People mover. Entertainment center. Gathering place. Those are just some of the roles that today’s family car plays.
Edmunds considered those and other factors in mind in announcing its 12th annual Best Family Cars list. Honda won in three categories: Best family minivan, best family sedan, and best small family SUV. Ram, Kia, Mercedes, Volvo and Lincoln led in additional categories.
An engineer-led vehicle testing and rating process used more than 30 criteria in helping Edmunds editors select the winners in five main areas: driving performance, comfort, interior, utility and technology. The availability of safety, technology and convenience features designed with families in mind were among other areas Edmunds considered.
Edmunds editor-in-chief Alistair Weaver said that vehicle options of today thankfully exceed “the one-size-fits-all minivans and station wagons of the past.”
“As a new parent myself, I know how daunting it can be to find the right car for your family, but that's why we've done all the homework and tested all the cars — to make it easy for busy families to find their next car,” Weaver said.
To be considered for Edmunds Best Family Cars recognition, a vehicle must be in Edmunds’ top-five ranking in its competitive segment. The availability of family-friendly features and conveniences such as advanced driver safety aids, in-car entertainment options, ease of car seat installation, hands-free liftgates and power-folding seats were among other factors Edmunds used in selecting the winners. The winners all must have earned an overall eight out of 10 Edmunds rating, and most received either a NHTSA 5-of-5 safety rating or a good Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rating.
The 2019 Edmunds Best Family Car winners are:
Best Family Minivan — Honda Odyssey
“Comprehensively redesigned in 2018, the Honda Odyssey reasserted its dominant position next to rival minivans such as the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica,” Edmunds writes.
Edmunds added that the Odyssey includes “the ultimate family convenience feature” — an integrated vacuum cleaner. It also features Magic Slide seats to help configuring the rear seats for any variety of children. An in-cabin camera helps keep an eye on backseat passengers.
Best Family Sedan: Honda Accord
“The Honda Accord is the benchmark family car, the standard by which all others are measured,” Edmunds writes. “Exaggeration? No. The Accord's accolades span decades, and while rivals from Toyota, Ford and Hyundai have occasionally caught up or even surged ahead, the latest Accord's all-around excellence has pushed it back into the lead.”
Edmunds writes that with a “roomier-than-you-think interior,” massive trunk space, and many standard safety features, the Accord remains the family sedan of choice for those not following the current SUV trend.
Best Family Truck: Ram 1500
“The Ram 1500 raises the bar for full-size trucks,” Edmunds writes. “The interior is among the most accommodating and quietest we've tested — rear passenger space is class-leading by a goodly margin, and the rear seats even recline for upgraded comfort.”
Edmunds added that the Ram 1500 “outclasses many traditional SUVs in comfort and luxury” with features such as reclining rear seats, class-leading legroom, and an exclusive coil-spring rear suspension.
Best Small Family SUV: Honda CR-V
With the most cargo space of any compact SUV, the CR-V also gets great gas mileage, according to Edmunds. The company said the vehicle includes various active safety features includes options such as a hands-free rear liftgate and hands-free locking and unlocking.
Best Large Family SUV: Kia Telluride
The Telluride is newest vehicle on the list, and because of its comfortable third-row seat, Edmunds recommends it for large families. Edmunds compliments the vehicle for being fun to drive and having what it describes as family-friendly features such as multiple USB and power outlets and advanced safety aids such as a blind-spot monitor.
Best Luxury Family Sedan: Mercedes-Benz E Class
Edmunds says Mercedes E-Class offers standard all-wheel drive and a luxurious interior that it says is indicative of all Mercedes vehicles. The wagon variant’s 64 cubic feet of cargo space is similar to an SUV, making it a strong alternative for families needing the space but preferring a sedan feel.
Best Small Luxury Family SUV: Volvo XC60
The XC60 continues Volvo’s reputation for safety, while also exuding style and comfort, Edmunds says. The vehicle is more expensive than its non-luxury counterparts, according to Edmunds, but the company says the vehicle is “on the lower end of the spectrum for a true luxury SUV.” An integrated rear booster seat and an infotainment system are additional “thoughtful touches,” according to Edmunds.
Best Large Luxury Family SUV: Lincoln Navigator
“For big families who like big luxury, the Navigator can't be beat,” Edmunds writes. Its roomy interior is one of those luxuries, and riders can take advantage of features such as power-reclining third-row seats, an active noise-canceling system, in-car Wi-Fi and 10-inch rear screens.