-driving minivan on the road and offers the longest, most impressive list of cool features.
2017 Kia Sedona
Sedona strengths include an attractive, intuitive interior and the peace of mind of the segment’s very best warranty.