Experts reveal the best family cars of 2018

Photo (c) Dasha Petrenko - Fotolia

Safety, utility and value added sedans to the list

After vetting hundreds of vehicles, the editors at Kelley Blue Book (KBB) have announced their recommendations for the best family cars of 2018. 

Technological additions–push-button start, Bluetooth connectivity, and blind spot warning–define this year’s group. 

While these features have been available for more than six years, they’re still new to the millions of consumers who haven’t purchased a new car recently,,  Kelley Blue Book Managing Editor Jason Allan told ConsumerAffairs.

Safety technologies 

Allan explained that safety, utility, and affordability are three key considerations when choosing a family car. 

“These cars don’t just check all the boxes for families, they’re all well-rounded entries ranking at or near the top of their respective segments in several key areas,” he said.

The 2018 list contains four new SUVs with features like teen-driver monitoring, wireless phone charging, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

“Advanced safety technologies like automatic emergency braking, lane departure prevention and cross-traffic alert are available on most of these vehicles, and at lower price points than ever,” Allan said, adding that cargo capacity and flexibility are helping drive the popularity of SUVs.

Family sedans

The presence of sedans also sets this year’s list apart.

Last year, sedans were notably absent from KBB’s family-friendly cars list, “a reflection of changing consumer preferences and sales trends,” said KBB, noting that SUVs tend to outshine sedans in terms of cargo versatility and other features that are important to families. 

However, sedans’ budget-friendliness, superior fuel economy, and better handling brought four 2018 sedans for KBB’s 2018 list. 

Car seat accommodations 

Child car safety seat accommodations were a primary consideration when deciding which cars made the list, since a vehicle’s capacity to accomodate a booster seat could make or break a parent’s car-buying decision.

“We keep two car seats in the office, each of which has been installed and removed in too many vehicles to count,” Allan said.

“We’re looking for easy-to-access LATCH points, enough distance between the first and second rows to accommodate a rear-facing infant seat and, where applicable, assessing how easy it is to access the third row without removing the car seat.” 

Best family cars

The experts at KBB say the following 2018 models are good choices for consumers with kids:  

  • Best two-row SUVs for families: Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, Subaru Outback 
  • Best three-row midsize SUVs for families: Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas 
  • Best three-row full-size SUVs for families: Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition
  • Best minivans for families: Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna
  • Best family sedans: Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Impala

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