Looking for a new family hauler? You don't necessarily need to drive a minivan. U.S. News & World Reports has assembled a wide-ranging list of family-friendly vehicles that spans beyond the typical minivan segment. You'll find everything from compact cars to full-bodied SUVs on their list.
There's only one minivan in the rankings. That's because the magazine declares a winner in each automotive segment, based on which cars offer the best combination of quality, space and family-friendly features. They're measured with a composite score. USN&WR includes several features, such as rear-seat entertainment options, cargo space for kid gear and crash-test ratings in its analysis.
Some parental advice: There are some factors beyond the ones the magazine considered that you may want to factor into your decision-making. Can you reconfigure seats? How wide are the rear doors? How easy will it be for adults to properly install car seats?
(And how easy will it be for adults to clean up spilled milk and Cheerios?)
Here's a look at the vehicles USN&WR calls the most family-friendly on the market today:
Compact Car - Chevrolet Cruze
MSRP: $17,130 - $23,550
Invoice: $16,530 - $22,490
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg City, 36 mpg Highway
Roomy, comfortable and well-appointed, the Chevrolet Cruze is a great choice for a family-oriented compact car.
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Upscale Small Car - Buick Verano
MSRP: $23,080 - $29,105
Invoice: $22,157 - $27,941
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg City, 32 mpg Highway
Buick hasn't enjoyed the best reputation over the past few years, but the Verano should help to change that. With a solid interior, fairly spacious cabin and fun driving dynamics, it's a good choice for a family or a single.
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Hatchback - Toyota Prius
MSRP: $24,200 - $30,005
Invoice: $22,748 - $27,930
Fuel Economy: 51 mpg City, 43 mpg Highway
In addition to its stellar fuel economy, the Prius boasts great interior space and lots of versatility. It's not the most fun car to drive, but there's no question that it's a great family vehicle.
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Midsize Car - Ford Fusion
MSRP: $21,900 - $32,200
Invoice: $20,422 - $29,705
Fuel Economy: 22 mpg City, 34 mpg Highway
One of the best looking cars on the market right now, the Fusion also has a well-appointed interior with plenty of passenger space. Families would be well-served to give this midsize sedan a shot.
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Upscale Midsize Car - Acura TL
MSRP: $35,905 - $39,455
Invoice: $33,712 - $36,998
Fuel Economy: 20 mpg City, 29 mpg Highway
Given Honda's stellar reputation for making long-lasting cars, it's quite possible that a 2013 Acura TL will last long enough for parents to hand it down to their younger kids when they turn 16.
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Fullsize Car - Buick LaCrosse
MSRP: $31,660 - $39,240
Invoice: $30,394 - $37,670
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg City, 36 mpg Highway
Getting 36 mpg on the highway is pretty remarkable for a fullsize car. Families that opt for the big LaCrosse will feel a lot less pain at the pump compared to other large sedans.
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Luxury Fullsize Car - Mercedes-Benz E-Class
MSRP: $51,000 - $92,400
Invoice: $47,430 - $85,932
Fuel Economy: 20 mpg City, 30 mpg Highway
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has a fantastic interior, great driving dynamics and a solid safety record. This is a good luxury car for the family-oriented driving enthusiast.
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Hybrid Car - Ford Fusion Hybrid
MSRP: $27,200 - $32,100
Invoice: $25,092 - $29,612
Fuel Economy: 47 mpg City, 47 mpg Highway
The handsome Ford Fusion Hybrid comes with all of the benefits of the standard Fusion plus great fuel economy.
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Wagon - Subaru Outback
MSRP: $23,495 - $32,095
Invoice: $22,123 - $30,034
Fuel Economy: 21 mpg City, 28 mpg Highway
Safe, reliable, versatile and equipped with Subaru's fantastic all-wheel drive system, the Outback comes very close to being the perfect family vehicle.
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Compact SUV - Honda CR-V
MSRP: $22,795 - $28,795
Invoice: $21,413 - $27,030
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg City, 31 mpg Highway
The Honda CR-V is one of the most popular crossovers on the market and it's easy to see why. A smooth ride, tons of interior room and great versatility make it one of the best family vehicles available.
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Luxury Compact SUV - Audi Q5
MSRP: $35,900 - $43,900
Invoice: $33,388 - $40,828
Fuel Economy: 20 mpg City, 28 mpg Highway
The Audi Q5 is loaded with luxury appointments and has one of the sportiest rides in the crossover segment. Its comfortable and roomy interior and standard tech features add to its appeal.
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2-Row Midsize SUV - Jeep Grand Cherokee
MSRP: $27,695 - $60,295
Invoice: $27,229 - $57,229
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 23 mpg Highway
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a great 2-row SUV for families, especially if you live in a snowy or rainy area. This vehicle can handle almost anything you and your family can throw at it.
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3-Row Midsize SUV - Chevrolet Traverse
MSRP: $30,510 - $42,425
Invoice: $29,290 - $39,880
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 24 mpg Highway
Refreshed for 2013, the Chevrolet Traverse adds an appealing exterior design to its list of features, which includes a smooth, quiet ride, lots of cargo room and third row seating.
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Luxury 2-Row Midsize SUV - Lexus RX 350
MSRP: $39,660 - $47,350
Invoice: $37,083 - $44,274
Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway
With legendary reliability, a luxurious and quiet cabin and lots of cargo space, the Lexus RX 350 is undoubtedly a great family vehicle.
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Luxury 3-Row Midsize SUV - Lincoln MKT
MSRP: $45,285 - $47,280
Invoice: $43,021 - $44,916
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway
The exterior of the Lincoln MKT may be a little polarizing, but its interior is generally praised by car reviewers. The fact that it has a third-row seat allows this SUV to transport a lot of people at once.
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Fullsize SUV - Chevrolet Suburban
MSRP: $43,295 - $59,190
Invoice: $40,264 - $55,047
Fuel Economy: 15 mpg City, 21 mpg Highway
Gas prices may be high, but there's still a place for the fullsize SUV. For large families, the Chevrolet Suburban is hard to beat, given its enormous interior volume.
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Luxury Fullsize SUV - Cadillac Escalade
MSRP: $63,170 - $82,495
Invoice: $59,064 - $77,133
Fuel Economy: 14 mpg City, 18 mpg Highway
It's luxurious, stylish and, most of all, big and roomy. Families will love the Escalade's plush interior and enormous cargo area.
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Hybrid SUV - Toyota Highlander Hybrid
MSRP: $40,170 - $46,370
Invoice: $36,956 - $42,428
Fuel Economy: 28 mpg City, 28 mpg Highway
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid solves one of the biggest issues with larger SUVs: fuel economy. With 28 mpg on the highway and in the city, the Highlander Hybrid saves money at the pump without sacrificing versatility.
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Minivan - Honda Odyssey
MSRP: $28,675 - $44,025
Invoice: $26,230 - $40,230
Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 27 mpg Highway
The Honda Odyssey is considered by many to be the best minivan on the market. It's one of the most comfortable cars to drive, period, and its versatility is perfect for families.
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