Having a large family can make buying a car a little bit more challenging than for average families. There’s a lot to think about, after all, and the logistics of having to haul around the kids, their friends, and all their stuff isn’t a challenge just any car can take on.
Most passenger cars are built for five people, so unless you’re looking for your secondary car, the one you use when you don’t have the whole family with you, a passenger car isn’t going to do the job. Which means, if you’re looking for something to fit the entire family, you’re almost automatically looking for an SUV or crossover.
This is a good time to be looking at larger vehicles again. Many of the world’s best-selling automakers have significantly re-vamped their larger offerings in the last few years, adding more options and safety features than ever before, so you’re in luck if you’re on the market again.
If you are looking for a new vehicle for your larger-than-average family, there are some things to watch out for. Be aware and do your research. Just because GM, Ford, Toyota, or Honda each have many cars and trucks that get high marks, it doesn’t automatically mean everything that those companies make is a winner.
That said, there are many vehicles geared towards larger families that have everything you need–more options, better fuel efficiency, comfort, and safety features galore. Here’s a few that rate among the best in the industry among those who should know:
2010 Honda Odyssey. Cars.com liked this minivan for its attention to detail, noting that even the third-row seats made for a comfortable ride. This one seats eight, and with an MSRP that starts out around $26,805, it’s just slightly cheaper than many in its class. The higher-priced Odysseys have the ability to shut off some of its engine valves for fuel efficiency.
2010 Ford Flex. The Cars.com folks liked this crossover vehicle as well, because although it doesn’t look like your typical minivan, it offers most of the practical features of one. It seats seven, and has added safety measures like a stability control feature. Higher-end models have an optional EcoBoost engine for more horsepower. Starting MSRP for the base model is around $28,550.
2010 Toyota Sienna. The AutoTropolis.com folks rated this as one of the best. It’s also one of the most affordable options out there, with a base MSRP of $24,540. It comes standard with traction control and antiskid systems. Higher-end models come with a bench seat that allows you to seat eight, but most trim levels of this vehicle seat seven.
2010 Chevrolet Traverse. Cars.com rated this and its sister-vehicle, the 2010 Buick Enclave, as two of the best and most comfortable rides available for a large family. They both have full throttle V6 engines and loads of safety features, including stability control, anti-lock brakes and a generous number of airbags. They both seat between seven and eight, depending on trim level. The Traverse gets high marks in crash test ratings, and with a base MSRP of $29,224, is competitively priced. The Enclave, as part of the higher-end Buick line, is competitive amongst its peers in its price class, with a base MSRP of around $35,165. It also has the highest highway fuel efficiency of any crossover or minivan, at an average of 24 MPG.
2010 Honda Pilot. Like the others on this list, both Cars.com and AutoTropolis.com rated this crossover vehicle highly for its high safety ratings and reliability, some of the best scores of any Honda vehicle, period. At a base MSRP around $27,895, it’s competitive with the rest of its peers. It seats eight, though the third row is best suited for children, and comes with a stability system as a standard feature on all models. Higher trim levels yield some of the more popular features, like power front seats.
Thanks to a raft of new redesigns on crossover vehicles and minivans by all the major manufacturers the last couple of years in particular, your chances of finding the perfect vehicle for your large family are better than ever. Just remember to do your research before heading to your favorite dealership, so you know what you’re looking for, and what questions to ask, to get what you want.
Cars.com, “Top Picks for Big Families.”
AutoTropolis.com, “Top 10 Family Cars of 2010.”