1. HONDA ODYSSEY
The Honda Odyssey is one of the best minivans on the market today. The interior has plenty of room for up to eight passengers to sit comfortably while still having a lot of cargo space. The engine is a 248 horsepower V-6 that’s coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel economy is important in a family vehicle and the Odyssey was designed with that in mind. A cylinder deactivation feature reduces the engine to 3 cylinders to conserve fuel when on the highway. The Odyssey gets an EPA estimated 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Knowing that minivans usually carry children, the Odyssey is equipped with a built in vacuum stored in the cargo area, making it much easier to clean up the eventual crumb piles that will spring up in the back seats.
2. DODGE GRAND CARAVAN
Able to seat eight passengers and equipped with great features, the Dodge Grand Caravan is a fine choice for a family vehicle. The powertrain is a 283 horsepower 3.6 liter V-6 with front wheel drive and a six-speed automatic. The second row seats can fold up into the floor to make more space for cargo and the rear seats can fold back for tailgate parties. The gas mileage is reasonable for a vehicle this size, with an EPA estimated 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The Grand Caravan scored high marks in safety, something that is very important when considering a vehicle that will transport your children. The Grand Caravan may lack some of the unique features found in other vans, but it hits all the important notes perfectly.
3. VOLKSWAGEN GOLF SPORTWAGEN
By mixing what makes the Volkswagen Golf great with the utility of a station wagon, Volkswagen created the greatness that is the Golf SportWagen. Loads of cargo space makes family trips easy, and the ample legroom means your passengers will be comfortable. The SportWagen is powered by a 1.8 liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic. Gas mileage is great, with an EPA estimated 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, so you won’t need to visit the gas station as often. The suspension is solid and the chassis well built, giving the SportWagen a smooth, stable ride. Cornering is easy, with no noticeable body roll or understeer. The interior is made from quality materials, giving the feeling of a luxury car.
4. SUBARU OUTBACK
The Subaru Outback won the 2015 Best Wagon for Families award, proving that it’s a great choice for a family vehicle. A 175 horsepower 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine coupled to a CVT transmission sits under the hood of the Outback, a six-cylinder engine is optional but has poor gas mileage. The EPA estimated gas mileage of the four-cylinder model is 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, which is good compared to others in its class. The standard all-wheel drive system gives the Subaru Outback superb handling in all conditions, and the Active Torque Vectoring system improves cornering ability. The Outback received high marks across the board for safety, and includes features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic pre-collision braking, which can bring the Outback to a full stop at speeds less than 30 mph.
5. HONDA FIT
The Honda Fit is a small car with big benefits. With an affordable price and superb safety scores, the Fit makes a great choice for families on a budget. Exceptional fuel economy is one of the great features. With an EPA estimated 33 mpg city and 41 mpg highway, the Fit will save you in money at the pump. The Fit handles nimbly, with a comfortable ride and tight suspension. Even though the Fit is small on the outside, it has ample backseat legroom for its passengers, without needing to inconvenience those in the front seat. Compared to its rivals, the Fit has more pep in its step when hitting the gas, and the optional six-speed manual transmission makes it a joy to drive.
6. MAZDA MAZDA 3
Economical, fuel efficient, and fun to drive, the Mazda 3 is a great choice for a family vehicle. Available as a sedan or a four door hatchback, the Mazda 3 has a 155 horsepower 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual is standard, with a six-speed automatic offered as an option. The Mazda 3 gets an EPA estimated 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, which is higher than many others in its class. Cargo space is plentiful in both models, but the hatchback has a bit more space than the sedan. The suspension is tuned to be sporty, allowing the Mazda 3 to handle winding roads with ease. Traction control and Stability control are standard, giving the Madza 3 tight handling even in inclimate weather.
7. FORD FUSION
The Ford Fusion is a great family sedan at a great price. With sleek styling and great performance, the Fusion can serve as a road trip car or just a grocery getter. What sets the Fusion apart as a great family car is the Ford MyKey system. MyKey allows the Fusion owner to limit the vehicle’s top speed and the audio volume, and mute the sound entirely until the seatbelt is engaged. Further MyKey functionality includes an audible seatbelt reminder, audible alerts for when the vehicle reaches different speeds, and an enhanced low-fuel warning that notifies the driver when 75 miles of range remain. This makes it a wonderful car for a first time driver, allowing you to rest easy when your teen is traveling the roads solo for the first time.
8. CHEVROLET MALIBU
The Chevrolet Malibu is an attractive sedan with loads of backseat space and top notch performance. The 160 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder has more than enough power to get you and your family where you need to go in a timely manner, and the suspension makes sure you will get there in comfort. Like the Ford Fusion, the Chevrolet Malibu is equipped with a system to monitor and keep a new driver safe. Aptly called “Teen Driver,” it’s a suite of technologies that not only allows owners to set speed alerts and mute the audio system until front-seat safety belts are buckled, but also can display important data that lets those owners keep track of how far the Malibu has been driven, how fast it’s been driven and if it’s been driven in such a way that stability control or anti-lock brakes have been engaged.
9. CHEVROLET TRAVERSE
At first glance, the Chevrolet Traverse looks like an SUV, but it’s really more of a minivan in SUV clothing. The cabin is spacious, with more than enough room for the driver and passenger, while the rear seats have room for an additional 6 passengers. The Traverse is powered by a 281 horsepower V-6 engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission. Front wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is optional. The all-wheel system is the better choice of the two, offering better stability and control in all weather types. Steering is sharp and responsive, and the suspension is well tuned to handle any road imperfections. The gas mileage is average for a large vehicle, with an EPA estimated 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
10. KIA SOUL
Low cost and plenty of interior space are selling points for the Kia Soul when looking for a family vehicle. A solidly built suspension control body roll when cornering and absorb imperfections, giving the Soul a comfortable ride. The Soul won’t be winning any races with its 130 horsepower 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine, but it does get reasonable gas mileage, with an EPA estimated 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The base MSRP of $16,515 makes the soul very affordable. The interior has plenty of room for passengers and cargo. With ample legroom and comfortable seats keeping your passengers happy on even the longest trips. The undated exterior moves away from the traditional box on wheels look of the past and has curves and rounded edges, giving the soul an eye-catching look.