2016 Audi A7 (Audi of America, Inc.)

Well now you’ve gone and done it. You've had a kid – maybe even two or more. Your gym time has been replaced by story time, and your favorite shirt is stained with spit up.

So many things have changed in your life (who would have thought Cheerios could invade every crevice in your car?), and your friends say owning a minivan is an inevitable token of parenthood.

When it comes to cars, you don’t have to give up feeling good about what you drive just because you became a parent. There are plenty of cool cars and SUVs that have the things you need when you’re a dad, with a heaping dose of the style you want. Keep reading to see the secret family cars that are actually cool.

Audi A7

Even if you call Clark Griswold's car by its rightful name – the Wagon Queen Family Truckster – there is nothing flattering about his car. But that doesn't mean all wagons are unappealing. The Audi A7 breaks the mold with an intriguing fastback design – halfway between a sedan and a wagon.

The A7 is a family car disguised as a luxury sedan, with gorgeous leather and wood, and tech features – like 3D Google maps – that you just don't see in other luxury cars. The only downside to the A7 as a family car (it was our pick as the 2016 Best Luxury Large Car for Families) is that you're going to spoil your kids – and yourself – for anything else.

Chevrolet SS

2016 Chevrolet SS (General Motors)

At the changing table, you're Mr. Mom. But when you get behind the wheel, you want to be The Stig. Before you shrug off a four-door sedan for being too slow, take a look at the Chevrolet SS.

Two things make it cool: its 415-horsepower engine and the fact that there aren’t all that many of them (to add exclusivity, Chevy intentionally keeps sales low).

While the SS’ power and scarcity can help you break away from the pack, literally and figuratively, its upscale interior and large front and back seats make it perfect for many families. Available features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, navigation, Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system, head-up display, rearview camera, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision alert, and blind spot warning keep everyone happy and safe when family time means burning up back roads.


Dropping kids at daycare can often mean tantrums and tears, but getting behind the wheel of the BMW X1 and zipping through the rest of your commute melts that tension away. BMW touts its cars and SUVs as the ultimate driving machines, and the X1 lives up to the hype.

Put simply, it's a BMW, with the power, precise handling, and incredible control that the brand's badge implies. As a bonus, the X1 can also handle a couple of car seats and a dog in the cargo area, and it’s the 2016 Best Luxury Subcompact SUV for Families.

Kia Soul

2016 Kia Soul (Kia Motors America)

Before your paternal instincts developed, being carefree had a different meaning. You can not only reclaim your Peter Pan side – but also celebrate it – with the playful Kia Soul. Start by personalizing your Soul, picking from paint options such as the chartreuse Alien 2, Inferno Red, or Solar Yellow.

The optional audio package adds even more color, as lights surrounding the speakers pulse in harmony with your music. If you need to also appease your common sense, rest easy knowing the Soul won two 2016 Best Cars for Families awards (as the best compact and best hatchback) and was also a finalist in the same categories for the 2016 Best Cars for the Money awards.

Ram 1500

Trucks aren’t just for country music clichés anymore. With the Ram 1500, you can keep your family safe and happy while you channel your inner Clint Eastwood.

The Ram 1500 crew cab has roomy seating for up to six, and when you opt for some of the higher trims, you get features like navigation, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and the UConnect infotainment system with voice controls that integrate seamlessly with some smartphone apps. You also get the pride of knowing that you didn’t surrender who you are just because you had kids.

Cadillac Escalade

2016 Cadillac Escalade (Cadillac)

Remember when a late night meant you were out on the town with friends, not burning the midnight oil consoling a crying infant? In those earlier days, the Cadillac Escalade would have been the perfect party wagon, carrying a crew of seven in style.

Your passengers may have changed from 20-somethings to toddlers, but the Escalade is still a choice ride. This luxury SUV features Apple CarPlay, heated and cooled front seats, three rows of seating, and available in-car Wi-Fi. It has a monster V8 engine and handles like a smaller vehicle, so parents don't have to give up on performance just because they need three rows of seats.  And it’s the 2016 Best Luxury Large SUV for Families.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

A little red roadster – picture a Mercedes-Benz SLK – is an appealing way to flaunt your fun side. With only two seats, though, the SLK is too small for most families.  

If you want something that's as sophisticated as it is sexy, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a more family-friendly option. This large sedan checks off all the requirements of a safe ride (excellent crash test ratings, driver drowsiness monitoring, forward collision warning with emergency braking) and also gets excellent marks for reliability. Plus, you can pick from a hardtop or convertible, and its opulent cabin still lets you embrace your swanky side. The E-Class is endowed with some of the best leather in the industry, wood accents, and supremely comfortable front seats.

Mazda CX-5

2016 Mazda CX-5 (Mazda North American Operations)

Fatherhood may have urged you to let go of your loud music and scrap your Saturday night poker game. But you don't have to show the same restraint when you pick your car.

The Mazda CX-5 can handle not only a set of car seats and a stock-up sale on diapers, but twisty back roads as well. Standard Bluetooth, push button start, voice controls, a USB port, and available all-wheel drive make the CX-5 a credible family car. And the CX-5's sharp handling and athletic performance may entice you to leave the errands undone and head to the mountains instead.

Toyota 4Runner

Sunday mornings may now be filled with princess playtime – complete with tea parties and tiaras. If you're a dad that still likes to get dirty, the Toyota 4Runner will appeal to the tough guy in you.

Go for the ultra-capable 4Runner TRD Pro, and you’ll be able to take the entire family well beyond where the pavement ends.

Whether you're navigating the Rubicon Trail or the carpool lane, your tykes will be safe and comfy. The back seat of the 4Runner is roomy enough for car seats and has easy-to-access LATCH connectors. The 4Runner also has family-friendly features like a rearview camera, Toyota’s Entune infotainment system, and an available cargo management system.

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport (Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC)

You'll earn plenty of cool points from the kids when you're fashionably ferrying them around in the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, which seats up to seven. While its standard V6 engine is fine for daily driving, connect with who you were before you had kids by opting for the 510-horsepower, supercharged V8.

Interior features like a touch-screen infotainment system, navigation, Wi-Fi, and a rear-seat entertainment system help the Range Rover Sport effortlessly blend family life with extra "me" time.

Volvo XC90

You'll feel less like a dad and more like David Beckham with the Volvo XC90: smart, sexy, and still approachable. It's our 2016 Best Luxury 3-Row SUV for Families.

And while it has a ton of safety features and plenty of space for kids, one of its biggest selling points is how stylish it is. The interior is clean, modern, and lives up to the best in Swedish design. The materials used in it are incredible; the leather feels like butter, and the wood accents are gorgeous.


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2016 Audi A7


No. 2 in Luxury Large Cars

2016 Chevy SS


No. 3 in Large Cars

2016 BMW X1


No. 1 in Luxury Subcompact SUVs

2016 Kia Soul


No. 3 in Compact Cars

2016 Ram 1500


No. 2 in Full Size Pickup Trucks

2016 Cadillac Escalade


No. 1 in Luxury Large SUVs

2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class


No. 4 in Luxury Midsize Cars

2016 Mazda CX-5


No. 5 in Compact SUVs

2016 Toyota 4Runner


No. 17 in Midsize SUVs

2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport


No. 10 in Luxury Midsize SUVs

2016 Volvo XC90


No. 8 in Luxury Midsize SUVs

You can review all of the cars and SUVs picked for our 2016 Best Cars for Families awards. Or, if you don't need to follow the in-crowd, check out our best minivan rankings. When you're ready to buy, you'll save (on average) about $3,000 off retail price through our Best Price Program. And be sure to follow us on Twitter for more money-saving tips and car advice.