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Families today look a lot different than they did 20 or 30 years ago, and so do family cars. Today you can choose from spacious hybrids, SUVs, sedans, and vans filled with safety features, and tech to keep everyone connected and entertained.

Of course, with all those options, it can be tough to find the right family car for your household. The Best Cars for Families awards cover nine different automotive classes and shine the spotlight on the cars, SUVs, and vans that truly make family life a little easier. 

How We Found the Best Cars for Families

To choose our award winners, we looked at 90 new cars, SUVs, and minivans from the 2020 model year. Our 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 nine automotive classes covered by our awards, the vehicle with the highest composite score is named the Best Car for Families in that category.

See the photo gallery of the winners »

Best Cars for the Money »

The Winners: SUVs and Minivans

The Winners: Cars

New Car Tech for Families

It used to be that simply having a DVD player in the back seat and enough space for a car seat or two made a car “family-friendly.” Now, however, carmakers must work to keep up with the demands of family car buyers. The good news is that today’s family cars are filled with some mind-blowing tech and safety features that keep everyone happy and safe. 

A family car’s utility starts before you even get inside. Most of the winners feature smartphone apps that let you start the car remotely to chill it down on hot days or warm it up on cold ones. That makes the temperature more comfortable for everyone and safer for family members like babies or the elderly. All of the SUVs and vans that won Best Cars for Families awards have available hands-free rear liftgates, so it's easy to access the cargo area while holding hands with a toddler or folding down a wheelchair.

Five of the winners – the Toyota RAV4, Toyota Camry, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Avalon Hybrid, and Honda Odyssey – earned the highest possible ease of use rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for their LATCH car-seat installation systems. The Kia Telluride, RAV4, and Highlander Hybrid provide additional features to keep back-seat passengers safe. The RAV4 and Highlander alert the driver when rear passengers don’t have their seat belts buckled, and the Kia Telluride reminds drivers to look in the back seat to make sure no little passenger gets left behind.

The winners aren’t just about keeping young kids safe. For the first time in the 10-year history of the awards, every winner is available with some form of teen driver controls. These controls help parents set limits on their teen drivers to keep them safe, and in some cases parents can even monitor their teen’s driving, helping inform an ongoing conversation about safe driving habits. 

Each of the winners has strong crash test scores, but we also factored in active safety features like rear automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and forward automatic emergency braking. These are all features that can help new and experienced drivers avoid a collision.

Beyond safety, each winner offers in-car Wi-Fi, so everyone’s devices stay connected. Keeping those devices charged is no big deal either, as each winner has multiple rear-seat USB ports. All of the winners except the Honda Odyssey also offer heated rear seats, and the Kia Telluride goes even further, offering ventilated rear seats. With features like that, it’s clear that today’s family cars have come a long way, and that’s a good thing.

2020 Best Cars for Families

  • Toyota Camry: Best Midsize Car for Families
  • Toyota Avalon: Best Large Car for Families
  • Toyota Avalon Hybrid: Best Hybrid or Electric Car for Families

2020 Best SUVs for Families

  • Toyota RAV4: Best Compact SUV for Families
  • Ford Expedition: Best Large SUV for Families
  • Honda Passport: Best 2-Row SUV for Families
  • Kia Telluride: Best 3-Row SUV for Families
  • Toyota Highlander Hybrid: Best Hybrid or Electric SUV for Families

2020 Best Minivan for Families

  • Honda Odyssey: Best Minivan for Families

See winners from previous years: 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019

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