Kelley Blue Book releases list of most popular family cars for 2021

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It may be a challenge to find an attractive deal due to limited inventories

With the average family of four recently receiving thousands of dollars in government stimulus money, thoughts may turn to a new family car. But which one?

It all depends on your budget, the size of your family, and your automotive preference. Kelley Blue Book (KBB) is out with its annual list of the best new family cars with a wide range of choices.

"When it comes to buying a car for a new or growing family, parents understandably want assurance that their vehicle has outstanding safety and technology features to help protect their precious cargo," said Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor for KBB. "We also know budget factors are top-of-mind for families, so we place a heavy emphasis on overall value including purchase and ownership costs.

KBB’s rankings by category

Below are KBB’s rankings for what it considers to be the best vehicles by category. Be sure to click the links to access thousands of verified vehicle reviews by ConsumerAffairs readers.

Best two-row SUVs

2021 Honda CRV

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

2021 Toyota RAV4

Best three-row SUVs

2021 Honda Pilot

2021 Hyundai Palisade

2021 Kia Telluride

2021 Toyota Highlander

Best full-size SUVs

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe

2021 Ford Expedition

Best minivans

2021 Chrysler Pacifica

2021 Honda Odyssey

2021 Toyota Sienna

Limited inventories create challenges for car buyers

You can check out three of the vehicles on this list with one trip to a Toyota dealer and another three by visiting a Honda dealership. Hyundai placed two models on the list, while Kia, Chevrolet, Ford, and Chrysler had one each.

KBB says its annual list is based on in-depth testing with a focus on safety, overall value, connectivity, technology, and driver-assist features. The team uses proprietary evaluation criteria and data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to ensure recommended vehicles have top safety ratings.

Finding a large selection of any of these popular vehicles may pose a challenge since nearly all automakers have faced inventory shortages because of a scarcity of computer chips. When consumers do find the car of their choice, automotive experts say they may have to pay more to drive it off the lot.

“Low inventories have not had a material effect on aggregate sales results,” J.D. Power and LMC Automotive reported in a recent joint April forecast. “Instead, they have enabled manufacturers and retailers to reduce discounts and consumers are demonstrating a willingness not only to buy vehicles closer to MSRP but also to buy more expensive vehicles."

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