A large cargo area and spacious rear seats are often important factors for families shopping for a new car. But what if space is less of a priority for your family? There are other factors that make a vehicle family-friendly, and several finalists for our 2015 Best Cars for Families awards have available convenience features that make life easier for parents and kids, along with stellar reviews from automotive experts. They may not be the most spacious pick in their respective class, but they're still worth looking at for your next family vehicle.

To determine the best family cars, we considered 259 new vehicles currently on the market in the United States. The award methodology combines professional automotive reviews, safety and reliability ratings, seating and cargo volume and the availability of family-friendly features. Within each of the 19 automotive categories, the vehicle with the highest composite score is named the Best Car for Families in that category.

[See 2015 Best Cars for Families award winners] 

2015 Mazda Mazda3
2015 Mazda Mazda3 (Mazda North American Operations)

The 2015 Mazda Mazda3 hatchback doesn’t have as much cargo space as the 2015 Volkswagen Golf, the Best Compact Car for Families, but the Mazda3 is available with several family-friendly features including a rearview camera, rear parking sensors and voice controls for the infotainment system. Mom and Dad can also have fun behind the wheel of the Mazda3, as test drivers are impressed with its exceptionally agile handling and responsive steering.

If you’re looking for a large car, the 2015 Kia Cadenza shouldn’t be overlooked even though it has less cargo room and rear-seat space than the 2015 Chevrolet Impala, the Best Large Car for Families. The Cadenza is available with features that are particularly useful for families, such as Kia’s surround view monitor, which uses multiple cameras to provide a 360-degree view around the vehicle when parking. If you have a teen driver in the family, the Cadenza’s available UVO eServices can alert you if your young driver is exceeding a certain speed, driving after curfew or outside the boundaries of a preset geographic area.

[The Safest Cars for Teens]

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe
2015 Chevrolet Tahoe (General Motors)

The 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe earns high praise from reviewers for its comfort, quietness, high-quality cabin materials and intuitive controls, and although it doesn’t have the most cargo or rear-seat space in the large SUV class, it does have available seating for nine, a rear-seat entertainment system, heated and cooled rear seats and a hands-free liftgate. If you need more space for your things, you’ll want to check out the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban, which has class-leading cargo capacity and is our 2015 Best Large SUV for Families.

The 2015 Ford Escape doesn’t have as much cargo space as the 2015 Honda CR-V, the Best Compact SUV for Families, but the Escape’s available hands-free power liftgate, proximity key, rear parking sensors and Ford’s standard MyKey system, which allows parents to set limits on the Escape’s speed, as well as some features, make Ford’s compact SUV a good pick for families. Additionally, critics report that the Escape’s interior is constructed with premium materials and that the rear seats have plenty of head- and legroom.

2015 Lexus NX
2015 Lexus NX (Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.)

The all-new 2015 Lexus NX also draws praise from automotive journalists for its upscale and comfortable cabin. Although the NX has less cargo room and rear-seat space than the 2015 Volvo XC60, the Best Luxury Compact SUVs for Families, reviewers say most passengers will have sufficient head- and legroom in the second row. Available proximity key, remote start, a rearview camera and a power liftgate add to the Lexus NX’s appeal.

Be sure to check out all of our 2015 winners and finalists of the 2015 Best Cars for Families. If you’re in the market for a new car, also take a look at the Best Car Rankings. When you’re ready to buy, use the U.S. News Best Price Program for guaranteed savings on your new vehicle. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.