The summer’s best family cars
Summertime is driving season. Whether you're planning a long distance road trip, a weekend getaway, or just a quick drive to grab an ice cream cone, you want a car well suited to your family.
If you've got a growing family and you're considering buying a new car this summer, you might give some thought to purchasing one well-suited to family travel. You're going to spend a lot of time in your new car, so it's important to choose one that is comfortable, reliable, and has features that support your personal needs.
What kind of vehicle suits you best depends on your daily driving habits, road conditions, and much more. Casual sightseeing with the family doesn't require much speed or power, but a cross-country adventure just might. Whatever your style, habits, and personal preferences, at least one of these vehicles will accommodate them:
Few cars have proven as solid as the Ford Fusion in recent years. Ford's agile sedan is plenty comfortable for hours spent on the road, with ample legroom for both front and back passengers. Storage capacity is impressive as well, with 12 cubic feet of cargo space. As for performance, the Fusion offers good power with impressive gas mileage. The hybrid model gets 43 miles per gallon.
We know, the Camry always turns up on lists like this, but it's for a good reason: The car provides everything a driver could want in a midsize sedan. Stellar visibility, a generous (and quiet) interior, and a smooth driving experience make the Camry a perfect choice for calm family travel. When it comes to driver satisfaction and reliability, it simply doesn't get much better than Toyota's enduring standby.
Chosen as the best large sedan of 2016 by Consumer Reports, the Chevrolet Impala combines comfort and fun in equal measure. With the slick, precise powertrain of a luxury sedan and the punchy power offered by its V6 engine (returning 22 mpg in Consumer Reports' testing), the Impala gives both children and full-sized adults the room to relax and enjoy the ride.
Taking its inspiration from that most classic of American road trip vehicles, the station wagon, the Subaru Outback appeals to a certain kind of driver looking for functionality, practicality, and the ability to perform both on and off the road. The Outback is easy-to-use, offers bountiful leg and storage room, and boasts Subaru's outstanding legacy for passenger safety.
The XC90 marks a definitive next step for Volvo. Not only is it on track to be the Swedish automaker's best-selling vehicle in the U.S., but also, its self-driving capabilities and advanced safety features assure it will be the benchmark for judging the cars of the future. Combine all this with the XC90's smooth, quiet ride, and you have an ideal – and uniquely stylish – family vehicle.
It isn't fair to call the Dodge Durango a workhorse. Sure, it's powerful and versatile, but it's also surprisingly comfortable, quiet, and roomy. Both its V6 and V8 engine options provide high performance and improved fuel economy, while its optional infotainment system, Uconnect, is one of the best available in modern vehicles, according to Consumer Reports. Plus, you'll never need to worry about the Durango's towing abilities. It can haul up to a ton more than some of its closest competitors.
OK, so the Toyota Sienna has never been the coolest vehicle in the world, but with plenty of seating, big sliding doors, and spacious cargo room, it's hard to beat Toyota's minivan when it comes to family travel. The Sienna's respectable handling, energetic 3.5-liter V6, proven reliability, and optional all-wheel drive only add to its appeal for drivers looking for safety and comfort.
When the average transaction price of a new car tops $30,000, it's always good to have a small but roomy option for families looking to buy new. The Honda Civic is just that. With the base model starting at less than $20,000 and offering standard features like backup camera, cruise control, and Bluetooth, families will find the car offers plenty of amenities in a reliable package. Honda's popular family car also has extraordinary safety features, including lane departure warnings and a frontal crash warning system.