• Image Credit: Mazda
Families in search of the perfect car are flocking to small SUVs, helping to make them the fastest-growing segment in the auto industry. But are they actually good family cars? That’s a different question.

Carmakers market small SUVs, also known as crossovers, as ideal parent contraptions, offering versatility, value and plenty of space for bulk provisions from Costco. But just because you have a family doesn't mean you need a crossover, or even a minivan for that matter. There are a number of great sedans and small hatchbacks that are excellent choices if you need to haul around kids and cargo.

Edmunds.com and Parents Magazine recently released a list of the vehicles that are best-suited for families. Though you can't go wrong with a crossover, SUV or minivan, this list should prove that you don't necessarily have to go big to get the utility you need.
  • Image Credit: Mazda


Sticker Price: $16,945 - $26,495
Invoice Price: $16,474 - $25,345
Fuel Economy: 29 mpg City, 41 mpg Highway

The Mazda3 is arguably the best small car on the market right now. It comes with striking looks, excellent driving dynamics and a premium interior that could rival luxury vehicles. The Mazda3 is great for families due to its safety features, interior volume and, with the hatchback, its large cargo area. The car also gets great fuel economy, achieving 29 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

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  • Image Credit: Ford

Ford Fiesta

Sticker Price: $14,100 - $21,400
Invoice Price: $13,571 - $20,598
Fuel Economy: 27 mpg City, 38 mpg Highway

The pint-sized Fiesta is much bigger on the inside than it looks. You can easily fit two adults, two kids and some cargo without issue. On higher trims levels, the budget-friendly Fiesta can be had with features such as HD and satellite radio, a rearview camera with reverse park sensing and SYNC hands-free communications and entertainment system. We recommend the Fiesta in the hatchback configuration, as it comes with much more cargo room.

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  • Image Credit: Toyota

Toyota Prius

Sticker Price: $24,200 - $30,005
Invoice Price: $22,748 - $27,930
Fuel Economy: 15 mpg City, 48 mpg Highway

If you're looking for fuel economy, versatility and reliability, the Toyota Prius should be near the top of your list. This hybrid hatchback gets incredible gas mileage -- 51 mpg city and 48 mpg highway -- and has a spacious and comfortable interior with enough room for a growing family. It's not especially fun to drive, but, as a convenient and reliable daily driver, it's an excellent option.

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Sticker Price: $20,990 - $29,695
Invoice Price: $20,035 - $28,038
Fuel Economy: 25 mpg City, 37 mpg Highway

Drivers don't have to sacrifice fun for family-friendly with this car. The Mazda6 is one of the best-looking and best-driving midsize sedans you can buy right now. With crisp handling and potent 2.5-liter engine, the Mazda6 drives like a sports car, but also returns excellent fuel economy and a smooth ride on the highway. It comes with a wealth of safety features and loads of optional comfort and technology add-ons.

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  • Image Credit: Honda

Honda Accord

Sticker Price: $21,955 - $33,480
Invoice Price: $20,100 - $30,612
Fuel Economy: 24 mpg City, 34 mpg Highway

Another attractive midsize sedan, the Honda Accord is a solid option for families, according to Edmunds and Parents Magazine. Honda has a sterling reputation for quality, reliability and value, and the Accord continues this tradition. The Accord can come with Honda’s LaneWatch, which is one of our favorite safety features. It uses a camera to help you check your right-side blind spot for pedestrians, cars and other objects.

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Subaru Outback

Sticker Price: $23,495 - $32,095
Invoice Price: $22,123 - $30,034
Fuel Economy: 22 mpg City, 29 mpg Highway

Is your family the adventurous type? The Subaru Outback might be for you. Outfitted with either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine and standard all-wheel drive, the Outback can take you almost anywhere you need to go, both on and off-road. The Outback also comes with loads of cargo room and great safety ratings.

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Nissan Rogue

Sticker Price: $22,790 - $29,630
Invoice Price: $21,413 - $27,824
Fuel Economy: 26 mpg City, 33 mpg Highway

The Nissan Rogue was completely redesigned for 2014 with sharp exterior styling and a new spacious, comfortable interior. The Rogue comes with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter I4 engine that is paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This setup allows the Rogue to achieve 33 mpg on the highway, making it a smart, sensible choice for a families.

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  • Image Credit: Hyundai

Hyundai Santa Fe

Sticker Price: $29,900 - $35,550
Invoice Price: $28,490 - $33,440
Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a great full-size SUV available in a six- or seven-passenger configuration. Roomy, comfortable and reasonably priced, it's a solid choice for the growing or established family. A powerful 3.3-liter V6 engine sends power to either the rear or all four wheels. Standard safety features include seven airbags, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control with traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

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Chevrolet Traverse

Sticker Price: $30,795 - $43,255
Invoice Price: $29,563 - $40,660
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 24 mpg Highway

Utility vehicles like the Chevrolet Traverse are great for families because they combine the versatility of a large vehicle with a car-like ride and handling. The Traverse can seat up to eight people, meaning there is more than enough room for the kids and even some of their friends (depending on the size of your family). Safety features on the Traverse include side curtain overhead airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for driver and front-seat passenger, anti-lock brakes and electronic traction and stability control.

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Honda Odyssey

Sticker Price: $28,825 - $44,450
Invoice Price: $26,366 - $40,618
Fuel Economy: 19 mpg City, 28 mpg Highway

It's no surprise to see the Honda Odyssey on the list of the best family vehicles. This minivan can do it all. It can seat up to seven people, haul large-ticket items, keep occupants safe in the event of a crash and instill peace of mind with its great reliability. The Odyssey is arguably the best minivan on the market right now.

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