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2019 Best Cars for Families
Silly sing-alongs, games, and heart-to-heart conversations – they all sound like scenes from a family room, but more often than not, they happen in your family’s car. The right family car can make your life easier, with enough space for everyone and their gear, the right tech to keep everyone safe, and handy features that keep everyone connected and entertained.
We created our Best Cars for Families awards to highlight the family cars, SUVs, and minivans that truly make family life better. Covering 11 different automotive segments, there’s sure to be an award winner that works for your family.
How We Found the Best Cars for Families
To choose our award winners, we looked at 129 new cars, SUVs, and minivans from the 2019 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 11 automotive classes covered by our awards, the vehicle with the highest composite score is named the Best Car for Families in that category.
The winners: SUVs and Minivans
The winners: Cars
It’s easy for an automaker to slap a rear-seat DVD player and a couple of screens in the backseat of a car and brand it for families. However, as the U.S. News team evaluates hundreds of cars each year, we’ve found that some family-friendly features are more useful than others.
Teen controls are among the more useful features. These controls, either through the car’s key or through an app or telematic system, can help parents develop good habits in their teen drivers. Some systems give you reports on speed and hard braking, as in the Chevy Traverse. Others, like the system in the Ford Edge and Ford Expedition, limit stereo volume or won’t let the stereo turn on until all seat belts are buckled. Systems like the ones available in the Mercedes-Benz GLE, Acura RDX, Honda Accord, and Honda Odyssey text you alerts when the car is driven past a certain time of night, above a certain speed, or outside of a geographic area you set. Features like this not only let you monitor teen drivers but can also help you keep an eye on caregivers for little kids or older adults who might be using the family car.
Anyone who has ever wrestled with a squirmy toddler while trying to load groceries will appreciate the hands-free cargo door on the Ford Edge and Expedition, Chevrolet Traverse, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Audi Q7, Acura RDX, BMW 5 Series, and Honda Odyssey. Long road trips fly by with minimal complaining when you have in-car Wi-Fi, which most of our winners do.
All of the winning vehicles have top-notch crash test scores, but we also factor in safety features that can prevent a crash, like automatic forward and rear braking, as well as lane keep assist. A 360-degree camera system is great for checking all around your car, especially in environments where little kids may get too close – like a daycare or preschool parking lot.
Then there are features that just take care of you, like the incredible optional sound system in the Acura RDX, the road-carving abilities of the BMW 5 Series, and the 577-horsepower in the AMG trim of the Mercedes-Benz GLE.
Mostly, though, there’s just a certain thrill that comes from having a car that’s a worthy partner for your family, making your life easier by providing the tools you need to forget about your car, and focus on your family.